A Bring Out the GIMP (Girls in Merciless Peril) Movie Review


Spaceship Terror

Reviewed by Thomas Chaser


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A thumbnail review of Spaceship Terror

Sorry, no vidcaps with this one other than the quickie I attached above. I watched it on my big-screen TV and didn't feel like replaying it on my computer just to make vidcaps of the plot twists, of which there aren't many. I didn't really find the film that re-watchable.

The plot goes something like this.

A space shuttle mini-bus is hauling some girls and a male pilot for some reason that is never explained, when it crash-lands on a distant planet, for another reason that is never explained. It sends out a distress signal that is picked up by a deep-space ore freighter (didn't we see this on Alien?) which lands on the planet and picks up the girls and guy. The guy is in a bad way so the group makes its way to the medical ward, where they learn that they are part of a sick game played by a sadistic deviant whereby they have to make their way past various booby-traps to a lifeboat pod to escape the insane killer (sound like Saw yet?). The members will be killed off one by one until only one remains. After each killing, the sick bastard will write a number in the victim's blood on the wall. That number is part of a code to unlock the escape pod. If she fails to enter the correct sequence of numbers on the lifeboat launch keypad, or is otherwise captured, she will be tortured mercilessly until the sick bastard deviant monster captures another group and puts them through the same maze of traps and death. The medic bay is a "safe zone", even though the pilot is killed there right off (which violates the whole "safe zone" concept).

Ok, the film is not all that bad, but it does have bad parts. First, two of the girls are just there so that they can be turned into dead bodies near the end. They contribute nothing to the group's goals other than to wait in the medic bay. Second, only one girl is mercilessly tortured (well, one is shocked mercilessly, but the one I'm talking about goes through flaying, vivisection, and unnecessary amputation - see my vidcap above for the start of her abuse). Third, the space uniforms are absolutely horrid. They look more like dimestore HAZMAT suits (which they may be). Fortunately, the girls don't wear them for long. Unfortunately, there isn't much nudity, other than the girl that gets surgically dismembered. Fourth, the bad guy looks more like that retard from Gooneys, with a touch of Mad Max post-apocalyptic accessorizing. Furthermore, there's no explanation as to how he came to be the bad guy; what his origins are. Darth Vader was evil because he started out good and then got power-hungry. That made him relatable. This evil guy is just randomly evil for no good reason. That makes him a cardboard cut-out.

I won't go through the plot because I don't want to give anything away, but there were parts that made me go "Huh?"; like the girl that gets her feet cut off, then crushed in an airlock long after she should've bled to death. Or the girl that gets electrocuted but doesn't get stripped of her clothing like the other girl did. Or the myriad missed opportunities to at least incorporate some good torture-porn as a fright tool. But alas...

The real stars of this movie are (a) the spaceship interiors and (b) the music. Both of these are fantastic, much better than I would've expected from a low-budget sci-fi horror film that relies too heavily on gore to provide frights and shocks. A good horror film needs to have a good psychological component to it, and this film doesn't. There's no real mystery to solve, no plot twists or dramatic tension, no looking inside ourselves to reveal the evil that lurks just beneath our own facade of civility; just a bunch of sweaty girls screaming and occasionally getting dusted with blood splatter. No mystery to solve, either, because it's all explained as soon as they get to the medical ward.

So is the film worth buying? Eh, maybe. If you like horror films, it's worth a late-night viewing. It's not terrible. It's not Aliens or even The Black Hole quality of storytelling, that's for sure. But it is a good start to the path of a better sequel, if one is ever made. The first Star Trek film tanked, and then they made The Wrath of Khan and saved the franchise. Another Spaceship Terror with a good backstory, a better villain, more creative traps that need escaping, and more nudity (because nudity makes everything better) could do wonders for sales. Corman, Franco, and Olivera knew the key to keeping their audiences engaged.


My Grade: B-

Spaceship Terror.com




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