Besides being from roughly the same time period, and loosely classified as being in the science fiction genre, The Crater Lake Monster (1977), and Galaxina (1980), are films that appear to share very little in common. Still, Mill Creek Entertainment has combined this unlikely pair on a single Bluray disc. Of the two, The Crater Lake Monster seems to stand the test of time a little better than Galaxina, a fantasy set far in the future.
The Crater Lake Monster (Rating: 3 stars)
Featuring stop-action special effects, The Crater Lake Monster (1977) is reminiscent of creature features from the late 50's. The simplistic plot is far out, and the acting a bit stiff, but if you are in the right frame of mind, the film does have some entertainment value, with the stop action work being the most interesting aspect.
A meteor crashes into the bottom of Crater Lake, in Oregon, and begins emitting heat which warms up a lost plesiosaur egg, causing it to hatch. The swimming dinosaur thrives in the lake, eating most of the fish and becoming huge. Seeking food, the plesiosaur attacks boats and even crawls ashore to grab a bite to eat. When human remains turn up at the lake, the local Sheriff (Richard Cardella) attempts to close it down, but has no idea what he is up against.
The special effects budget probably limits what we see of the dinosaur, who stays concealed until near the end. With pedestrian special effects, The Crater Lake Monster is not a very well made film, but it will still have a certain charm for some. It scores points mainly for nostalgia value, and for being half decent with very little to work with. The print has some signs of dirt, but looks satisfactory in high definition.
Galaxina: (Rating: 2 stars)
Galaxina (1980) was a part of the wave of post Star Wars (1977) sci-fi films. This very silly comedy/adventure borrows from Star Trek, Star Wars, and Alien. With a kind of crude nostalgic charm, the film is probably most notable for the presence of Dorothy Stratten, Playboy Playmate of the Year for 1980, who was brutally murdered by her husband shortly after the film's release, at just twenty years of age.
Set in the 31st century, the Infinity is a police craft commanded by Captain Cornelius Butts (Avery Schreiber), and piloted by Sergeant Thor (Stephen Macht). Stratten's role is as Galaxina, a shapely android who tends to the crew of five. When the Infinity is dispatched to a faraway planet to find information about the "Blue Star", the crew goes into cryosleep for the journey which will take 27 years.
While the humans sleep, Galaxina successfully reprograms herself to speak and experience emotions. The crew awakens at their destination, but The Infinity crash lands on the planet after being ambushed by the evil Ordric. With the crew incapacitated, Galaxina sets out on what becomes a very bizarre adventure. The planet has an old West motif, and the light from the sun makes everything look red during the daytime. Galaxina recovers the Blue Star and has a shootout out with Ordric, before being captured by a gang of bikers. Galaxina's rescue and subsequent escape, is the most exciting incident in the film.
The film is a smorgasbord of odd disjointed ideas, where hardly anything exciting happens. The special effects are passable at best, the gags are weak, and the dialog is often terrible. While nice to look at, unfortunately Dorothy Stratten's performance does not improve much after she begins speaking. Stratten's tragically brief life was the subject of several movies, including Bob Fosse's Star 80 (1983), with Mariel Hemmingway as Stratten. Galaxina is not subtitled, and has no extras. Image quality varies from decent to poor, and although in high definition, the transfer may not look very impressive.
If you are interested in either film, this Bluray probably features the best looking version of each film currently available.