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Roger Corman's Cult Classics: The Terror Within/Dead Space


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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Sci-Fi Monster Double Bill Nov. 25 2010
By Christopher Mills - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
The folks at Shout! Factory are still on a roll with the latest "Roger Corman's Cult Classics" Double Feature: THE TERROR WITHIN (1989) and DEAD SPACE (1991). This time they've paired a couple of Corman's later entries in the ALIEN/S sci-fi horror sweepstakes, one of which is an unabashed remake of the producer's own FORBIDDEN WORLD.

THE TERROR WITHIN is the better of the two monstrously derivative features on the disc, and stars George Kennedy, Andrew Stevens, Starr Andreef and Terri Treas. In the aftermath of some sort of biological apocalypse (referred to as "The Accident") five scientists and a couple of engineers huddle in an underground complex somewhere in the Mojave Desert (represented by Vasquez Rocks and Bronson Canyon), making only rare forays out into the plague-ravaged world, which is inhabited by mutated man-beasts they call "gargoyles." After they bring a female human survivor into the complex, it is discovered that she is pregnant with a gargoyle fetus. When they attempt to abort it, it bursts from her womb and escapes into the ventilation system, where, in a matter of hours, it grows to full maturity. Now there's a man-eating/woman-raping terror within their walls, and they must find a way to hunt it down and kill it if anyone is going to survive.

Screenwriter Thomas Cleaver's script is an shameless retread of ALIEN, set in a bunker rather than on a spaceship, but otherwise pretty much on target - right down to the characterizations of the two engineers, who act exactly like Yaphett Koto and Harry Dean Stanton in the template film. Still, director Thierry Notz keeps things moving at a good pace, the acting is generally better than average for a flick like this, and the monsters, while a little goofy, are pretty decent man-in-suit creations. The cast is good: George Kennedy (CREEPSHOW 2) seems a bit ill-at-ease with the material, but Andrew Stevens (NIGHT EYES, MAXIMUM FORCE) makes a serviceable hero, Starr Andreef (SYNGENOR) is pretty and appealing, and Terri Treas (TV's ALIEN NATION) is a strong and beautiful heroine.

DEAD SPACE is a pretty-much scene-for-scene remake of 1982's FORBIDDEN WORLD, but with most of the nudity and gore excised. The plot is identical: a freelance outer space troubleshooter (this time played by Marc Singer, BEASTMASTER) and his robot are summoned to an isolated research station where an experiment has mutated into a bloodthirsty monster.

Unfortunately, it's not nearly as much fun as the original, despite a decent cast that includes Bryan Cranston (MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE) and soap opera vet Judith Chapman. The sets look even cheaper than in its predecessor and are not nearly as imaginatively designed. The monster suit is pretty cool, though, and for creature feature fans it may be worth sitting through the rest of the dreary proceedings just to enjoy the FX work. But otherwise, DEAD SPACE doesn't have much going for it.

Shout! Factory's double feature disc sports a very decent 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer of THE TERROR WITHIN. It shows a little wear and tear, but is solid, with good colors and detail. DEAD SPACE is presented in its original, direct-to-video 1.33:1 "full frame" aspect ratio, and also looks okay. Supplemental features are limited: director Fred Gallo provides a fairly-interesting audio commentary for DEAD SPACE, and the theatrical trailer for THE TERROR WITHIN is included, along with a handful of other Corman Collection trailers. Shout! presents the option of watching each film seperately, or as a "grindhouse" double feature, with the bonus trailers incorporated into the presentation.

THE TERROR WITHIN and DEAD SPACE make a pretty fair pairing - at least thematically - but I wonder why Shout! didn't pair TERROR up with its Andrew Stevens-directed sequel instead.

For man-in-suit monster buffs and Corman completists, this disc is worth picking up. THE TERROR WITHIN is a fun B-movie, and DEAD SPACE is, well....
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Shout! Shout! Cranking Em Out! These Are The Films I can't Do Without! Come on!! Jan. 10 2011
By Stanley Runk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
A little slab of late 80s/early 90s Corman for ya here. In The Terror Within, a group of survivors live in an underground lab after the decimation of the world's population due to a virus. Nasty creatures called "gargoyles" roam around topside, and one of them gets into the lab when a pregnant woman(pregnant with monster of course) is rescued and brought back. The monster picks off our crew of scientists(hot women and George Kennedy) and military-type folk until it faces off with everyone's favorite Night Eyes pervert, Andrew Stevens!
Not a single original bone in it's body(even the characters are modeled after ones from Alien), yet it manages to be quite entertaining. More entertaining than it has any right to be. The monster helps, as it's a nasty brute that just doesn't want to die.
Unfortunately The Terror Within is the highlight of the disc as Dead Space isn't all that great. It's not terrible, it's watchable enough, but nothing to really write home about. In this movie, the Beastmaster himself, Marc Singer, is an intergalactic butt kicker who's summoned with his robot buddy(named Tinpan) to a space lab where an experiment has got loose and is eating every scientist in the lab(the women are hot of course). Singer gets lays a Beastmaster-type whooping on the creature. Sound familiar? That's coz this is the exact same plot as Corman's early 80s monster flick, Forbidden World(also put out by Shout! Factory). This remake doesn't have the gore, nudity or schlock appeal of that earlier film. I love Marc Singer, and to me he is the only saving grace of the film, it's too bad he wasn't in the original Forbidden World-that woulda been awesome.
The dvd is rather bare bones-a few trailers and a commentary on Dead Space if you really care enough about the film to hear it. I might one of these days just out of curiosity.
Not the best of the Corman DVDs, but it makes for a good Saturday at 2 in the morning with a beer and some leftover Chinese food.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Excellent "Alien" Knockoff Gem July 18 2011
By RM Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This review is solely for "Terror Within". I didn't bother to watch the second movie "Dead Space" so I can't really comment on it.

TERROR WITHIN

This film can pretty accurately be described as an "Alien" knockoff in terms of plot, but is a very good movie for its genre nonetheless.

The two best things this film had going for it were the surprisingly good special effects and the successful building of suspense at certain parts (especially towards the end). Several of the characters also seemed to have genuine concern/empathy for one another as opposed to other "disposable crew" type films. I attribute this to the fact that they had to live/survive with the help of one another underground perpetually as opposed to just being a rag tag crew who barely knew each other, only assembled for a temporary mission. The last remaining characters in particular seemed to genuinely care for one another's safety (despite the survival of each being crucial to the other).

The main "monster" (or as I should say "gargoyle") is definitely frightening looking, most notably at first. Though its monstrous alien appearance remains quite menacing throughout. The way the monster moved and reacted seemed quite organic as well, but did not give away that it was a costume. I hate when the actual actor's neck or some other body part is showing through (like in one scene in Mutations which ruined that otherwise good creepy movie for me). Some moron on IMDB claimed that the monster's costume looked "rubbery", but I disagree. The texture resembled what a monstrous desert-dwelling alien's skin/hide would probably look like, making it look too wet would not have been consistent with the climate (after all, desert iguanas and komodo dragons don't exactly have moist-looking skin) and I challenge someone to have made a better-looking "gargoyle" suit at that time.

I wonder if totally fake CGI would have been better lol.

I won't ruin the ending unlike some of the less considerate/intelligent reviewers on here but suffice it to say it was quite satisfying and worth the price paid.

Overall I think Corman flicks are underrated, especially this one. The wonderfully clear and vibrant transfer was a nice touch too, aside from some minor grain/visible particles at times the picture was flawless. Sound was also good and I loved how there wasn't even a layer break throughout this movie (as is a minor yet common annoyance seemingly on dual layer discs in general).

To wrap it up... The rather realistic effects/costumes in this certainly outdo a lot of the overdone CGI trash of today. Plus, like most other 80's movies, this one actually seemed to care about telling (or in this case recreating) a good story instead of just turning a profit in the young teen demographic.

Overall a "B Movie" that is more deserving of "A -" status for the Sci-Fi Horror subgenre.
Error Within / Dead Race Feb. 7 2013
By Bartok Kinski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
These are really fun movies. It's a good example of just how entertaining a low budget movie can be.

This is celebrated B movie entertainment. Simple plots, plenty of gore; feature secluded Space evil, and all the other elements that make these movies simple and entertaining Cult Classics. Although these aren't movies for everyone, most horror fans will appreciate them.

You should definitely check these out if you're a fan of horror, Cult Classics, and especially if you're a B movie fan.
Dead Space is just ''meh'' and ''duh'' kind of a movie Oct. 19 2012
By 1337 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Dead Space

As much as I was looking forward to see this movie, I was left partially disappointed. It was mostly boring. The start of the movie with laser fights just gives a headache. It is also too dark at times. I liked acting, but I wasn't left with much feeling towards the movie. Game took nothing from the movie as well. they are completely different, and it is because of the game that I heard of the movie.

The terror within

This movie is truly good. It sets the right atmosphere. Mix it with good actors, good acting, good plot and cheap costumes of monsters and and you will get a good old movie. Even though it had cheap special effects, they weren't too bad and I still liked the movie. I am too far from disliking it. I'd say this is the movie to watch from this collection.

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