The success of Star Wars (1977), led to the production of all kinds of space adventure films, and Galaxina (1980) was a part of this wave to cash in. A comedy/adventure, the film is very silly and campy, borrowing from several science fiction icons, including Star Trek, Star Wars, and Alien. With a kind of crude nostalgic charm, the film may have some appeal, but is probably most notable for the acting performance of Dorothy Stratten, Playboy Playmate for 1980, who was brutally murdered by her husband shortly after the film’s release, at just twenty years of age.
Written and directed by William Sachs, the story is set in the 31st century aboard the Infinity, a police craft commanded by the kooky Cornelius Butts (Avery Schreiber), and piloted by Sergeant Thor (Stephen Macht). Stratten’s role is as Galaxina, a shapely android who sees to the basic needs of the crew. Ordered to travel to a faraway planet, to find information about the “Blue Star”, the crew of the Infinity stops off at a brothel on an asteroid, before going into cryosleep, and making the long 27 year journey.
While the crew is asleep, Galaxina successfully reprograms herself to speak and experience emotions. The crew is awakened when the Infinity arrives at its destination, but ship crash lands on the planet after being ambushed. With the crew incapacitated, Galaxina sets out to gather information on what is a very bizarre adventure. The planet has an old West motif, and the light from the sun makes everything look red in the daytime. Galaxina recovers the Blue Star and has a spacey shootout out with the evil Ordric before being captured by a gang of bikers who worship the almighty Harley David son. Galaxina’s rescue and subsequent escape is the most exciting moment in the film.
The screenplay doesn’t manage to put together the smorgasbord of odd disjointed ideas into any kind of decent story. Hardly anything exciting happens, and even with Stratton dressed in a backless skintight outfit with a cleavage window in the front, the titillation factor is rather limited. While some of the special effects are decent for their day, there are also some really cheesy looking effects, and people in rubber suits. The gags are weak, the dialog is often terrible, and some of the acting is quite unpolished. Stephen Macht does a good job playing it straight, while Avery Schreiber goes way overboard the other way, hamming it up big time. 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 available in a double feature Bluray edition, paired with The Crater Lake Monster. This version is not subtitled, and has no extras. Although in high definition, image quality varies, from decent to poor, and may not be very impressive when viewed on a HD television.