Plot[ edit ] On a desolate, storm-lashed planet called Morganthus, the last survivor of a crashed spaceship is attacked and killed by an unseen force.
On another planet a very long distance away, two figures are seen playing a strange game. One, an old woman named Mitri, is identified as the controller of the game while the other, whose head is obscured by a glowing ball of red light, turns out to be an all-powerful mystic called the Planet Master. The two speak cryptically of things being put into motion, and the Master instructs one of his military commanders to send a ship to Morganthus.
Without delay, the spaceship Quest blasts off to Morganthus, piloted by Captain Trantor Grace Zabriskie , a survivor of a famous space disaster that has left her psychologically scarred and unstable. After recovering from the crash, the crew prepare to leave the Quest and search for survivors. Among the crew is a psi-sensitive woman named Alluma Erin Moran.
She and other team members have significant problems with team leader Baelon Zalman King , who is pushy, arrogant and totally unimpressed by Alluma's inability to detect any lifesigns whatsoever. Crossing the landscape of the planet, they eventually reach the other vessel where they find evidence that a massacre has taken place.
The rescue teams split into two and explore the craft. The discovery of more victims all but confirms the occurrence of a massacre. The team disposes of all of the bodies except one which they take back for analysis.
Cos, the highly-strung youngest member of the team, becomes increasingly terrified of being on the ship despite being reassured by his seniors. A short time later, he is killed by a grotesque creature. The crew discover that something from the planet pulled them down and, in order to escape, they must investigate.
They discover a massive pyramid-shaped structure, which Alluma describes as "empty" and "dead". They find an opening at the top of the pyramid and use a rope to slide Ilvar in; Ilvar is attacked by tentacles that drain his blood. They find an alternate entrance, though Quuhod breaks his crystal throwing stars and remains by the entrance. The throwing stars reform; when Quuhod picks it up, a piece breaks off and begins sliding through his skin, forcing him to sever his arm.
However, his arm uses the remaining throwing Star to impale him. The crew continue to search through the pyramid. When Alluma voices a desire to leave, Baelon refuses to allow it. One maggot grows to giant size and kills Dameia. Back on the ship, Ranger catches sight of Trantor on the security cameras as she spontaneously combusts.
He races to save her, but by the time he reaches her, her skin has completely burned off. The remaining crew return to the pyramid. There, Baelon elects to stay behind and is torn apart by a monster. Meanwhile inside the pyramid, Alluma, Ranger, and Cabren are separated by moving walls. Alluma is attacked by tentacles which crush her head, while Ranger is attacked by his double. He manages to fend the double off, and it disappears. Deep inside the pyramid, Cabren discovers that Kore is really the Master, who has been masquerading as Kore on board the Quest.
The Master explains that the pyramid is actually an ancient toy for the children of a long-extinct race, built in order to test their ability to control fear. He then announces that Ranger has succeeded in passing the test.
Cabren is then forced to confront the creatures which attacked the crew as well as zombified versions of the dead crew, all of which he kills. Finally, Cabren kills the Master for causing the deaths of his crew, but becomes the new Master in his place.
Edward Albert as Cabren, an experienced and cool-headed space veteran who is the film's main protagonist Erin Moran as Alluma, the ship's empath Ray Walston as Kore, the ship's cook Taaffe O'Connell as Dameia, the ship's technical officer Bernard Behrens as Commander Ilvar, the overall commander of the mission Zalman King as Baelon, the rescue unit's team leader Robert Englund as Ranger, the ship's second technical officer Sid Haig as Quuhod, crewman and crystal thrower Grace Zabriskie as Captain Trantor, the ship's troubled captain James Cameron[ edit ] While known as being a " B movie king", Roger Corman has started the careers of many prominent Hollywood people with his films.
It was the second Corman film on which Cameron worked as a crewman, the first being Battle Beyond the Stars In one scene, Cameron was able to figure out a way to get maggots to wiggle on cue by developing a metal plate onto which the maggots were placed, then ran an electric current through the plate whenever filming began, causing the maggots to move energetically about.
His ability to find low-tech solutions to such problems reportedly made him a favorite of Corman and eventually allowed him to pursue more ambitious projects. Taaffe O'Connell and "the worm sex scene"[ edit ] This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. December Learn how and when to remove this template message The commentary on the Shout!
Factory DVD release see below includes R. Kizer, one of three editors of the film. Kizer reveals that the originally filmed version of the "Dameia" O'Connell character's death scene changed significantly as the movie was made. The initial writing of the scene had the maggot only stripping and consuming a topless Dameia, but producer Roger Corman had promised financial backers of the movie a sex scene involving O'Connell, so he merged the two ideas together.
His re-write of the scene had Dameia reacting in terror when confronting the foot long creature, an "id monster" created from her own mind complete with tentacles, but having the terror give way to forced sexual arousal as the monster strips and rapes her.
The re-written scene included full nudity and far more explicit sexual content, including simulated sexual intercourse, and ended with Dameia moaning provocatively, covered in excreted slime, and being driven to an orgasm so intense it kills her. After informing director Clark and actress O'Connell about the changes and having both of them balk at participating in the more sexually explicit scene, Corman decided to direct the entire scene himself.
He hired a body double for O'Connell to shoot the full-nudity sex sequences, although O'Connell ended up in front of the camera for most of the final scene. The sexual content of the scene was considered graphic enough by their standards that it was given an X rating , which was generally given only to the most sexually explicit films. Kizer then made a number of very small cuts to the scene. In the interview, he stated that the cuts involved either very brief shots of O'Connell's face as her character expressed "rhapsodic and ecstatic" looks that too clearly indicated forced arousal and pleasure at being raped, or lewd "humping" motions made by the giant worm while the nude Dameia is ensnared in its tentacles underneath it, motions that obviously simulated sexual intercourse occurring between the two.
None of these cuts were longer than one second in length and most only a few frames, and none altered the sequence of the scene. However, they were enough to avoid the X rating for the film. The visuals of the final released scene in film and VHS versions later DVD and Blu-ray disc as well combined with O'Connell's verbalization still leave no doubt as to what happens to the character; in fact, the scene was still too explicit for many countries, who either required it be deleted or denied the film a release entirely.
All authorized later releases of the film in Europe, America and elsewhere contain the scene in its final, R-rated version. The film's trailer, which still exists online, shows what may be an unaltered view of one of the full nudity shots, containing a slightly different aspect than the one in the final movie.
The scene is discussed on the commentary of the Blu-ray Disc release more than any other aspect of the film. In an interview shown on the Blu-ray Disc, Corman stated that the character of Dameia as re-written had a fear of sex as well as a fear of worms. O'Connell, in a separate interview with Femme Fatales magazine, interpreted that Dameia was frightened by her own sexuality and a desire to submit to something more powerful than herself, something the monster created from her fears gives her to a lethal extent.
Cult status[ edit ] Although released to little fanfare and some ridicule in , the movie has gradually taken on cult status, largely due to Taaffe O'Connell's role as Dameia. There was a remastered and authorized Region 2 Europe Italian disc available from Mondo Home Entertainment released in which is now out-of-print. On July 20, , Shout! The release also contains cast interviews and behind-the-scenes information on a variety of aspects.