Saturday, July 20, 2013

GALAXINA (1980)

 

The "Space Tits" genre was born with the semi-brilliant Flesh Gordon (1974), and continued on with such semi-classics as 2069: A Sex Odyssey, Wham! Bam! Thank You, Spaceman!, and my personal favorite, the crotch blasting teased hair epic Flesh Gordon Meets the Cosmic Cheerleaders

 

However, just as porn ruined the sexploitation picture, the Space Tits genre was swept away into deep space with the softcore sci-fi genre (the likes of the ultra erotic Femalien). 

 

The unsophisticated may have a hard time telling the two genres apart, but the hopelessly observant are well aware that Space Tits films were playfully stupid spoofs of the genre, peppering in nudity in order to add to the dumbness quotient. Take, for example, a Benny Hill episode, where the busty assistant tells captain Hill that he needs to twist a dial, so he gives one of her knockers a squeeze to an accompanying “boink” sound. That’s the kind of “erotic” humor you might see in a Space Tits movie, where as the erotic humor in a softcore sci-fi film is a precursor to a sex scene designed to get your pants around your ankles. Playful sexual teasing became pass√© and was replaced with Skinemax masturbation fodder. Let us mourn a golden time when tits could be played for laughs. 

 
One of the very best examples of the Space Tits genre is the underrated Galaxina, which, in certain ways, is the most gleefully stupid Space Tits movie of them all. Yes, a movie dumber than Flesh Gordon. Let that sink in. Of course, within the galactic federation of the Space Tits genre, that is a compliment. 

Take, for example, one of the first lines of dialogue, where a T.V. host introduces a variety show that is “live from Uranus”. I know this is probably a perfunctory throwaway line, but it's also a perfect example of the level of humor we’re talking about here. Here is the most token pun imaginable within the realm of the sci-fi comedy, yet it doesn’t make sense on a basic structural level. Even if you are towing around an epic caboose, there’s no way an entire variety show could take place in your ass, and even if it did, surely you would quickly figure it out and wouldn’t need to be told by some guy on T.V.  In most comedies, that would be a problem, but in the Space Tits genre, stupidity trumps comedy even when the movie is trying to be funny. Rather than being a stupid comedy per se, the comedy is a vessel for stupidity.  It’s a conundrum, I know.

So, it’s the 31st century, and man has finally created a robot with feelings, and her name is Galaxina (played by Dorothy Stratten, and more on her later). A machine with feelings? Holy shit. It was not too long ago that man was mesmerized by an electric can opener. Now we only have to wait 1000 years for a machine with feelings? Technology just moves so god damn fast. 

Unfortunately, she has to hide those feelings from her shipmate Sergeant Thor, who has the hots for her because his eyeballs work. He comes on to her saying “you’re a machine and I’m a human being, which is just another machine really”. I think the romantic within me, a tiny hobo curled up in the fetal position near my spleen, is, dare I say, shedding a tear. Not only is she programmed to not show feelings, she can’t even speak, and when Thor tries to grab her ass, he gets an electric shock. This creates a teasing erotic friction unique to the genre. Of course, she decides to reprogram herself to make herself more human in order to finally experience love. Playful teasing segues into a full fledged love story that invites us to question not only what it is to be human, but also what it might be like to fuck a robot. It’s all very heartwarming to hobos of all sizes. 

It should be noted that, if you go into this movie expecting some Dorothy Stratten nudity, you’re going to be disappointed. Galaxina is an innovator in the Space Tits genre in that it barely has any actual nudity. There is a police dispatch girl that shows her tits over fuzzy space-skype to the boys to momentarily squelch their boredom, but that’s about it. Imagine the girl that works at the office showing you her tits to help pass the time until lunch. It was a different time, I guess. 

Maybe casting a former playboy playmate to play an erotic robot and not have her get naked seems like a wasted opportunity, but watching Dorothy in a skin tight space glam catsuit (the suit is glam, not the cat) is more than enough to launch my rocket. Later, she bends over in a French Maid outfit and my crotch hit warp speed overdrive. Any actual nudity from Dorothy and the mothership would explode. You get the point. The movie doesn’t even NEED any nudity, and for that it should be commended. 




You’re probably wondering what the plot of the movie is, and so am I kinda even after having seen it multiple times. Basically, our heroes are flying an Enterprise-esque police cruiser (“in space, no one can hear your siren”) when they are ordered on a special mission to locate the all-important “blue star”, which is so important to the fate of the galaxy that a chorus of voices sing every time someone mentions it. This mission entails going way off course on a 54 year detour. As the police chief notes when ordering the assignment, “hey, think of the overtime!”. You know what, that’s a nice piece of business right there. Much of the humor is too stupid or nonsensical to really get a direct hit on the funny bone, but an occasional gem does slip though. 



Also in the crew is the token young dumb stud who wears jean shorts and a cowboy hat and a sleeveless Dodgers jersey. He is there mainly because women also watch Space Tits movies, as do gay men and repressed Dodgers fans. There’s also the token black crew member (you know he’s “token” because he calls the cowboy a “space honky”), who’s the only brother I’ve seen wear a Hawaiian shirt, although in fairness he’s half gargoyle. Then again, I’ve never seen a gargoyle wear a Hawaiian shirt either. Nevermind. There’s also the token wise Asian who rips bong loads and summons forth cookie fortune proverbs like “he who promises too much too soon accomplishes too little too late”. In fairness, he’s correct. Maybe I shouldn’t dismiss fortune cookie messages out of hand. I guess I just can’t take life advice that comes out of a mediocre cookie seriously. 

In charge of the crew is Captain Butt, who sports a Jew-fro and stache, which is always an ill-fitting look for an authority figure. He enters the main section of the ship to the tune of “Thus Spake Zarathrusta”, which is exactly how Ric Flair used to come to the ring.  Was The Nature Boy inspired by Galaxina to take his ring entrance to the next level?  It's possible, but I'll go ahead and chalk it up to cosmic kismet.

 

Butt also likes to tell bad jokes, or to put it another way, the other crew members are the butt of Butt’s bad jokes. That one was on the house folks. Now, these aren’t “ha ha funny” corny jokes, but straight up failed attempts at humor. You know what, the other crew members don’t laugh at these jokes, so maybe they're supposed to be bad. Trying to separate stupid humor from intentionally bad humor is frankly headache-inducing. Either way, the movie is consistently amusing, so maybe it’s comedic tone is entirely calculated. Maybe it takes a certain amount of intellect to craft something this stupid.   Holy shit, I can feel my cranium expanding and it fucking hurts.  I better stop analyzing this shit.

Well, whether or not the humor (or anti-humor) works for you, the movie consistently surprises with strange, cheapjack imagination. There’s the Lucas-esque way that odd alien characters litter the frame (if George Lucas was brain damaged and into Halloween masks). My favorite is the swearing, rock eating alien prisoner aboard the ship. There’s also the alien whorehouse scene, which has both a robot hooker doing the robot dance (although in fairness I don't think she can help herself), and a three-titted prostitute that predates Total Recall and also the 6-breasted witch in Necropolis, which might make Galaxina the originator in the multi-tit sci-fi subgenre. 

 















Then there’s probably the greatest Cabana ripoff scene in movie history (yes, surpassing even Turkish Star Wars), as goofball alien races get together in a human restaurant (they serve “knuckle sandwiches”) in a small western town on an orange-tinted planet (as in The Angry Red Planet, but orange). It wasn’t uncommon for cheap sci-fi films to tint the alien planet red (or another color) to hide the fact that they were shooting in Griffith Park or wherever.  If that wasn't enough craziness, the bartender is named “Mr. Spot”, a spoof of sorts of Mr. Spock. Finally, someone has the balls to knock that asshole down a couple of pegs. 



One little detail that caught my eye was a sign in front of the restaurant saying “Grand Opening – Under New Management”. So basically, a grand re-opening. We all know a "grand re-opening" is a lie and a contradiction in terms, and you can't get around that by acting like the first opening didn't count because the management at the time was shitty.  I know, I know, I just need to relax. 

Then there’s the slightly new wave biker gang that show up at the end because, well…I guess people watching a drive-in movie love biker gangs, so why not aim to please. There’s also the odd commercials and T.V. programs that the crew occasionally watch, like an ad for metal hand claws for little old ladies. Someone watches a “20th century ancient movie of the week” at one point, the Russian classic First Spaceship on Venus, apparently because the movie has remained in the public domain even after 1000 years. You’d think some lawyer would’ve cleared that up by then. 

 
 
True to the Space Tits ideal, the movie is a triumph of stupidity and cheapjack imagination, all held together by Dean Cundey’s stylish lighting and impeccable faux-epic framing (most space tits movies are not really held together). In the end, the movie excels not as an Airplane style spoof (or even a Spaceballs style spoof), but as space junk pop art cribbed together out of B-movies and general weirdness and humor from the glue-addled brain of a thirteen year old boy. Oh, did I mention that Dorothy Stratten wears a skin tight outfit in this? Maybe I did.  I honestly don't remember. 




I'll leave you with some hidden symbolism I do believe

***** 



A good companion piece to Galaxina is an episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, one of the greatest shows ever, and certainly the greatest showcase for skintight space disco outfits. Dorothy plays Miss Cossmos, the most perfect beauty queen in all the galaxy (as opposed to Galaxina, who is the most perfectly beautiful robot in all the galaxy). She’s aboard an intergalactic cruise ship, enjoying being able to lounge around in a bikini and painting whilst everyone else grooves to some space disco on the star floor. 



Unfortunately, a chick with severely crimped hair that shoots lasers out of her fingers tries to kidnap Dorothy so she can sell her genes on the black market. Buck volunteers to be her bodyguard, which involves some hand-to-hand combat, but most of all, it means down time with Dorothy Stratten, which is great for Buck, because Buck likes to…engage in stimulating conversation. The point is, Dorothy Stratten was not believable playing anything other than a woman whose beauty transcended the limits of planet earth. 

2 comments:

  1. I think I just watched a film in the "Space Tits" genre. It was called Space Thing. It kinda sucked, but it also kinda ruled.

    Anyway, your entry dedicated to Galaxina is chock-full of so much awesome that I don't know where to begin.

    I think I'll just say that I need to stop what I'm doing and see Galaxina right away (the director mentions it several times on the Van Nuys Blvd. commentary track).

    Oh, and I'll make sure to check out Flesh Gordon Meets the Cosmic Cheerleaders as well.

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    1. That might be the major "space tits" precursor. My review of that is exactly the same.

      Both are MUSTS as far as the Yum is concerned. TRUST me.

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