First of all, let's get the whole "rip-off of ALIEN" thing out of the way right off the bat. Other than the first few scenes, in which the crew of a space vessel is ordered to land on and investigate a desolate planet from which strange signals are originating, this movie has virtually no similarity to Ridley Scott's film at all. Let's not forget that most low budget extraterrestrial monster movies in the wake of ALIEN were compared to their more expensive predecessor (or that ALIEN itself was shamelessly derivative of a half-dozen sci-fi flicks from the 50's and 60's).
The crew land, and soon come to realize that their own worst fears are manifesting themselves physically and attacking them. The control freak pilot finds herself confronted by an unstoppable alien force. The spiritual warrior's mystical crystal weapon turns against him. The gung-ho, by-the-books leader's childhood fear of monsters comes back to haunt him. And, in the movie's gross-out highlight, a female crew member's revulsion of worms results in her being stripped naked, coated in slime and raped by a giant maggot!!!
There's no shortage of carnage and wackiness, and it all leads up to a surprisingly metaphysical conclusion. Many of this movie's critics have found the ending to be a ridiculous cop-out, but I found it ambitious and thoughtful. Perhaps snobby film buffs can't accept that a low budget sleazefest like this can ultimately rise above its own baseness and deliver a profoundly mysterious ending.
GALAXY OF TERROR is one of the more imaginative and bizarre of Roger Corman's late 70's/early 80's productions. It features some art direction and 2nd unit work by James Cameron, and has the gritty surreal look of a Lucio Fulci zombie flick. And how can you pass up a movie in which Erin Moran (Joanie from HAPPY DAYS) gets her head squashed by an alien squid? I recommend this movie highly to schlock fans of all ages.