Roger Corman has entered that stage of his career that we could call, "The Victory Lap." He has gone from exploitation master, to indie fav, to joke, to now a well respected icon of cinema. Good for him, he deserves it. No one can stay alive in the business as long as he has without doing a lot of things right. Some of his movies are truly good films.
Then there are "The Terror Within," and "Dead Space." Both made late in career pretty much in the joke phase. Unfortunately, I didn't laugh. Maybe if I had some company or if I were one to partake of certain herbs it would have helped.
The Terror Within is alien. Creature bursts out victim. Grows big. Eats people. The End. Roll Credits. Of course there are differences, there has to be according to the lawyers. Here our core group are gutsy survivors in a government lab in the middle of the mojave desert. They have survived a super plague but things are looking grim supplies wise. They discover a bunch of dead people and a suspiciously pregnant woman. They take the woman in and suddenly they have a mutant problem. The mutant looks like a peeled alligator crossed with the pillsbury doughboy. Not very frightening. Like other films of this era the mutant is a serial rapist. Oh goody, oh joy oh fun. Not.
Dead Space, is forbidden world. Yes Corman rips off himself. Space jockey goes to an alien world where a lab specimen has gotten out of control. Our space Jockey is played by Beastmaster Marc Singer as he waits for a check. There is nothing else going on here.
To be fair, both films have decent values of production given a dollar and ten cent budget. Corman by this time had a crew of old hands and hungry young students that tried to do as much as they can with a smoke machine and a corridor. One the commentary track of Dead space the director said he had just finished his UCLA student film when Corman asked him direct a movie week from then. The student asked for a script and Corman said, "It will be there when you get to the set." Corman was true to his word, but it shows just how crazy tight things were at the house of Corman.