February 3, 2013

"Galaxina" by Rachel Mindell

Once upon a time, that hasn’t happened yet, there will be a spaceship called the Infinity. And steering the infinity among the heavenly bodies, will be the most heavenly body of ‘em all called Galaxina. A dream machine.

The year is 3008 and the United Intergalactic Federation needs police to keep space orderly. Enter Capt. Cornelius Butt, Sgt. Thor and a low-budget sci-fi movie from writer/director William Sachs (of The Incredible Melting Man) called Galaxina. Named for its sexiest robot, 1980 Playboy Playmate of the Year Dorothy Stratton, the movie’s main thrust occurs on a ship shaped like berries to a branch with interior corridors of red and white cooch. Stratton is breathtaking. She swivels, she shoots, she dons a white unitard cut just above her décolletage, and she speaks, if at all, with a bedussy-laced voice.

Having been forced to patrol for seven years, the Infinity’s crew has grown restless and love arrives with little provocation. Sgt. Thor is suitably man to Galaxina’s lady—he smokes stogies and drinks beer while repping on the rower. Their first kiss nearly sets an electrical fire but no, wait, she can adjust her temperature(!). She is, as she tells him, thus “better than a human woman.” I was curious if this smoky talking was a character affectation or what and so I watched interviews. Turns out, at twenty, Stratton’s star persona differed little from her fembot shimmy. Which makes her murder by husband Paul Snider in the same year as Galaxina (1980) all the more alarming, as though he had killed a blonde doll of his own making after leading her to Hollywood from a Dairy Queen in Vancouver. 

She seems to have been a really nice person too, sensitive in a way difficult to parse with her sharp-shooting robot babe screen file. In fact, she was a hopeful poet—the following was released to Playboy along with her naked parts:

"The intimate feeling / of your touch / your body / against mine / embraced / and protected. Words are spared / but are not needed / because the message / is felt / mutually. In your absence / my mind is still / on our time spent / but also, / my mind / is on tomorrow / hoping it will be / as the yesterday / we were together / because / I love you."

 "I think I express myself better in poetic form,” she said. Whatever verse may be found or inspired by Galaxina, be it among fart-level jokes and absurd alien dance parties, there’s something to be said for a movie so terrible it nearly begs your scrutiny. And Stratton was a fascinating figure, powerful here as a simulacra sexpot, dangerous everywhere as a lesson about trusting beauty to shady pimp dudes and bunny mansions.

Rachel Mindell loves old movies about gangsters and female robots. She is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University if Montana, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in interrupture, Horse Less Review, EOAGH and Barn Owl Review.


BreeRichmond said...

Nicely written. I especially like the use of the word "décolletage". Well done Miss Rach!

Anonymous said...

... now I actually want to see this. :)
Interesting article!