Written by Christopher Penfold, directed by Charles Crichton
Transmitted on 23 October 1975
It was the eight hundredth and seventy seventh day since our moon left Earth. We were between galaxies drifting through empty space, when Tony Cellini began to believe that he was closing for a second time with his mortal enemy.
Doctor Helena Russell is logging the history of Tony Cellini, a once respected astronaut now a damaged husk of his former self. One evening Cellini receives a vision and a nightmare that only he survived comes back to life and into a wild fury of violence. He knocks a pilot unconscious and attempts to steal an Eagle transport but is stopped short of taking off when the Captain becomes involved. Only Captain Koenig believes there is some merit to Cellini’s wild story. The events awaken some old memories for the crew of Moonbase Alpha, going all the way back before it was launched into its strange journey through space.
Cellini was involved in a failed deep space mission aboard the Ultra Probe. The newly discovered planet Ultra was a mystery and appeared to be similar to Earth. However as the Probe drew closer, a vast graveyard of bizarre alien vessels was seen orbiting the planet. After docking with one of the ships, the Ultra Probe crew became embroiled in a deadly battle with a creature that defied explanation. Only Cellini survived and drifted back home over the course of six months.
The black box recorded contained no details to support Cellini’s tale and the World Space Commission placed the fault of the mission squarely on Cellin’s shoulders. Throughout it all, Koenig never backed down from believing that his friend was not insane. Unfortunately, he was right and the ‘dragon’ that claimed the lives of the Ultra Probe crew and untold other alien lives has returned.
Dragon’s Domain features a truly bizarre monster that became lodged in the subconscious of every child who saw it back in the day. The ‘dragon’ is essentially an evil doorway made up of a mass of tendrils, a giant glowing eye and a gaping maw. It devours people and spits out the still smoking remains of each victim. Conventional laser-based weapons are useless against it so in the end a hand ax is deemed the ideal weapon.
One of the weirder and more grizzly episodes of Space:1999, Dragon’s Domain is a memorable one. The entire adventure has an unusual air of fantasy blended with horror that leads the viewer into an entirely unknown world where anything is possible.
Space:1999 celebrates its 40th anniversary this year with a deluxe Blu-ray box set. Of course, the set is only available in the UK, but from the reviews I have read it is well worth the investment.