Star Trek II: “Inside Regula I” (1982)

One doesn’t normally associate the horror genre with Star Trek in any way, shape or form (though the infamous “Genesis” episode in Star Trek: The Next Generation comes awfully close in my opinion), and yet there is a scene midway through Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan that could be straight out of a horror film.

The Enterprise is diverted from a routine training mission by an emergency call from space station Regula One and along the way are ambushed by Khan Noonien Singh, who seeks revenge against Admiral Kirk for stranding him and his followers on Ceti Alpha V fifteen years previously. Barely surviving this attack, the Enterprise limps to the space station, knowing Khan has been there and gone, not sure what they’ll find. Kirk, McCoy and Lieutenant Saavik beam over to see what, if anything, remains on the space station.


From the moment they transport down, the music is like something straight out of a horror film. The space station appears totally abandoned, and the music is dark and ominous. Even though Khan has left, there’s still no way of knowing if he’s left any “surprises” for Kirk and his crew.

Kirk, Saavik and McCoy walk through the empty corridors of the station, and the air is thick with tension. But it isn’t until we go back to a last shot of McCoy that we get the big “horror film” moment. He’s about to cross into a new section when he’s suddenly startled by a rat (because of course there are rats on space stations). And just when he thinks it is safe to keep going….WHAM!! He walks headfirst into the arms of a dead crew member, hanging upside down from a balcony.

It’s a truly horrifying moment, and one that I think is slightly underrated, due to the space battle that happens before and after this segment of the film. But this music is beautiful foretaste of what will come when Horner scores Aliens a few years after this film. I hope you enjoy a look at the scene “Inside Regula One.”

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9 thoughts on “Star Trek II: “Inside Regula I” (1982)

  1. Carl Wonders

    Funny, this might be the last cue from Star Trek II I would have expected a post on! I’ve always loved the squeaky glass rods at the beginning, which kinda reminds me of some of what Goldsmith did in TMP. Lots of great atonal writing as well and then a call-back to the Ceti Alpha V stuff at the end.

    I’d also nominate the (IMO) great TNG episode “Frame of Mind” as an example of psychological horror 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Film Music Central Post author

      Oh I agree, “Frame of Mind” is an excellent example of horror, but episodes in that line are still few and far between. I was just struck in this scene by how different it was musically, and it really is full of bits that make their way into the score for Aliens

      Liked by 1 person

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