Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Prime Time: Inseminoid (1981)

There's a crew of people working in space. Exploring unknown terrains. Taking notes on their findings. It's a familiar scenario. Unfortunately, one of the crew members (Sandy, played by Judy Geeson) is raped by an alien, becoming pregnant very quickly, and also then setting out to kill all of the people around her in a fit of alien-induced-hormonal-bloodlust.

Director Norman J. Warren made some fun, and even interesting, movies over the course of his career. Many of them were peculiarly ambitious despite remaining essentially British. Inseminoid is not one of them. It is, instead, a bit of an Alien rip-off that throws in a bit of gore and nudity to try and make up for the lack of any logic, or even any shred of interest in the main characters. Which isn't to say that I hate it. Thanks to the fact that Warren at least tries to push things as far as he can in a number of scenes this is hard to truly dislike. It's just a shame that it ends up being a lot more boring than it should be.

I put the blame for that squarely on the shoulders of the writers. Nick and Gloria Maley had worked for a number of years as makeup artists, involved in movies as big as Superman and The Empire Strikes Back, but this was the only script that they ever wrote, and we can count that as a blessing. It's not all their fault though, I'll grudgingly admit. Warren said that, due to the finances potentially being available already, he needed a script in four days. I guess this is what happens when you ask a pair of married makeup artists to give you a workable sci-fi horror script in four days.

The fact that it's most notable for scenes in which Geeson lies naked on a table, understandably distressed, while an alien tries to live up to the title should tell you all you need to know. And Geeson is, for better or worse, the only cast member you'll remember for her onscreen performance once the end credits roll. You will remember that Stephanie Beacham is also in the movie, and it's always novel to see Victoria Tennant in roles that she had before I knew of her, but nobody else gets to make much of an impression (with the exception of Dominic Jephcott and the moment in which his corpse very obviously blinks). I could namecheck Jennifer Ashley, Robin Clarke, David Baxt, Trevor Thomas, and the others, but I'd be struggling to tell you who played which character in the film, and what they brought to their roles.

At least some of the design work is good, with the production making use of Chislehurst Caves as a location they could then create the space base sets in. And you get occasional servings of gore, as well as puppet aliens. So it's not all bad, even before you consider the bravery of Geeson putting herself through the discomforts that the role required of her.

Inseminoid is sci-fi horror trash, but it's trash of the highest (or should that be lowest?) order.


You NEED this set in your life.

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