Thursday, July 11, 2013

Inseminoid – review

Director: Norman J. Warren

Release Date: 1982

Contains spoilers

I vacillated between looking at Inseminoid as a vampire film (of the alien vampire genus), a 'Vamp or Not?’ or simply an honourable mention. It has to be said that alien vampires bring with themselves a whole lot of problems genre wise. After all, are they vampires or just higher on the food chain – a carnivorous creature? In many respects it depends on whether their diet is liquid or solid (though that is far from definitive and energy sometimes comes into it too) and what other traits they exhibit.

We have looked at a Norman J. Warren film before. His earlier Prey was a cracking exploitation film that featured an alien carnivore on Earth. Ultimately I didn’t deem it as vampiric but, with this film, we get an alien (influence mainly but aliens as well) out there in space. It has been claimed that this was a cheap Alien (1979) rip-off and it did start filming just after the earlier film wrapped. However Warren claims no influence and I will make a more heinous claim. Having watched this I wonder just how much of it was, later, lifted and placed in cumbersome sci-fi-leviathan Prometheus.

investigating the site
We are with the crew of Xeno 1, an archaeological mission on a planet that, despite its two suns remains at 89 below zero. The voice over by mission commander Holly (Jennifer Ashley) lets us know that they have discovered a tomblike complex – undiscovered by the last team. She reckons that there is a 60% safety level. Two of her crew, Ricky (David Baxt) and Dean (Dominic Jephcott) are looking in a new section. Ricky finds some unusual crystals and Dean, a little further on, finds a wall carving. Nearby a crystal like cocoon pulsates and explodes.

Stephanie Beacham as Kate
Ricky is brought back to base, crystals still in his hand. They are removed, quarantined and sent for testing. The crew eventually dig Dean up. The doctor, Karl (Barrie Houghton), says that he is still alive but unresponsive. All he can do is put him on ice and ship him home. That night a discussion occurs about the find. The carving suggests a mythology based on twins (possibly due to the twin suns). Ricky goes to bed feeling unwell. The crystals have some form of energy emission and seem to be glowing as Ricky tosses and turns in bed. He awakens and pulls a lump of hair out.

Stop or I'll shoot
Gail (Rosalind Lloyd) and Kate (Stephanie Beacham, Dracula AD 1972 & The Witches Hammer) are sent to photograph the accident site. Meanwhile Ricky gets himself out of bed and starts suiting up to leave the base, saying that he is going to find Dean (who is back in the base, of course). When they try to stop him he becomes homicidal. There follows a chase around the base that culminates in him getting outside and leaving the outer airlock door open (with no internal controls, somewhat of a design flaw). Gail is coming back as he pushes her over, catching her foot in debris and breaking her thermal unit. Freezing to death the desperate girl ends up trying to cut her own foot off. Meanwhile Kate encounters Ricky, legs it back to the airlock and – confronted by him – kills him with some sort of spear gun.

hallucinations during alien rape
It is decided that they need more samples of the crystal, strangely (as it is a left field supposition) they wonder whether could something feed on the crystals. Mitch (Trevor Thomas) and Sandy (Judy Geeson) go out and are attacked by a creature. It massacres Mitch and pulls her air hose out. Next thing she wakes up led on a lighted table, she believes she sees Karl inject her arm with liquid crystal and then the creature appears between her legs, a clear tube pumping green, lumpy liquid into her. She wakes with a concerned crew around her.

gut munching
She is kept sedated by Karl who has discovered that, despite the fact that all the female crew have had to have regular contraceptive injections, she is pregnant – apparently two months gone. She then, like Ricky, becomes homicidal. She has much more strength than she should have and is apparently killing the crew one by one (including Dean, who was a red herring plot wise). Now, she does seem to be just killing them, though her face becomes grey (zombie like almost) she is able to plan ahead – knocking out cameras and trying to lure out her lover with sweet words. However, when we see her kill one – outside, the cold and lack of human breathable atmosphere not bothering her – we see her open his stomach with her hands and chow down.

vampire alien baby feeds
Too compos mentis, though changed in personality, to be classed as a zombie she has certainly fed and is vampiric (just about), but we must jump to the end of the film for our truly vampiric moment. She births not one but two babies (rapid pregnancy, of course, being the in thing with sci-fi and, arguably, her feeding was due to their rapid growth). Now when we see one of them attack, it is at the neck and drinking blood. When it pulls away there appears to be two vampire-like fang marks – though we never see a fang in its mouth.

two little marks
So this is why we are reviewing this. They do seem to be alien vampires, sucking at blood. Her feeding, as I suggested, may be due to her babies’ raid growth but she also has improved strength, resilience to the cold and is not reliant on oxygen – though it seems that her body adjusts to the atmosphere rather than she doesn’t need any form of respiration. It is Geeson who really steals the show – from about the point that she is raped by the alien. The film itself has a lot of false positives plot wise, with ideas starting and then leading nowhere and does kind of meander. But there is pace aplenty and many a bad 70/80s sci-fi effect (the silver suits are a scream). Yet there is something about this film that is fun, not great (and not as good as Prey) but fun. 4 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


OllieMugwump said...

I've got the novelization by Larry Miller which is actually far better plot and gruesome-thrill wise than the film, much as I enjoy it.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Hi Ollie, good to hear from you. I'll have to keep am eye out got that :)