Thursday, July 10, 2014

Space Precinct: Predator and Prey – review

Director: Sidney Hayers

First aired: 1995

Contains spoilers

When my friend Leila asked whether I had reviewed the Space Precinct vampire episode I inwardly groaned. Admittedly I didn’t know there was a vampire episode but I do remember the show.

In my head this late Gerry Anderson production was a bit of a childish mess. Having re-watched it (or this episode at least) I can appreciate that there was quite a serious, straight sci-fi underneath the garish prosthetics and clichéd characters. In short, whilst it had plenty wrong with it, there was something to recommend about the series.

Simone Bendix as Castle
The basic premise was that, in 2040, human cop Lieutenant Patrick Brogan (Ted Shackelford) transferred to a new precinct in Demeter City, on the planet Altor in the Epsilon Eridani system. He and his partner Officer Jack Haldane (Rob Youngblood), plus Officer Jane Castle (Simone Bendix, Young Indiana Jones: Masks of Evil), are the resident human cops in their precinct – the others being from various alien races.

behind you
This episode starts outside a nightclub called the Taunt. Once inside we see a woman dancing, she is actually undercover cop Officer Chloe Vincent (Natalie Roles). She is watched by someone who is tall, dark and gruesome – we later discover that he is called Enil Kmada (Richard James). When she goes backstage, he follows and enters her dressing room but she pulls a gun and calls her partner, Lieutenant Verro Walker (Rolf Saxon). Kmada vanishes and, in a twist on the mirror trope, uses them to confuse her as she shoots mirrors rather than him. By the time Walker gets there she is dying on the floor.

I won’t go through the full story – which centres on looking for Kmada and Walker being an ass, as well as a sidebar comedy story about an orang-utan like creature and two comedy cops. However let us look more closely at Kmada. To some degree he reminded me, in appearance, of a cross between the vampire in Buck Rogers and Count Orlock. However he is not a blood drinker. Rather he appears to be only semi-solid and spends a deal of his time living within a host, only emerging to replenish lifeforce. This is taken by entering the body of his victim.

Sally's dream
The machi – if I got his race’s name right – were believed destroyed some 100 years before. In a throwaway comment, which seemed pretty bold for the back story, it is suggested that their hosts (who were likely innocent victims) were rounded up, put on a spacecraft and fired into a sun – somehow Kmada escaped. We discover that they show on film when out of their host and they can be physically injured – Kmada is shot at one point. Brogan’s wife Sally (Nancy Paul, Lifeforce) does dream of the serial killer (as he is described) and the dream version is quite accurately constructed by her subconscious.

I’m stunned by the fact that I am going to give this a good score but it was entertaining, with a neat central premise regarding the vampire and a dark heart despite the dated look and inherent clichés. 6 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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