Severin Films // 1980 // 92 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // May 23rd, 2008
How come this film never made an appearance in my high school Italian class?
Ah, maybe because it's roughly 90 minutes of pale, hairy men and women having sex, godforsaken special effects, an incomprehensible storyline, costumes that appear to have been designed by Romper Room expatriates and non-consensual animal intercourse.
Sometime in the future, the struggle for space superiority has forced humanity to desperately search the cosmos for a rare element that is a key ingredient in neutron bomb construction. And everyone knows, whoever controls the neutron bomb, controls the fate of the universe. An enterprising space captain named Larry Madison (Vassili Karis) is tasked with tracking down a lead to a planet rich with said element, a mission he manages to squeeze in between frequent bar-fights and random sexual encounters.
One of those encounters, the lovely Lt. Sondra Richardson (Shirpa Lane), ends up on both his crew and penile euphemism. But Ms. Richardson is a tortured soul, nightly besieged by visions of a large, fur-covered man-beast having his/its way with her.
When Madison and his entourage land on the target planet, they discover a sinister secret: a powerful computer has achieved sentience and chooses to wield its God-like power by igniting the libido of any being that sets foot on its planet, prompting them to enter into orgies and outdoor sex, presumably so it can watch this fornication with perverse robot glee and turn its software into hardware.
Wow. Just when you think you've seen all manner of cinematic incoherence, along comes something like The Beast in Space, which will impale your brain with its sleazy dementia. The lunacy on display here is staggering, and just when you think the film has some semblance of storytelling direction, it shifts gears suddenly, transitioning from a low-budget science fiction adventure to a soft-core romp, combining the titillation of a medical textbook from the 1970s and the woodsiness of a Smokey the Bear PSA. Simply put The Beast in Space dramatically and painfully redefines what a "B-Movie" is. As such...
* B is for Beast.
Let's cut right to it. Yes, there is a beast. Yes, he lives in space. And, yes, he forces himself upon our heroine for no reason other than the fact that this movie is f -- -ed up beyond recognition. Actually, the beast is more half-man/half-beast, its torso made up of a middle-aged Italian dude with a fro, its waist-down nether-regions fur-covered and hoofed. He's like the scary uncle of the faun from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
* B is for Boning.
Typically, plot synopses for trash movies like this overdo the sleaze rhetoric, but when the write-up on the disc case proclaims this film to be packed with sex, it actually undersells the amount of boinking that goes down. The bumping and grinding ensues almost immediately after our heroes land on the planet, and it goes on and on and on and on for at least 30 minutes. Though the camera angles thankfully stop short of revealing the full monty, don't count on much directorial restraint during the love scenes; expect to see lots of gyrating, moaning, malformed, sallow, pudgy human-like shapes during your time with The Beast in Space.
* B is for Bleccch.
You want to know what the hip beverage of choice is going to be in the future? "Uranus milk."
* B is for Ballsy.
As in it takes some serious balls to walk around in outfits like these and still think you can boss people around.
* B is for Barnyard.
Because in the world of The Beast in Space, the only venue more lascivious than a bedroom with groovy mood lighting and silk sheets is a dirty farm. As the cosmonauts explore Planet Horny, they happen upon some stock footage of two horses mating (really) and the women are instantly aroused and start touching themselves through their rubber jumpsuits. Later, Sondra and the Beast get it on in a stable.
* B is for Breathalyzer.
I doubt the filmmakers would have blown a 0.0 during the writing process.
The new transfer looks good, rehabbed from the original film lab negative, which was apparently purchased at a Rome bankruptcy auction. That pasty flesh won't look any crisper. The 2.0 mono sound (in Italian) blasts the funky lovemaking Muzak with verve and the making-of featurette with actor Venantino Venantini (1980 Winner Best Name in the World) is a robust extra.
It's as erotic as an appendectomy, but The Beast in Space is about as ludicrous as sci-fi sleaze gets. A must-see if this type of thing floats your boat.
Guilty on more counts than I can list without a significant server upgrade.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Severin Films
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (Italian)
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Release Year: 1980
MPAA Rating: Unrated