Inseminoid


Title: Inseminoid
Rating: 2.5/5
Genre: Sci-Fi/Horror
Starring: Robin Clarke, Jennifer Ashley, Stephanie Beacham
Director: Norman J. Warren

One of those classic films lost to the depths of time, 'Inseminoid' is one that has travelled to me through word of mouth; my old flat-mate having heard his friend talk of it after watching it late on the 'Horror Channel,' proceeding to buy it, watch it, and then tell me of it. With a name like this how could it be bad? Combining “Insemination” with the '-oid' prefix to denote precisely what this film is about. Let's be perfectly blunt about all this, Alien – a film about an alien pregnancy – came out in 1979. This – a film about an alien pregnancy – came out in 1981. A team travelling to an alien planet to discover what happened to their previous expedition ends in some mysterious events, like people going nuts and dying from being stabbed in the hand. And it isn't long before one of their number finds their way to getting themselves knocked up by their alien rapist, going nuts with the thought that she's now pregnant, having her mind controlled by the nipper in her womb and setting off to decimate the entire crew. No, it's not the American's trying to cash-in, the Turkish aren't back with their plagiaristic ways, this time, I'm almost sorry to say, the culprits were British.[1]

It also gives you a valuable insight into what might have happened if they chose a lesser artist to design the Alien; it might have looked like a wrinkly fat child with squinting bulbous eyes; maybe if it closed those eyes it'd look like a misshapen penis, but either way it's not all that frightening if I'm honest. There is, however, another critical difference between the way this plays out compared to Alien, a film I should point out that I was not a particular fan of. The reason Alien works for most (and not me) is that so much of it is all about creating the atmosphere for the ensuing chaos, slowly building up the tension until the denouement. If you don't feel this tension, it falls flat. The odds of these renegade Brits concocting something that works in such a manner is unlikely and they knew this going in, so instead they replaced it with plenty of violence to keep things moving. Our characters would divide repeatedly to try and tackle this beast of a woman until dividing meant they would fight her on their own, charging at her solo until finally the last man standing manages to dominate over her. Last man. He'd evidently learnt quickly from the mistakes of others that he'd have a far better chance of survival if he told the bitch to sit down and shut up.

It might not be outwardly misogynistic but there is certainly a clear theme running through the entirety of this film: women are useless. Firstly it's the woman who runs into an alien. That right there would have solved all the violence, but the film is riddled with examples; the strong and powerful woman who when she gets her foot caught and isn't smart enough to twist her foot out of the crevice, now faced with death due to freezing would attempt to cut her leg off despite cries of 'stupid woman, touch the red wire to the blue wire' over the intercom (to restart her suits heating), or the woman who tries to back up the doctor in trying to capture the now insane pregnant woman alive by wielding a futuristic welding device by burning a big hole in the good doctors back. Women aren't just useless in this film, they're a hindrance. It got so bad I wondered if there wasn't going to be some crazy twist where the real alien was all the women, and that the pregnant one was just really bad at being subtle.

It's taken me time to get my way to watching it, and I must admit I feel a little disappointed. Billed as 'one of the best bad films around,' it feels rather middle of the road; it's got a decent pace and some great action scenes where cast members are quite obviously hitting nothing, choreographed to B-Movie perfection. There are some memorable laugh out loud moments; when she gets artificially inseminated with boiled eggs sliding down some plastic tube is an obvious one, but it doesn't quite make it to B-Movie glory. For all these moments of hilarity there are times when it doesn't pan out; it's never quite dreadful but neither is it compelling. It just contently sits in between the two; between trying to be more than it's capable of being and being hilariously bad. The effects are budget yet the blood and gore is used effectively, but the script at times feels written by a child; there is a wise move to have much of the story not include our aliens at all, so as to save on costs, which becomes a major disappointment when you realise how hilarious it could have been if it was about these wrinkly little Asian scrotums doing the massacring. It won't have you on the edge of your seat but won't send you to sleep either, it's a B-Movie that's fine if you want to shut down your brain but don't go expecting much more.

[1] I have done some digging into this, as it seems the time difference is very narrow for a film project to get underway. By the time Alien was released, Inseminoid had already been planned and was to get underway with shooting shortly later. Even 20th Century Fox who produced the original Alien denied the correlation and wished the team all the best with its release. It would seem the plot similarity is a freak coincidence, perhaps played upon slightly during the final moments with last minute changes - source


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