‘Inseminoid’ or — Better Than ‘Prometheus’?
My expectations for Norman J. Warren’s ‘Inseminoid’ (1981) were so rock-bottom you could’ve surveyed them for oil deposits. A low-budget British ‘Alien’ (1979) rip-off starring Stephanie Beecham with a luridly provocative title and an even more off-putting poster? Er… okay?
And those fears are pretty much born out for the first act or so as we’re treated to shonky special effects, appalling dialogue and an atmosphere of such overwhelming unoriginality it would make Luigi Cozzi blush as a group of space scientists investigating mysterious ruins on a distant planet are dispatched of in variously gruesome ways after one of them becomes impregnated by an alien and runs amok.
And if you think it must be tasteless trash from the sound of all that then you’d be totally correct. Except as ‘Inseminoid’ went along I found myself thinking “You know what, this isn’t THAT bad!”
Now don’t get me wrong as ‘Inseminoid’ is in no way shape or form a masterpiece or even a decent movie. In fact, you could barely call it watchable. But what is undeniable is Warren’s ability to keep everything moving along at a surprisingly energetic pace combined with an impressive eye for making the Chislehurst mines in Kent look genuinely cinematic using only some coloured lights and a deeply wooden Victoria Tennant. That, along with some decent compositions, engaging camera angles and a wise decision to eschew anything too reliant on special effects means ‘Inseminoid’, miraculously, weaves a spell of genuine involvement.
Although the biggest plus is Judy Gleeson who despite being lumbered with what initially seems like a thunderingly thankless role (she’s the inseminee) turns out to completely steal the entire movie because once she’s been… well, you know… by an alien she transforms into a sort of kick-ass version of Isabelle Adjani from ‘Possession’ (1981) as she destroys anyone and everyone who might threaten her condition. It’s a part you can tell Gleeson is having serious fun sinking her teeth into and she’s a blast to watch and justifies the budget saving decision to avoid too many creature effects when you can rely on some good old-fashioned acting.
So the film has actual entertainment value so even though it, obviously, is nowhere near as good as ‘Alien’ it’s better than a majority of the rest of the original film’s rip-offs and is certainly vastly more fun to sit through than Scott’s sequels to his own franchise starter.
It might sound like I’m damning ‘Inseminoid’ with faint praise by saying it was nowhere near as shit as I was expecting it to be but that’s only because that’s exactly what I’m doing as this is not a film I’d heartily recommend to anyone other than fans of low-budget sci-fi/horror or those with a tolerance for this sort of nonsense. Anyone else might want to steer clear. Although I guess this is where the luridly provocative title serves some sort of useful function because if the thought of sitting through a puerile, derivative, misguided piece of sci-fi schlock doesn’t appeal to you then why the hell are you watching a film called ‘Inseminoid’ in the first bloody place?