Inseminoid (1981)

It’s admittedly a tough break for the space archeologists investigating the ruins on an alien world in a cave that the only thing they find is some strange markings on a wall, an exploding batch of evil crystals and an alien running a fertility clinic. With the team’s creepy doctor injecting all the women with birth control drugs, that’s like the last thing they need!

Being the disciplined and well trained group of explorers they are though, once team members start turning up dead, becoming possessed killers, and getting knocked up by horny aliens, their hours of drilling for just such worst case scenarios pays off as they coolly manage each successive crisis, right?

Or does one scientist get her foot caught in something while her spacesuit is damaged and instead of following the radio instructions to fix the environmental controls on the suit so she doesn’t freeze to death, instead opens up her faceplate to suck on the oxygen tube directly, attempts to free herself by chainsawing her leg off and promptly freezes to death instead? Even the grody alien had to be rolling his eyes and wondering if one of these humans was going to make a good mother for his children.

While this is the most garishly dopey thing a member of the crew does, it’s just one in a series of events destined to be studied for generations of astronauts in a “how not to do it” approach to handling mission critical events.

No cliché of dimwitted decision making is left out of the script which sees crew members mindlessly sent back into the cave where previous members were killed, injured and/or went crazy, a crew member supposedly goes to investigate an electrical disturbance in the lab, but instead sexes up his girlfriend while right behind him the strange alien crystals glow menacingly, and the commanding officer attempts to attack the possessed crew member with a mining torch, but instead accidentally uses it on the team’s doctor before having it turned on herself.

By the time Stephanie Beacham (the only recognizable face in the film, though she surely wishes she wasn’t) wildly throws a hammer at the crazed alien surrogate mother Sandy and misses, then runs away only to have Sandy throw a explosive at her, you begin to think that maybe humanity was never meant to leave Earth. (Or at least leave Earth with chainsaws, industrial torches, explosives and blaster guns.)

Inseminoid‘s story achieves that rare triple crown of incompetence, being unimaginatively stupid  and simple yet also somehow confusing. While nothing surprising occurs, no plot twists or hidden agendas are revealed, and nothing explained, it was still hard to follow, as if my mind were clouded strange alien rocks emitting some sort of intellect suppressing radiation.

Much was made of the crystals found clutched in the hand of one of the crew caught in the initial explosion in the cave. There was a theory floated by one of the scientists about the planet being ruled by twins, some jabber about binary stars and a chemical intelligence. And then as if this hodgepodge of science jargon masquerading as an explanation had satisfied some perfunctory requirement of all space set horror movies, the film promptly forgot all this and moved on to having everyone chase and kill each other.

The alien’s scheme to procreate left much to be desired as well. Despite hanging out by himself in some long forgotten underground ruins, he had his specially glowing examination table and big plastic tube full of green goo ready to go, apparently just on the off chance some fertile female might blunder by.

But being the classic sperm donor only daddy he is, after he impregnates her, he doesn’t do anything else and disappears from the film. Why would he let her go before she gives birth? And back to the ship where she and everyone will try to kill each other and potentially put the alien babies at risk? Why not keep her in the lab to at least make sure they are at least delivered safely? (Would this have happened if the alien had a single payer system?)

What’s ever more moronic than the alien’s short sighted catch and release procreation program is how the humans handle things once the alien twins are born. First Sandy abandons them in part of the lab while she goes off to kill more of her fellow crew members. Then they are snatched up by one of the people she’s after and handed off to another crew member, presumably for bait. Watching this woman cradle these monsters like they were just a regular old cute pair of twins instead of the slimy hand puppets they were at least provided a moment of humor in an otherwise agonizingly repetitive series of scenes of people running back and forth in the caverns.

While Inseminoid does at least have some gore and sleaze going for it, its failure to even be bothered to attempt to introduce us to the characters (the end credits showing who was who along with a reprise of their death scenes was helpful, but obviously a bit too late), only accentuates how tediously minimal everything else is including the cheesy lab sets that look made of cardboard when tipped over by a raging Sandy, the monotonously dull caves where everything takes place, the obnoxious synthesizer soundtrack that overstays its welcome after about five minutes and the monsters that don’t look scary so much as a like a project done for a high school art class.

By the time you see the twin terror tots mischievously peeking out from a crate on a spaceship they stowed away on, you’re forced to confront the most horrific realization of all – the desultorily stillborn Inseminoid somehow makes the even sleazier Galaxy of Terror look like an unabashed classic in the alien impregnation genre.  This is one situation where the viewer should definitely practice abstinence.

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