Color, 1982, 91 mins.

Directed by Norman J. Warren

Elite Entertainment

Format: DVD

Letterboxed (2.35:1)

Of all the Alien ripoffs churned out in the early '80s, Inseminoid gained the most notoriety thanks to its graphic gore which had to be drastically trimmed for its U.S. release (primarily to drive-ins, under the title Horror Planet). Looking at Elite's uncut release of the British film on DVD (don't be fooled by the "Rated R" designation on the back!), whatever shock value the film may have ever possessed has disappeared completely over the years. Anyone who chuckled through this back in their formative adolescence will find plenty of cheesy enjoyment here, but sadly, the film itself won't please anyone else.

A not very intrepid space crew has established a cavernous station below the surface of an icy planet. During an exploration, two members stumble on some glowing crystals which cause one of them to die. The other humans, including Jennifer Ashley and former soap opera trash queen Stephanie Beacham, naturally act as if nothing out of the usual is happening, even when Judy Geeson (a long way from To Sir, with Love) starts acting strangly and disembowels a young Victoria Tennant (the former Mrs. Steve Martin) with a pair of scissors. It seems Geeson has been impregnated by malicious alien hand puppets who control her behavior and provoke homicidal rampages. Eventually Geeson gives birth to a couple of smaller puppets just in time for the budget-deprived finale.

Director Warren tries valiantly to cover up the film's deficiencies with colorful lighting and mobile camera work when people run up and down halls, but the endless, static dialogue scenes produce little besides viewer apathy. The notorious gore scenes are little more than splattery paint jobs, while the actual alien rape sequence pales in comparison to the slimy beastie breeding in the similar (and better) Galaxy of Terror. The irritating synthesizer score grates on the ear and dissipates whatever suspense could have ever been achieved, and the bland underground sets (foreshadowing George Romero's Day of the Dead) fail to ever convince the eyes that any of this is actually happening in space. In fact, the space angle has so little to do with the story that it could have been removed without much damage being done at all; an alien impregnation within a group of miners would run about the same course. Drawbacks aside, Elite has done a typically fine job with the film, a huge improvement over the old Nelson/Embassy video release and even the previous widescreen, uncut Japanese laserdisc. The colors are consistently stable, and the scope framing looks perfect. The film isn't lensed with any particular flair, but at least interested viewers can see it on its best behavior. Definitely a rent before you buy title.