Flying High With "The Beast In Space"

Earlier this week we teased you with highlights from the 1980 Italian sci-fi epic "The Beast In Space"--and if you're still engorged with anticipation, we've got a more in-depth look at this classic "Star Wars"-inspired fairytale. So grab a glass of Uranus milk (hee, hee) and take a trip to the stars, where stylish vests and angry robots await ...

2008_04_25_beastinspace.jpgThe film stars Sirpa Lane--who played the Beauty to the original French "Beast" that "inspired" this one--and Vassilli Karis as a Lando Calrissian-esque space rogue with a knack for bar fights and bedding hot women. The two hook up one night after he beats up a rival suitor and once the steamy deed is done, she recounts her recurring nightmare of being attacked in the woods by a bearded dude with a snazzy embroidered vest. This is what is called "foreshadowing."

Soon after, Capt. Larry Madison (yes, that's his futuristic space name) realizes that the man he beat up the night before was in possession of a rare metal called Antalium, which is used by the military for its neutron weapons and that said metal came from the mysterious uncharted planet Lorigon. Quickly, the new loverbirds are off to the races to conquer the planet and secure all this precious material for the their ownselves. Yay, imperialism!

It should be said that for a low-budget futuristic adventure pic, this film is much better than it has any right to be. The story actually honors a lot of standard sci-fi conventions and shows a shocking amount of scientific literacy. Terms like "gyroscopic stabilizers" get thrown around (correctly!) and the script actually knows the proper ratio of oxygen needed in the atmosphere to sustain human life. To a true nerd, such details are impressive. If it had even half the budget of a LucasFilm production (instead of what we are guessing was about 1/1000th), this could have been a respectable mainstream picture.

Minus the stock footage of horses fucking, of course. Seriously, why does every 1970s Eurotrash flick have a scene where humans get turned on by catching two horses doing it?. It's such a cliche of the genre--even if it is on another planet.

Once on Longion, they quickly discover that it is ruled by a sadistic robot that hordes all the Antalium for itself and pays the planet back by keeping its citizens in a THX-like mind control haze. The good news is that no one ages and there's lots of free food ... so why not just start humping? That's exactly what happens for the next 35 minutes or so as various pairings roll around in the grass making sweet, sweet love--until Lane realizes she's paired off with ... beaded vest guy! And he's got more than just beads hiding underneath his robes! It's the Beast ... in space!

We don't want to spoil all the fun for you, but you can imagine where this is headed. Groovy mind trips, bestiality and lightsaber glowing plastic sword battles ensue. If you're buying this flick just for the sex scenes, you'll probably be disappointed. There aren't enough of them and they're too far apart for this movie to be considered a true raunchy romp, but if you like your "so bad, it's good" movie nights to have a little extra spice, it is a fun ride.

Soon to be re-released by Severin Films, the DVD will be available in two versions, an NC-17 level grope fest (full-frontal softcore only) and an "uncut" XXX-version, although it seems pretty clear that the brief hardcore action was inserted after the fact using replacement actors and extreme closeups. (Although, the Beast himself certainly benefits from a little extra endowment and there is a deleted scene of his Beast-like climax.) If only George Lucas had been inspired by "Deep Throat," instead of the other way around, just imagine the movie we could have had.

· Buy: "The Beast in Space": XXX Version or Unrated Version (

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