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In the future the struggle for space superiority has forced humanity to search the cosmos for a rare element called Antallum that is the key ingredient for the construction of neutron bombs. Starship captain Larry Madison and his crew are assigned to retrieve Antallum from the remote planet Lorigon. However, Madison and crew find themselves under the control of a powerful computer on Lorigon that incites everyone to have sex. Written by
Wow. Thanks to Severin Films & Ryko Distribution, fans of schlock Italian B grade genre cinema can finally get to revel in the supreme awfulness that is Alfonso Brescia's BEAST IN SPACE, the "adults only" capstone on his Italian STAR WARS ripoff epics: BATTLE OF THE STARS, COSMOS - BATTLE OF THE PLANETS, WAR OF THE ROBOTS and last but not least STAR ODYSSEY. And while they aren't particularly "good" movies they have a certain special something about them that fans of this kind of junk will feed on like a fat guy at Wendy's.
The premise behind the quintuplet of films is simple: Take the look of STAR WARS, cheapen it down to the production design standards of community theater, come up with four or five scripts that make provisions for recycling the same sets, costumes, props, actors, and special effects sequences (usually consisting of poorly made models being swung across a star field with odd sound effects), get Marcello Giombini to compose a couple hours of seemingly random yet listenable synthesizer music and audio washes, then edit the results together into segments of about 90 minutes, each with it's own title so that audiences know which installment they are watching. Presto.
BEAST IN SPACE can be properly referred to as the porno one, and does indeed exist in both standard and full-blown XXX versions that literally does go where no man has gone before. Even FLESH GORDON looks sophisticated compared to this lovable mess which exists not so much to be "enjoyed" as to be marveled at. You sort of wonder what the heck they were thinking, as the film apparently has no specific intended audience: Since the emphasis often revolves around space couples having space sex in their space beds the film is removed from the kind of juvenile dreck that excused the other four films from the "series". You can't just plop the kids down in front of this and let the laser beams and disco space costumes wile away a rainy afternoon. But since the production design is so schlocky and minimalist, grown-ups used to a higher layer of gloss on their disco era science fiction craptaculars will find the results laughable at best.
So that leaves us with the porn, which manages to be even less erotic than such contemporaneous Italian excesses as "Emanuelle in America" or everybody's favorite, PORNO HOLOCAUST, which were at least sick enough to engender a bad laugh every once in a while, and which are about the only things that BEAST IN SPACE can be accurately compared to. Other than it's namesake of course, Walerian Borowczyk's THE BEAST, which apparently was part of the inspiration for the film since we are likewise treated to extended sequences that feature horses copulating. Gee.
Just how such a spectacle is worked into an ultra low budget Italian STAR WARS ripoff is just something you'll have to figure out for yourself -- I am more interested in the "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" era disco space fashions, the clunky production design, the absolutely meaningless plotting and over-use of blended color schemes. These films exist as sort of visceral experiences to be witnessed rather than discreet stories to be digested, and if anything can be said about the new DVD versions is that they look spectacular. ALL of the Alfonso Brescia STAR WARS ripoffs deserve this kind of treatment, and it is perhaps a sad testament to the state of today's DVD industry that the only one some reputable company thought worthy of restoring to it's anamorphic glory is the one with the tits.
If anything here is yet another culmination of the Italian B grade genre cinema years when they pulled out all the stops of pretending to be anything but sex films and went straight for the gutter. The results will be amusingly refreshing to any fan of European cult cinema, though the non initiated might want to think about trying these out as a rental first. Bring your own towel.
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