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Xenogenesis (1978)

| Short, Sci-Fi
A woman and an engineered man are sent in a gigantic sentient starship to search space for a place to start a new life cycle. Raj decides to take a look around the ship. He comes across a gigantic robotic cleaner. Combat ensues.


James Cameron, Randall Frakes (as R.L.A. Frakes)


James Cameron, Randall Frakes (as R.L.A. Frakes)


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Complete credited cast:
William Wisher ... Raj (as William Wisher Jr.)
Margaret Umbel Margaret Umbel ... Laurie (as Margaret Undiel)


A woman and an engineered man are sent in a gigantic sentient starship to search space for a place to start a new life cycle. Raj decides to take a look around the ship. He comes across a gigantic robotic cleaner. Combat ensues.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Sci-Fi







Also Known As:

Xenogenesis See more »


Box Office


$20,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Xenogen Production See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


James Cameron originally hoped to turn his short into a feature length film, but was unable to secure financing for it. However, the footage attracted the interest of Chuck Comisky, who gave him a job as a designer and special effects photographer on Battle Beyond the Stars (1980). See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: They made him, a machine, trained to deliver humanity from the final catacylsm. They built him a machine, the most awesome ship ever constructed, and with a mind of its own. She was raised by a machine, that alone knew the power of love. Together, they searched the wilderness of stars for a place where the cycle of creation could begin again. Xenogenesis - man's ultimate adventure.
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Referenced in Aliens (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

A Galactic Adventure on a machine-made Starship and the noteworthy duel between Robots on it
8 February 2010 | by CihanVercanSee all my reviews

This film is a very odd example of a sci-fi short. It's hard to classify it, but best to say it's only experimental; which only means don't try to evaluate this work within cinema concepts. There's a very weak screenplay and a shallow plot. The story takes place in a machine-made starship coming from an uninhabitable planet which is being ruled by machines. In this environment our heroine Laurie, has been raised by one of those machines, which apparently have minds and lives just like human-beings. From my point of view the mood has been created as if it's the last episode of Terminator, where machines are in charge of our galaxy and humankind is stuck to live in spaceships.

Through the opening narration we get to understand that the last hope of humankind is depending on Laurie and her cyborg boyfriend's journey of exploring the Xenogenesis, the galactic adventure of exploring the outer space "Xeno-" thus finding a way to the rebirth of human civilizations "-genesis". The co-writer Randall Frakes's comic book art work brings that galactic adventure to life.

Laurie sends Raj into the starship to explore the nature of it. While he is walking over a bridge, a tank robot detects Raj's motions and attacks him. Raj tumbles down due to the laser fire of the robot, but holds onto the edge of the bridge. The digital celestial sphere of the starship appears to be very deep. Contacting each other via two-way radio signals, Laurie comes to rescue Raj with a giant spider robot. She begins to fight with the tank robot. But the tank defeats her. Starting to come towards Raj, it gives no chance to him to escape.

The modelling of both the robots are utterly fascinating. Action simulations are also very futuristic. With such a low budget, there is nothing seems cheap at all. There are distracting issues on all sounds and especially on all sound effects, but visuals are highly accomplished. Background music is established appropriately and it saves the mood. The talent voice should have been revised; Raj appears very tiny inside the starship but his voice level is being heard same with a wide-angle shot and the close-up shots of him. Probably they didn't have a bigger studio to let the sound waves travel in air longer. If it has been filmed for a silent picture, no-sound, it would have been so much better and effective.

James Cameron's beginner sci-fi work is fairly well in overall. For 12 minutes long, it's tolerable. Considering that all the inspirations of it are depleted in Terminator, Aliens, Abyss and even in Avatar; Xenogenesis doesn't have much to offer interesting. But looking at the year 1978, the beginner era of robotics and space adventures in cinema; Xenogenesis is used to be considered inspirational. If you're interested in the history of Sci-Fi; you should check this out.

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