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Beast in Space on DVD

Saturday, 07 August 2010 14:18

Take the set design of Season 2 of Space: 1999, direction and special effects with the budget of Blake’s 7, and the costumes and dialogue style from “Barbarella” and you are probably getting close to a genetic description of “The Beast In Space”.

Played out in its original Italian language with English subtitles, this is an off-the-peg story of a spaceship landing party finding out the dark secrets of a planet that they would have been better off leaving well alone.  The eye candy for the lads is sufficiently “Charlie’s Angels” in aspect to satiate those of us who loved that style of female coiffure, while the male ‘talent’ is far more patchy.   If ‘Space Odyssey’ is your SF of choice, then best to steer clear, but if ‘Space Opera’ is your bag, then this title is sufficiently cheesy to raise a giggle if screened late-night with an alcoholically steamed audience.

The Beast in Space on DVDShirpa Lane (aka Sirpa Lane), who starred in another title from the Shameless DVD label, “Love Goddess Of The Cannibals”, had previously headlined in Walerian Borowczyk’s notorious art-house porno classic, “The Beast” in 1975. She returned to the format in this completely unofficial, ‘sequel’ in 1980 as Lt Sondra Richardson, the crew member forced to submit to the carnal lusts of a horrific space monster. She had actually been given her big break by acclaimed director Roger Vadim in “La Jeune Fille Assassinée” (aka “Charlotte”) in 1974, who saw her as being ‘the next Bardot’. Tragically, she died of AIDS in 1999 at the tender age of 46.

The press release for this DVD notes that the movie “gives trash cinema lovers exactly what they want in a riot of space disco insanity, science fictional oddness and twisted eroticism.” In fact, all it is missing is some rope lights from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and the vibe would have been complete!

This ‘epic’ was written and directed by Alfonso Brescia, who was also responsible for the more SF less T&A movies “Battle of the Stars” (1977), “Cosmos 2000 – Planet Without A Name” (1977), “War of the Robots” (1978), and “Space Odyssey” (1979), all delivered under his pen-name of Al Bradley.

Considering that this is effectively B-movie soft-porn, the special effects aren’t half as bad as they could have been – there’s even a “light sabre” battle, although these are more like “light broadswords”. I have to admit I was expecting at any moment for Martin Landau to crash into the plot to laser-blast an escape route out of the lair of the mind scrambling aliens! For those who know of such things, I gather the co-star presence of Marina Hedman (aka Marina Lotar) as Frieda Henkel is notable, being something of a ‘porn diva’, whose ‘talents’ can also be seen in the Shameless DVD release “Satan’s Baby Doll”.

It’s also worth watching out for the ultimate villain of the piece, who has more than a passing resemblance to ‘Deep Thought’ from The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

For collectors, the major enticement of this version of the film is the exclusive Shameless “Rebuild” presentation of the movie – apparently this version features extra footage added by the film’s producers and previously only available in a hardcore, XXX porn version. So, if I have that interpreted correctly, they added as much from the XXX-version as they could get away with these days, while still being able to get an ‘18’ certificate from the BBFC!

Special Features on the DVD include an alternate scene comparison, which shows how selective ‘zooming in’ of a sequence can change the certification of a movie. You also get the theatrical trailer for the film (which, like many of this era, virtually gives away the entire plot), as well as trailers for a whole host of Shameless DVDs released to date.  You also get a reversible sleeve which allows you to display the title in either new or original artwork.

“The Beast In Space” has an ‘18’ certificate and is out now on DVD from Shameless Screen Entertainment with an RRP of £15.99, or get it for less at www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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