Like many of you I’m sure, I spend a lot of my viewing time seeking the Holy Grail of ‘so bad, it’s good’ cinema. Well, I think I’ve found a very strong contender in The Beast in Space (La bestia nella spazio). Not only is this an exploitation flick which borrows broadly from Walerian Borowczyk’s notorious arthouse porno THE BEAST, but it is directed by the probably unchallenged, but nonetheless undisputed master of space smut, Alfonso Brescia. If you like your female astronauts in skin-tight rubber, your male astronauts moustachioed and tanked up on ‘Uranus milk’, and your alien planets little more than bordellos, then prepare to be amazed.
We start by meeting alpha male Captain Larry, a guy killing a little time at base before he ships out on his next mission. This involves, obviously, having a fight, and then having the sort of sex with a hot blonde which could only happen in 1980: check out the garish accompanying light show! Still, it’s not all fun and games and when you’re a Captain, you can’t hang around listening to hot blondes tell you about mysterious recurring dreams…there’s work to be done.
But wouldn’t you know, this lady is in fact one Lt. Sondra Richardson, and she’s been assigned to his crew for his upcoming mission. That mission? To explore an unknown planet which contains a very scarce, very important, metal.
Things don’t go well en route when they encounter an enemy ship, though, so they end up crash-landing on the planet they were meant to explore. They aim to complete their mission anyway, but there’s something odd about this place. Not only is it the planet from Sondra’s dream, but the atmosphere seems to be affecting the crew. They seem woozy, distracted – almost…horny…
Sondra’s in especial danger, though – as the horny faun of her nightmares is real, and horribly, hilariously aroused! Will the crew escape the planet? Will Sondra ever be the same again? In any case, watching the cast do their damnest to play their roles absolutely straight only adds to the general high entertainment factor to be had from The Beast in Space. Everything, from the costumes to the dialogue, to the general premise and back again is laugh-out-loud funny and strangely compelling. Combining robots and stock footage of mating horses with nudity and space-age jargon? It’s an idea crazy enough to work, and when I say ‘work’ I mean to transfix the helpless viewer.
Smut enthusiasts, err, I mean arthouse enthusiasts might recognise Sondra (Sirpa Lane) from the original Beast, and fellow crew member Erika (Maria D’Allesandro) also featured in another Shameless DVD release, Satan’s Baby Doll. I’m not sure what happened to the faun with his synthetic hooves, but I like to think he’s doing well somewhere. Oh and – it’s true – there is genuine hardcore Beast in Space footage around and about, just in case the scenes you do get here between Lane and man-goat aren’t saucy enough for you.
The Beast in Space is silly, trashy, exploitation fun – everything you’d hope from a science porno. Seek it out!