SUBURBAN GRINDHOUSE MEMORIES
The Unborn Alien Avenger!
By Nick Cato
FANGORIA magazine had been running articles (and graphic stills) about an ALIEN-like gore-fest titled INSEMINOID. Week after week, we gorehounds of the early 80s anticipated this potential gem’s release, and had all but given up when a film titled HORROR PLANET was unleashed in late 1982. It turns out INSEMINOID had been re-titled (and as much as I LOVE the original title, perhaps HORROR PLANET was a bit more marketable?). Either way, the (now defunct) Fox Twin Cinema was packed to the gills on opening night, with horny teenagers and underage patrons waiting for their long-awaited dose of otherworldly splatter.
It turns out the only similarity between this and ALIEN (1979) was in the alien impregnating someone. In this case, a group of scientists are exploring the underworld of one of Jupiter’s moons (Why? I still have no idea—just go with it), when they happen to unleash a strange creature who forcefully does the intergalactic mambo with one of the prettier female scientists (hey—even monsters go for the hotties!). Her pregnancy accelerates at an unearthly pace and her fellow explorers (in no certain terms) begin to look at her and her coming child as lab rats. Unfortunately for these cosmonauts, whatever’s growing inside her is requiring human blood. What follows is pure exploitation genius: Our pregnant heroine (Sandy, played by Judy Geeson—trust me, you’ve seen her in tons of TV shows) begins to protect herself and her unborn by slaughtering the rest of the cast, turning HORROR PLANET into one of the first intergalactic slasher movies I can think of. And MAN does the sauce flow…
If you can overlook the horrendous acting and dialogue (if memory serves me, nearly every line was openly mocked at the screening I attended), HORROR PLANET is a decently made British flick with tons of brain-dead splatter fun in store for your viewing (or is that ‘spewing?’) pleasure: one guy’s stomach is blown apart with a laser gun as some poor woman is sliced to shreds with a pair of scissors, and another is eaten alive, in a genuinely savage scene of space-age cannibalism. When Sandy finally gives birth, it turns out she was carrying twin humanoid creatures that come out of the womb with more goop and vomit-inducing green glop than even Linda Blair could’ve handled. I haven’t seen the film since this fine evening around November of 1982, so I don’t know how much I’d enjoy this today…but at the time, I was in splatter/sleaze heaven. And apparently, so was the crowd. This is the first time I can remember the audience cheering during the kill sequences—a few years before this became the norm at FRIDAY THE 13th sequels (I believe FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 4 started this ritual—which—in my opinion—began to cheapen the feel and affect of most horror films).
If you’re a scifi fan, you’ll probably laugh at the primitive special effects, especially the base of command center (which looks like it was constructed on a really cheap set—or in someone’s basement!), and as mentioned, this is more of a gore film than a serious ALIEN wanna-be.
HORROR PLANET is worth a DVD viewing (I believe it was finally released under the INSEMINOID title), if, for nothing else, to show you how much fun and in-your-face these early gore-epics could be.
One thing’s for sure: you won’t have half as much fun with any other low-budget space monster film released since (and there’s simply NO WAY this would receive an R rating today).
© Copyright 2011 by Nick Cato