Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on May 19th, 2008
There really was nothing like the Italian film industry in full exploitative steam. The Beast in Space is a perfect example of what I mean. From where else but Italy in 1980 could there emerge a low-rent rip-off of both Walerian Borowczyk’s high-end erotic epic The Beast and Star Wars? Even the poster somehow manages to conjure thoughts of both films. And the title shamelessly implies that it is some sort of sequel to the former. So what kind of alchemy do these elements produce?
Nothing particularly enticing, beyond its considerable value as demented trash novelty. The plot is a surprisingly convoluted bit of nonsense involving and expedition to a planet that has been producing far too much of a supposedly rare mineral. Meanwhile crew member Sirpa Lane (of The Beast) is having bad dreams about being ravished by some sort of satyr-like creature. None of this ever makes any sense, nor is the combination of gruesomely bad FX and costume design with gruesomely boring sex scenes particularly entertaining. But the release is still worthwhile, if only to prove that There Are Such Things.
No miracles to be had here, but the DVD is very much at the mercy of the original print’s quality. The language track is Italian, but, as was often the case with such productions, the cast was multilingual, as is patently obvious by the often hilarious mismatch between lip movements and dialogue. The mono is generally decent enough, but does at times sound a bit harsh.
The print is good, but not perfect. I doubt, however, that a perfect print of this thing has ever existed. So the grain level rises and falls (it’s particularly noticeable in the opening scene), but is never enough to be a problem. The colours can be a bit variable, but are generally strong, as are the contrasts. All in all, the film looks about as good as one could reasonably expect it to look.
The one extra is an extended interview with Venantino Venantini, who has a supporting role in the film. The discussion extends beyond this film in particular to deal with Venantini’s career in and the film industry in general.
Another rather charmingly awful obscurity unearthed by Severin. It’s a crap film, but the daring of its cinematic theft makes it one for the books all the same.