Inseminoid (1981)

Norman J. Warren's biggest production, a creepy sci-fi horror set on a distant world. ABUK R2 boxset release.

The Film

In the distant future, an archaeological expedition is sent too a distant planet with an underground cave structure showing signs of an ancient civilisation. Two of the crew enter a remote cave section and as one of them discovers some mysterious crystals, there is a huge explosion which badly injures them both. The recovering Ricky becomes possessed by the crystals and goes mad, escaping through the base and killing another crew member until being killed. On a later mission, an alien creature captures and impregnates Sandy - although she is rescued and taken back to the base, as the creatures begin to develop inside her, she starts to defend herself and kill the rest of the crew...

Inseminoid is frequently compared to the iconic Alien (1979) which shares its theme of alien impregnation, although it has a similar paranoid atmosphere closer to the impressive and subsequent The Thing (1982) and some hints of the mysterious and dangerous nature of space exploration from Quatermass Xperiment (1955). The script is pretty generic and contains nothing really new although it does boast an impressively unsettling atmosphere throughout that many low budget sci-fi films lack. The film builds well to a strong climax but it is let down by a rather pointless ending sequence that drags on rather too long. Although Norman J. Warren is best known as an exploitation director Inseminoid was much better funded and aimed more for the mainstream market so the gratuitous nudity of many of his earlier films is missing and although the blood and guts quota is kept high it is no more than in many other Hollywood films of the time. As an interesting side note the film's theme of alien rape incensed feminist groups who picketed the production obviously ignoring the fact that most of the characters in commanding positions on the team are women (interesting to compare to the all male cast of The Thing (1982)).

The film's production sets it above many similar low budget sci-fi pictures, instead of generic, studio-bound interiors, the film was shot in a real cave complex in Southern England with some wonderful sets and scenes that do give the film a suitably other-worldly feel - avoiding the obvious use of models that plague many such films. As usual, Warren's direction is solid and makes use of some very clever low budget tricks. The soundtrack by John Scott (who also scored Satan's Slave) is a completely synthesised orchestral score that suits the film very well.
Inseminoid boasts a good, but relatively obscure cast of British actors. Despite his Steve McQueen-style good looks, top billed Robin Clarke (who gives a strong performance one of the lead base staff) has had a very on and off acting career. Stephanie Beacham, star of Hammer's daft Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) and a frequent television actress plays the base commander. Judy Geeson (who starred in The Eagle Has Landed (1976)) gives the best performance as the stricken Sandy - she manages to really convince as a woman suffering from a very bizarre experience and being both scared and violent at the same time. The most notable aspect of the cast, compared to most modern sci-fi, is the casting of real looking late 20s early 30s actors - the type more likely to be involved in space exploration - rather than the barely post-teenage sex-kittens and hunks that seem to form most science teams in modern films.

Although home to some of the best known early science fiction television series Britain has rarely excelled in sci-fi cinema.
Inseminoid is hardly a classic film by any measure and not particularly original but stands out above many of the low budget sci-fi pictures of the era thanks to strong production values that avoids obvious stock footage or model work, some good acting and a decent script that helps to create a solid, unsettling atmosphere. Partly recommended to all, and certainly recommended to fans of the more obscure sci-fi space movies and British exploitation.

In Brief

Anyone famous in it? Robin Clarke - made his debut appearence in bizarre Spaghetti Western Death Sentence (1967)
Directed by anyone interesting? Norman J. Warren - One of Britain's few exploitation horror directors, best known for Inseminoid (1981).
Is it scary?There are some atmospheric scenes that might prove scary.
Any violence/gore? Several very bloody deaths.
Any sex? A short nude scene, not erotic.
Who is it for?
Recommended to fans of exploitation and low budget sci-fi films.
Good Soundtrack?A very well composed score from John Scott that adds to the film's atmosphere.


Visuals Original Aspect Ratio - 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colour.
The print is good with decent colours, light grain and light print damage throughout.
Audio English original mono sounds good, plus rather unnecessary 5.1 and DTS remixes.
Subtitles English HOH.
Extras The disc includes:
  • Audio Commentary from Norman Warren and assistant director Gary White. Full of information with a chatty tone.
  • Electronic Approach - interview with John Scott about the soundtrack, with clips from the film. (13m 10s)
  • Interview with Judy Geeson including a general background to her career and detail of Inseminoid a variety of interesting film clips. (11m 45s)
  • Original cinema trailer.
A documentary and more interviews about this film are present on the boxset bonus disc.
AvailabilityOnly available in the Norman J. Warren collection boxset.
Region Region 2 (UK, Europe) - PAL
Other regions? There was an American DVD release of this film, although lacking the bonus features of this disc.
Cuts? The film is believed to be fully uncut, and includes the 'rescue team' ending. English language print.



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All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 20th August 2006.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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