Beast in Space, The / La bestia nello spazio (1980)

2.0 out of 5

Sci-fi meets just-about-soft-core sex in this risible romp from War of the Planets hack Alfonso Brescia. An outer space “follow up” to Walerian Borowczyk’s infamous 1975 art/sleaze fable The Beast, it brings back  that film’s star, Sirpa Lane, as part of a gaily clad starship crew who travel to the distant planet ‘Lorigon’ looking for a rare energy source.

The explorers, led by dashing moustachioed hero Vassili Karis, get a lot more than they'd bargained for when they suddenly find themselves experiencing strange sexual feelings and frightening dreams. And that’s all the preamble Brescia needs to start up with an interminable barrage of boring, deeply unattractive sex scenes, which succeed only in getting in the way of the cheesy space opera fun.

At one point the crew bizarrely run into some stock footage of a pair of horses copulating, in “homage” to the opening of Borowczyk’s film. Hilariously, “The Beast” in question turns out to be a man with hairy legs, hooves and an enormous and obviously fake phallus – which is in fact the mental projection of a mad computer that rules the planet.

As with most cheaply made Italian sci-fi films of the period, the outer space scenes make Galaxina look like Starship Troopers and the sets and outfits look like they were made in the 1950s, never mind the 1970s. It’s actually difficult to believe that this film was released to cinemas in the same year as The Empire Strikes Back.

Recommend only to those whose ship’s controls are well and truly set for the outer limits of cult cinema.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics