Inseminoid (1981): United Kingdom – directed by Norman J. Warren
Rated R by the MPAA – contains violence, some nudity, and some disturbing babies
Note: Inseminoid contains some grotesque content and cautious readers should be advised against continuing with this review
Inseminoid is blessed with an amusing title and an even more hilarious poster. The swirling backdrop, the framing reminiscent of the poster for The Thing, the appearance of lasers (though they are merely flashlights attached to the helmets) shooting toward a bizarre, newly birthed alien baby, all while a mostly-naked woman screams in agony. It is strange and disturbing in equal measure, all the more so because someone thought it was appropriate imagery for a movie poster.
But this was 1981, just a couple years after Alien had spooked the movie-going world into believing that contact with outer-space rocks could impregnate a person. Inseminoid is clearly a British attempt to capitalize on the science fiction/horror genre. While a poster this extraordinary would generally portend a disappointingly bad film, Inseminoid is actually rather amusing and entertaining. It is not a good film, but certainly not deserving of the 2.8 user rating it has over at IMDb.
The plot is familiar. There is a mining colony on a far-away planet. A key staff of miners and scientists man the post, with an interesting twist: the captain of the group is a woman capable of making difficult decisions, and more than half of the base is comprised of women. Very progressive for 1981. But something is amiss at this isolated outpost. There’s a strange crystal that causes weird behavior in people.
The first victim goes berserk, venturing outside of the camp into the terribly cold and poisonous air of the mine-shafts. He attacks a variety of people before finally being put down. Further investigation yields little conclusive proof, but also another victim. Sandy (Judy Geeson) is similarly infected/possessed by the crystal. A strange insemoiding scene occurs with her on a gurney and some strange alien demon with a hollow tube filled with green, globby goo. It is very similar to the “inseminoiding” scene in Rosemary’s Baby. Sandy soon goes on a bizarre killing spree, seemingly possessed by the alien seed and controlled by the odd, glowing crystal.
The plot is ridiculous and somewhat silly, but fans of schlocky sci-fi/horror will be interested. The production is assured enough to never feel too cheesy or cheap. Some of the art and costume design is hilarious, including the amazing helmets the crew wears outside the base. The filmmakers had enough money to craft sets standard for the genre, complete with communication systems and flashing lights.
Those most interested in a film titled Inseminoid will be hoping for vast amounts of violence and gore. Inseminoid was not gruesome enough to be labeled a video nasty, but is instead rather restrained with the violence. There are some gory moments but nothing much different from many other horror films from the period. There is a nice atmosphere, helped by some assured lighting and set design. There are even a couple of creepy moments, not to mention an alien baby only a step below the Eraserhead [review here] creature.
All of the good moments are tempered by some atrocious acting and laughable dialogue. Again, the film is called Inseminoid so one mustn’t expect a great deal. Fans of the genre and the time period will enjoy the camp and productions values. Those turned off by the name and poster should rightfully steer clear of the film. For a film with such an amazing poster I was surprisingly not disappointed by the content and quality of the movie. Nothing could live up to the hype the poster promises, but Inseminoid comes about as close as possible.