There had been some thought that this week might be time for a BMT Live! Rings came out to absolutely horrifying reviews (see what I did there?) and we had to think quick on whether we should act. The answer: not until we see the reviews for Fifty Shades Darker. It would be irresponsible to let it go by without giving it a chance at BMT Live! glory. It deserves it. So instead we head into SciFi/Fantasy and get to do a set of films that I’ve been eyeing for awhile. That’s right, we’re watching Species and Species II. These films promise three things: nudity, a scene where someone kisses someone else and their tongue bursts through the back of their skull, and… uh… nudity again. So basically I’m super duper duper excited. Let’s go!
Species (1995) – BMeTric: 34.9
(This plot basically shows the 2011 inflection and regression to the mean. The BMeTric is amazingly consistent through time (35 basically). Hey, since these plot are getting a little boring I’m going to start a new series with this. This is to put movies into groups based on what I see. The first group, for Species, is: Below Average and Perplexingly Popular. Basically this movie ultimate doesn’t seem too bad (rating of 5.8), but the sheer number of votes (nearly 60 thousand) gives an impressive BMeTric overall.)
Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars – DNA-tampering scientists at a Utah facility ultimately get theirs after creating a murderous creature, complete with tentacles, who’s packages like a blond centerfold. Fast and not without entertainment value, but don’t look at yourself in the mirror too closely if you end up defending it. Direction is somewhat sturdier than the script, which has its share of (we think) unintentional howlers.
(I mean, I’m all about unintentional howlers Leonard, you know me. Films with the horrible villain-scientists are the best though. Like Bats I hope these guys are real megalomaniacal assholes.)
(Alright, that looks pretty rad. Pretty old school though. Just a short rundown of the movie: Contact, communication, experiment, termination, escape, pursuit, mutation, confrontation, outcome unknown. Species! Yeah …. That sounds about right, and I’m on board!)
Directors – Roger Donaldson – (Known For: The Bank Job; The Recruit; The Bounty; Thirteen Days; No Way Out; The World’s Fastest Indian; Cadillac Man; White Sands; Smash Palace; BMT: Dante’s Peak; Cocktail (BMT); Species; The Getaway; Justice; The November Man; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1989 for Worst Director for Cocktail. His son Chris represented New Zealand in the 100 meter sprint in 1996 and 2000 Olympics. Now that’s a fun fact.)
Writers – Dennis Feldman (written by) – (Known For: Just One of the Guys; BMT: Species II; Virus; Species; The Golden Child (BMT); Notes: Brother of Randy Feldman who wrote Tango & Cash and son of producer Phil Feldman.)
Actors – Natasha Henstridge – (Known For: The Whole Nine Yards; Bounce; BMT: Species II; Ghosts of Mars (BMT); The Whole Ten Yards; Maximum Risk; Adrenalin: Fear the Rush; Species; Steal; Deception; Dog Park; Notes: According to an interview she gave in Empire she turned down roles in both Independence Day and Men In Black after reading the scripts and thinking, “What is this shit?”)
Michael Madsen – (Known For: The Hateful Eight; Kill Bill: Vol. 1; Reservoir Dogs; The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Sin City; Kill Bill: Vol. 2; Die Another Day; WarGames; Wyatt Earp; Thelma & Louise; Donnie Brasco; The Doors; Free Willy; The Natural; Pauly Shore Is Dead; BMT: BloodRayne; Species II; My Boss’s Daughter; Scary Movie 4 (BMT); Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home; Hell Ride; House; Species; Notes: A published poet (he has released eight books of poetry) and photographer.)
Ben Kingsley – (Known For: The Jungle Book; Schindler’s List; Shutter Island; Hugo; Knight of Cups; Iron Man Three; Ender’s Game; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Lucky Number Slevin; The Walk; The Dictator; Gandhi; Eliza Graves; Tuck Everlasting; Sexy Beast; The Boxtrolls; Life; Sneakers; Oliver Twist; The Triumph of Love; Robot Overlords; Dave; House of Sand and Fog; Searching for Bobby Fischer; Learning to Drive; Bugsy; Transsiberian; BMT: The Love Guru (BMT); BloodRayne; A Sound of Thunder (BMT); Thunderbirds; The Last Legion; Species; War, Inc.; The Ten Commandments; Exodus: Gods and Kings; Suspect Zero; Slipstream; Rules of Engagement; Self/less; Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2009 for Worst Supporting Actor for The Love Guru, War, Inc., and The Wackness; and in 2007 for BloodRayne. Nominated for four Oscars, winning one for Gandhi.)
Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $60,074,103 (Worldwide: $113,374,103)
(Of course, otherwise there is no chance this is franchised. Just thinking of the storyline I don’t think they would even think of this these days. It almost comes across as exploitation, and with erotic thrillers being basically a totally defunct genre I don’t really see it. Erotic Sci-Fi Horror … how’d this make $100 million?!)
#17 for the Creature Feature genre
(Ooooo right on the cusp of a giant surge. Obviously this was fueled by Jurassic Park (not this one, but creature features). Critters 2 and King Kong Lives are recent BMT examples, and recently the genre is back with Jurassic World and Godzilla. The new King Kong should continue that trend if it gets good reviews.)
#10 for the Sci-Fi Horror genre
(Ahead of its time! And since about 1995 it has been a pretty consistently released genre. It just doesn’t make a ton of money. I mean, Species is the 10th highest grossing film ever! It is at quite the nadir at the moment, but things like Predator and Alien should sustain it for at least a while longer. It isn’t totally VOD yet!)
Rotten Tomatoes – 34% (12/35): No consensus yet.
(Ooooo I love giving consensuses: A smart take on schlocky sci-fi horror which ultimately devolves into soft-core pornography with a clunky premise. My favorite part of a review is from Ebert himself where he describes the alien as a: “[d]isgusting, slimy morph-creatures with rows of evil teeth, whose greatest cultural achievement is jumping out at people from behind things.” I don’t like jump scares either Ebert.)
Poster – Our Sklog is Up (B+)
(While it is cheesy in a lot of ways, it is also epic. Really raw image with great font, nice balance, and coloring. Looks like a knockoff of the Alien poster. Still good though.)
Tagline(s) – Two decades ago scientists sent a message to space. This… is the reply. (B)
(Too long and detailed (we need to know that it was two decades ago?), but I like the suspense. Got some cleverness in too with the ellipses.)
Keyword(s) – interspecies sex; Top Ten by BMeTric: 67.3 Howard The Duck (1986); 46.7 Caligula (1979); 35.9 Decoys (2004); 35.8 Splice (2009); 34.9 Species (1995); 22.9 Ta paidia tou Diavolou (1976); 20.1 The Dunwich Horror (1970); 18.5 Une vraie jeune fille (1976); 17.2 The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat (1974); 17.0 The Beast Within (1982);
(This is real everyone. This is the real top keyword for this movie on IMDb, yet again proving that IMDb keywords are useless … also false! Howard the Duck never has sex with a human. Liars! This list is a house of lies!)
Notes – During the production, MGM opted not to shoot the “nightmare train” sequence to keep costs down. H.R. Giger was not willing to accept that, however, so he spent $100,000 of his own money to finance the sequence.
For the scene in which Sil is ‘born’ from the cocoon, the train set was built upside down. Natasha Henstridge, totally naked and covered in KY Jelly lubricant, was pushed through the cocoon, and the shot was flipped upside down afterwards, to achieve the effect of her falling out.
Xavier (Ben Kingsley) Fitch says that the alien signal was received by the Arecibo radio telescope exactly nineteen years after an outbound message was transmitted. Since the transmissions traveled at the speed of light, that means that the alien solar system is approximately nine light-years from Earth. There are two stars which are likely candidates, Sirius and Luyten 726-8A. (now these are the fun facts I like to see)
Fitch’s comment that they made Sil female to be more docile is an in-joke that belies his ignorance. In every predatory species known, the female is always more aggressive. (I don’t believe this is true)
Michael Madsen and Marg Helgenberger were allowed to improvise their sex scene.
SIL is actually S1L, the medical cell in the lab where the DNA was grown.
An early draft of the script had the young Sil calmly killing a friendly cab driver. In an effort to keep the audience’s sympathy for her character (and to make the murder of the porter more shocking) the scene was changed to Sil killing a tramp in self defense after he attempts to attack her. (There was another BMT film like this, where there clearly was just no kills by the “bad” protagonist for almost the entire movie … but I can’t remember what it was, although I do remember it was a terrible idea.)
When Sil watches TV at the motel, she flips through different channels and they all show various things she will do later in the film. Like having sex, changing her hair, showing off her body, etc. (coooooool)