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  Beast in Space, The Half Man Half Risk It
Year: 1980
Director: Alfonso Brescia
Stars: Sirpa Lane, Vassili Karis, Lucio Rosato, Umberto Ceriani, Maria D'Alessandro, Giuseppe Fortis, Dada Gallotti, Giuseppe Lauricella, Marina Hedman, Iren Szeremi, Claudio Zucchet, Claudio Undari, Venantino Venantini
Genre: Sex, Trash, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Captain Larry Madison (Vassili Karis) has recently returned to planet Earth after captaining a fleet of space ships; what they have been looking for is a precious metal that the military need for their weaponry, and so far they have been out of luck. Looking for a spot of rest and relaxation, Madison ventures to the nearest bar but is unfortunate to get into a fight over a woman (Sirpa Lane) who he sticks up for when she is picked on by a sleazy customer. His reward for this act of charity? He gets to spend the night with her - but what of her peculiar dreams?

Writer and director Alfonso Brescia managed to create small, short-lived industry of Italian science fiction epics on a low budget thanks to judicious re-use of props, sets, costumes and special effects sequences, but for his last effort in the area of space opera he hit on an idea of what had been missing from all those previous films. Yes, sex was that all-too-important ingredient and Brescia, under the pseudonym Al Bradley, took as his inspiration the Walerian Borowczyk work of a few years previous, La BĂȘte, to bring his vision to life.

This extended to hiring the star of that film, that is the woman who had had the close encounter with the Beast of title, Sirpa Lane who unlike in that film was the one who had the dreams in this one, although here her dreams actually come true, in a way. But the result is curious at best, for if you were watching it for the sex you would have to sit through acres of spaceships and exploring a mystery planet, typical Star Trek stuff, to get to the orgy sequence and then would probably feel it had not been worth your time after all.

If, however, you were a sci-fi fan watching for those trappings of the genre, then you might be put off by a film that presents this kind of juvenile story then adds a big dollop of intercourse in the last half hour. One version goes even further than the softcore one and includes hardcore inserts, just to be even more offputting, but the softcore version should be more than enough for most viewers. With the plot revolving around smuggling of that precious metal and the trail leading to an outer space criminal (Venantino Venantini) and an awkward realisation for Madison that the woman he romanced last night is now on his crew, in truth it's not clear where it's going.

Where it's going is the evil computer familiar from past Brescia space instalments which drags Madison's ship to its surface and leaves five of the crew, including Madison doing his best Captain Kirk, to investigate. Most of this investigation takes place in a freezing-looking forest until they find a castle and wander in to find their host, Orpha (Claudio Undari), who lays on a banquet for them when something begins messing with their minds and that orgy begins. Orpha also has a secret hidden under his gown: no, not that, his bottom half is two horse's legs, which ties into the whole beast thing, but like most of this story leans to heavily on having the evil computer's machinations explain away what really doesn't make much sense. The whole thing is inescapably low rent, but a curio for trash fans if nothing else. Music by Marcello Giombini.

Aka: La Bestia nello spazio.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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