On the starship Vertigo, the crew of five are having trouble working out how to spend their days, for their mission does involve a lot of free time. However, as luck would have it the ship's resident scientist Dr Stark (Patrick Macnee) happens to gaze out of the window and notices a planet hitherto undiscovered, and right there and then makes up his mind to investigate this new world. All the crew climb into their suits and take the shuttle craft down to the surface, where they find what might be the remains of a city, but no visible life...
No visible life aside from a small blob of red jelly which Dr Stark takes aboard for further examination. In case you haven't guessed, this was a spoof of the still current in 1981 Alien, though it was operating on a budget not unlike many of the more serious-minded rip-offs of the blockbusting sci-fi horror epic, that was, not very much at all. Or even less. Most of what you saw here was corridors, since one looks very much like another and the filmmakers could pretend the characters were walking down a whole spacecraft full of them simply by shooting the same set over and over.
Such ingenuity was necessary, and could be forgiven. Well, it could be if the jokes were amusing, yet sad to say there was very little to tickle the funny bone of most people in The Creature Wasn't Nice, aka Spaceship, aka Naked Space, that last title a rather desperate attempt to play up the appearance here of Leslie Nielsen, who actually seemed to have been cast for his iconic role in Forbidden Planet as much for his latter boost of fame for straightfaced comedy. He was the Captain here as well, and the rest of the cast was just as notable, with Gerrit Graham as the sleazy crewmember always looking to seduce the sole female on board, no matter how much she resists him.
She was played by sitcom star Cindy Williams, present because she was in the director's previous outing. Which was the higher regarded The First Nudie Musical back in the seventies, as Bruce Kimmel also took a role here as the hapless crewman who always ends up doing the dirty work, such as tackling a man-eating alien. In the former effort, the jokes had been just as silly, yet somehow that had been genuinely funny with some decent tunes, here on the other hand there was an airless quality to the proceedings which resembled a TV variety show, including three song and dance sequences, filmed without a studio audience to provide the laughter and applause.
Though some would be content with a spoof of Alien with obvious gags, and there was nothing here ever less than doggedly likeable, almost all of it fell flat with everyone else, that in spite of at least one moment of inspiration when the now-grown monster is hooked up to a translator and croons the memorable ballad I Want to Eat Your Face. Aside from that, which a surprising amount of people recall even if they don't remember the film around it, it was all too mild to make an impression otherwise with an effects budget which would make an old episode of Star Trek look lavish and performances more appropriate to vaudeville. If you were a horror fan seeking something of a Forbidden World or Creature or Parasite nature, then this would not fit the bill as there was zero gore even when a character got their arms torn off. There may be those observing Ridley Scott missed a trick by not adapting this script for Prometheus, but they wouldn't be many. Music by David Spear.
American writer, actor, songwriter and director whose debut movie was The First Nudie Musical, which, although Paramount ensured it flopped on first release so as not to damage the reputation of its hit family sitcom Laverne and Shirley (they both starred Cindy Williams), went on to cult success. The same can't be said for Kimmel's follow up, The Creature Wasn't Nice, and he now works in the music industry.