Space-Thing (1968)

Director Byron Mabe has a few exploitation gems to his credit such as The Adult Version of Jeckyll and Hide and A Smell of Honey, a Swallow of Brine. This little nudie-softcore sex spoof he directed and co-produced is kind of like a bargain basement version of Kiss Me Quick, if that's at all possible! Thanks to the great output of Something Weird we can all watch these lost treasures and enjoy them for what they are. Let's take a look, or should that be a leer...

Our first scene is Doris Wishman-esque in its execution. A nude couple lie in bed. The woman, with obvious breast implants which always suprises me for all those years ago, is getting annoyed as her man spends all his time with his nose in a science fiction book. As they begin to fight, we see the filming technique consists of showing the other character as the actor/actress yell at each other. No sound recording today, folks. The guy then concedes to have sex with his petulant partner but finally gets to stick his head back in his favorite book. He dreams away into his science fiction trance, and our film begins. With credits painted over bare breasts and asses, you begin to see the emphasis of the film!

As we hear through narration, our hero of the Planetarian race, Colonel James Granilla (Steve Vincent) is travelling through the cosmos on a mission. Their enemies, the Terrareans, are travelling towards their world of Planetaria in a flying saucer. Granilla's mission is to intercept this craft but mutineers throw him off the ship and he's cast adrift in a "space-canoe". With a micro-budget such as Space-Thing's, these scenes are done with toys, held by hand through a black background. Hey, it comes with the territory. Granilla docks with the Terrarean saucer and assumes their shape, even though it revolts him. The crew of the saucer greet him, with the women naked as their towels fall off them. The captain, Mother (buxom Carla Peterson) and Cadet (Dan Martin) lead a group of three other women and a older male simpleton. The women of the ship take an interest in him, but he fends them off for now.

Various soft-core couplings take place. Cadet and the blonde woman, the blonde woman and "Mother" - who then takes a whip to the girl after finding out she'd been with Cadet, in a very tame whipping indeed. Granilla condedes to gave sex with the brunette. All the heterosexual sex in this one is accomplished with fully clothed men. Perhaps there's something about the future we don't want to know about? A meteor shower hits the ship, but they find they can land on one of the larger meteors to repair the vessel. The simpleton lands first, but soon finds the air breathable and the whole crew descends to explore the desolate, rocky planetoid. Granilla tries to skulk off on his own but he's chased by the blonde woman and cornered into sex. The brunette wants to wait in line for his attentions as the simpleton sits dejected at being ignored. Mother has sex with the other blonde woman. Jealous at his crew-member's interest in the intruder, Cadet attacks Granilla but is accidentally disintegrated by a ray-gun.

Finally, they all return to the ship, with Granilla feigning interest in Mother. He promises he'll make love to her back in her chamber. As he takes one last look at his wife - a crude drawing of an ugly, bug-eyed alien - he begins the triggering of the micro-atomic bomb he's been saving for the Terrareans' destruction. Mother readies herself for ecstacy, nude and unaware ...

You probably won't get a much cheaper little exploitationer than Space-Thing, but you realize as you're watching it that this era of film-making is long, long gone. I still like watching this type of the thing for the sixties aesthetic, the naivity - at least compared to modern sex cinema - and general imagination that goes towards overcoming a poverty-stricken budget. Thankfully, synch-sound is used after the opening scene. Most of the film's expense seemed to go on the costumes - when they are actually on the actresses - and they're quite effective in their sci-fi kitsch way. The flying-saucer's bridge is also pretty good with it's blinking lights and electronic paraphernalia. This is a bit more explicit than a nudie-cutie like Kiss Me Quick or House on Bare Mountain, but not much more. We see a few shots of female nether-regions and some make-believe sex, but that's about it. Again, Producer David Friedman - God bless him - contributes another entry that's worth tracking down for fans of retro-sex cinema.

Have fun with Space-Thing, if you decide to give it a watch. In the fullness of time, let's see just how accurate it is as a predictor of future space-vehicle design and, well, official space program uniforms.

© Boris "Tinfoil" Lugosi, 2006.

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Review written: 04/11/2006 22:04:19