Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Cinema — Heroin-Seeking Mini-Aliens Invade Earth, Discover Punks, Sex

I haven't seen "Liquid Sky" since about 1985 in Richmond, Va., in a theater on West Cary that alternated between art house flicks and XXX-rated offerings. One's feet stuck to the floor in that place, if you get my drift.

It's a weird, low-budget sci-fi flick that uses the New York downtown art/punk scene ca. 1982 the way Roger Corman used California teenagers in the 1950s and early 1960s (and hippies after that).

The idea is that these aliens in Frisbee-sized ships come to earth seeking opiates. Having no bodies themselves, they have to find people using heroin and put the ol' Space Zap on 'em.

But they find out that the substance released in the brain during orgasm, while similar to the opiate routine, is better!

So they start in on people having sex, too, and since they've parked the ship on the roof of Margaret and Adrian's apartment there's a steady stream of people doing drugs or having sex, or both.

Margaret (Anne Carlisle) is an "uptight WASP [bleep] from Connecticut," according to her evil lover, the heroin-dealing, performance artist Adrian. Jimmy (also played by Carlisle) is a strung-out androgynous fashion model.

And then there's this dopey scientist from Berlin who is chasing the UFO.

Not too much plot getting in the way of the story, and some really good slices of life which will be familiar (if not reassuring) to anybody who lived through the early 1980s on the edgier side of life.

Edgy, and stricken by ennui, if those two things don't conflict too much. The film's pace seems slow, but that's because the main characters just can't be bothered half the time.

Oddly enough, there's no nekkidity in "Liquid Sky." Well, there is a shot of the caboose of the lame-o drama teacher, but he's dead, so it really doesn't count.

Bad performance art. Androgyny. Gratutious use of an unpleasant word beginning with "c". Jewish-German humor. UFO that looks like a Frisbee, and is about the same size. Two rapes, both resulting in alien justice for the perps. Psychedelic Alien Death Ray. Graphic depictions of shooting drugs. Graphic depiction of the art of ordering Chinese food.

In short, rough stuff. Automatic one-coil deduction for the lack of female nudity, so three coils.

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