Whilst INSEMINOID was never going to win any awards in any film departments you could care to name, it's far from the disaster some people have claimed it to be, and if you approach it with an open mind and take it all in fun, then you'll probably have a good time. I must admit to a certain amount of nostalgia for this kind of film, which could usually be found languishing on the bottom of a late-night horror double bill at a provincial flea-pit cinema here in Blighty, and it's not too difficult to imagine yourself watching INSEMINOID in between visits to the hot dog concession and the toilet as you wait impatiently for something like THE EVIL DEAD or ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS to start. Norman J.Warren, a maverick director who knew a gap in the market (or the opportunity for a quick cash-in on an established craze) when he saw one, is actually a pretty decent director, and he gets ample opportunity to show his tightly-honed skills here, particularly during some of the more competent action sequences. The set design may be no great shakes - the film looks more like a big-screen version of the cult TV series BLAKE'S SEVEN than anything Ridley Scott put his name to - but the caverns that double as the subterranean outer-space dungeons are none too shabby and quite convincingly lit (just forget about the silly red-filtered shots of the planet's surface, so obviously shot in a quarry somewhere), and John Metcalfe's widescreen photography makes the low-budget production look expansive, if not exactly expensive.
In short, INSEMINOID is the simple tale of a bunch of incompetent, to say nothing of downright disagreeable cosmonauts who touch down somewhere in the outer reaches of the galaxy and promptly tamper with the ecosystem, including some malevolent crystals and some sinister-looking pods. Before you can say "quatermass!", the crew members start getting bumped off, going crazy, cracking up, sawing their own feet off (a strong contender for the most cringe-inducing scene in the movie) and, in Judy Geeson's case, being forcefully artificially inseminated by a huge, glowering, crustacean life-form whose alien seed resembles lumpy green porridge. If you remember Geeson as the lovable dolly from TO SIR, WITH LOVE, then it will undoubtedly come as a shattering revelation to you that she forgoes the usual pregnancy pangs and cravings for unusual foodstuffs in favour of a bloodthirsty spree of murder and cannibalism, eventually giving birth to a couple of naked Muppets who just can't get enough of that chewy human stuff. To a large extent, it's Geeson's hyper-tense performance, all quivering facial tics, throat-rending screams and popping, twitching eyeballs that holds the film together in its later stages, as the plot contrivances and dumb-as-mud antics of her shipmates get a little too tedious and often to be believable. Still, if you're stupid enough to want to tackle a super-strong loony blonde single-handedly with no blunt instruments to help you, you really deserve a swift, messy death, right? INSEMINOID is truly a mad, crazy, paranoid, shambling mess of a film, but it still exerts a strong kinetic energy that fights off boredom and keeps you watching. There's also a surprisingly atmospheric electronic score, Stephanie Beacham in her underwear (one for the boys!) and quite a lot of the sticky red stuff to keep the gore-hounds salivating. Warren was never going to be another Pete Walker, but he wasn't another Andy Milligan either. If you're still not convinced, check out TERROR or SATAN'S SLAVE. If they whet your appetite, roll out INSEMINOID and enjoy.