‘You are listening to the voices of the star whores!’ From the title, this 1976 French picture sounds like a low-budget porn vampire spoof (cf: Suckula, Sexcula, Gayracula), but no – it’s a weird mix of art and sex, with the sort of bizarre adult comic book science fiction premise found also in the likes of Zeta One or Toomorrow.
The doomed planet Spermula (‘where no man has ever pentrated’) is populated by intelligent gas beings ruled by Big Mother, who gets to talk a lot and explain things you’d never get from what you see onscreen – a dark force is overwhelming the planet, and so some gas creatures turn into humanoid women to infiltrate the Earth, which the Spermulans intend to occupy after their expedition has rendered the entire male population impotent through vampiric fellatio leading to the extinction of humanity.
The invaders look like fashion models, dress in copies of gowns shown in a 1930s fashion magazine (we’re told Earthmen are so stupid they won’t notice the anachronism) and occupy a chic chateau in rural France to begin their campaign of mass seduction, but – as often in stories about incorporeal beings who take on human form (cf: that old Star Trek episode and grottier porn films like Diary of a Space Virgin) – the Spermulans start to enjoy their bodies too much, and even the leaderine Spermula (Dayle Haddon) eventually goes against Big Mother. Spermulan Werner (Udo Kier), who came out male – with tiny genitals that he complains about (‘try using tweezers’) – by mistake, and whines that he isn’t having any fun on the mission.
Writer-director Charles Matton (primarily a sculptor, and not a prolific filmmaker) stages a ton of pretty-pretty sex scenes in the David Hamilton-Just Jaeckin style, perhaps with a parodic edge – a horny servant pleasures a lady from behind while she’s bent over washing her hair in a vintage sink, and when another lady turns up and asks when it’s her turn she’s told there’s no more hot water; a cardinal flees from two naked girls and falls into a pond where his scarlet robes spread like a waterlily and the girls zoom under it like sharks to suck him off (this sequence, which is strangely beautiful, must tick off so many porn sub-categories that every censor in France would want to put a fatwa out on it); an energetic black shimmy-shimmy dancer (Radiah Frye) has a passionate affair with a dwarf (Alain Flick). Everyone in the region, including a sexless model plane enthusiast Mayor and his incipiently nymphomaniac wife, is about as strange as the aliens. It ends with an orgy, lots of solarised footage and the failure of the Spermulan mission – the whole planet explodes just before the end credits.
The French original is more surreal than campy, but the English dub is full of yock-yock lines that show no one was taking it seriously (‘to describe the erotic practices of these sex-ridden morons, at once lewd and ludicrous, would make even an incorporeal vapor lose its lunch’). The English-language version also loses some more explicit sex and gains a soundtrack full of lifts from Goblin albums; Matton’s cut is about 25m worth of extra footage, including sort-of hardcore glimpses, and a substantially different plot. Kier’s character, for instance, isn’t a Spermulan but a random human idiot, who gets to commit suicide by driving a Volkswagen into an empty swimming pool, and the lead alien/gas being/time-traveller/angel from the future/past is called Ingrid and there’s no apparent explanation for the title.