quarantine stream species II

(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The Movie: Species II

Where You Can Stream It: Amazon Prime Video

The Pitch: A sequel to Species, a 1995 sci-fi horror thriller about a sexy alien lady who kills people while trying to mate. Do you have to have seen the first film to understand what’s going on in Species II? No, not at all. You just have to know that there’s a sexy lady alien. And now, in the sequel, there’s also a male alien. And he, too, is looking for some sex. Also, people’s heads explode. It’s terrible! In a fun way!

Why It’s Essential Quarantine Viewing: Sometimes you’re craving a fine meal and sometimes you’re craving greasy, artery-clogging, cheese-soaked garbage. Species II is the latter. I promise you will never be bored.

Opening with a shot of a space station covered in brand logos like Pepsi and Sprint, Species II lets you know right from the start that it’s going to be a big heaping bowl of sweet-smelling junk, and you have to appreciate that.

The first Species, directed by Roger Donaldson, was a surprise hit when it arrived in ’95. Most critics thought it was ridiculous, and they weren’t wrong. It was an over-sexed sci-fi thriller lacking in brains. But the general public didn’t care about that. All they cared about was the fact that the film starred Natasha Henstridge as a sexy, frequently nude alien lady. After the success of the first film, a sequel was inevitable.

Now, you might think a sequel to an already not-great movie would be even worse. And in some respects, you’re not wrong. Species II is a very silly, very stupid movie. And yet…it’s superior to Species. Why? Because for all of the first film’s T&A, you could tell that the people making the film were trying to give it a tiny bit of class. Or at least as much class as a movie about a sexy alien woman having lots of alien sex could have, I guess. But all of those phony airs are gone in Species II, which is just weapons-grade trash from start to finish. It’s dumber, it’s weirder, it’s gorier.

Full of great practical make-up effects and featuring scenes where someone blows their head off with a shotgun only for the head to suddenly grow back, Species II, directed by Peter Medak, primarily focuses on astronaut Patrick Ross (Justin Lazard) who comes back from a mission to Mars infected with some alien goo that would be right at home in Venom. The infection has turned him into a hybrid human-alien guy who is super horny. And because he has alien DNA coursing through his blood now he’s able to impregnate women immediately. And I mean immediately – as soon as climax is reached, Patrick’s sexual partners immediately balloon up, their bellies expanding rapidly until a blood-soaked baby bursts out. Like I said: this movie is gross trash.

To stop this oversexed alien man, the government turns to some of the folks who were involved in the first movie –  Dr. Laura Baker (Marg Helgenberger) and cool bad-ass Preston “Press” Lennox (Michael Madsen). Madsen is the second-best thing in this movie behind all the practical gore because he’s alarmingly nonchalant. Even when he storms into a room where tentacles are shooting out of a woman’s exploded stomach he mostly looks bored. He’s practically seconds away from turning to the camera and saying, “It’s a living!” as if he were one of the bored dinosaur workers on The Flintstones. He’s less an action hero here and more of an inaction hero.

Natasha Henstridge is back, too, this time playing a clone of her alien character from the first movie. This clone has been created to be on the side of the good guys, but of course, there’s a threat here – if the alien lady and the alien man meet and mate, they could have crazy alien babies, and that would be bad for the human race. But what’s bad for the human race is also pretty darn entertaining.

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