Comfortable and Furious

Species (1995)

If A Worse Movie Exists, You Don’t Want To See It

You already know that Species is a terrible movie. At least you should already know. From the opening credits, which happen to feature the worst special effects I have ever seen, to the horribly heavy-handed opening, to the bad, bad, bad climax, Species is a piece of shit. Cinematically, it makes The Exorcist III scary and Buffy the Vampire Slayer deep. At its core, it is little more than an excuse to show off Natasha Hendstridge’s tits and Michael Madsen’s awkward tough guy bravado. Actually, it is really only about those tits.

Actually, as far as sci-fi horror flicks go, it is sort of a good idea. An alien civilization contacts us and tricks us into creating a super-human hybrid (by splicing DNA!) that will kill us all, for some reason or another. It could be the standard “they need our planet’s resources,” or it could just be that the extra-terrestrials are mean dudes – either being the case, a pretty crafty way to get the job done. Especially in light of Forrest Whitaker’s other alien flick. However, that entire plot point is sent out to pasture fifteen minutes into the movie. From then on it is just a sitcom-like chase to find “Sil” before she kills again.

What kills me about Species is the potential it had. The director, Roger Donaldson, is solid, having directed a string of great flicks, chiefly, No Way Out, Cadillac Man, White Sands and more recently the very underrated 13 Days. Also, Ben Fucking Kingsley, of Sexy Beast fame (forget Gandhi), is in the movie as a by-the-book government hard-ass. Oh, he cries a single tear right before he is going to gas a nine-year-old, which is supposed to make him more human I guess, but that happens 47 seconds into the film, so you have no idea.

As I mentioned, Forrest Whitaker is in the movie. And he sucks, too. Man, Forrest, just go sign a contract with Jarmusch or something. I mean folks, he ruled in Ghost Dog, but since then he seems totally incapable of acting in anything but shit-suckers. Alfred Molina, who has not only appeared in some of my favorite films (Cabin Boy, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jarmusch’s Dead Man), absolutely stole the show in Boogie Nights as the coked-up coke dealer. [Ed Note: Molina also rocked in The Man Who Knew Too Little.] And we all know about Michael Madsen and the ass he kicked as Mr. Blonde in Reservoir Dogs, though his career since then has resembled Michael Jackson’s since the King of Pop’s hair caught fire. Point being, with all of these talents assembled for one movie you would think that it would at least be passable.


Species is a dog of a movie. I already mentioned how piss-poor the special effects were during the opening credits. They hardly improved at all over the entirety of the film. Looking like a cross between Clash of the Titans and the psychedelic scenes from Flowers for Algernon I did little but laugh. Mostly at myself for not switching over to the Simpsons at 7:30 pm. There was one particularly awful scene where Sil (Henstridge) was having a nightmare about a train running her down. Just as the train hits her the screen fills up with worms. Talk about a bad dream… None of the other “scary” parts were much better. This was probably the last sci-fi/horror film ever made without CG effects. The results speak for themselves. But in case you missed it, they were saying, “we’re sorry.” Species came out in 1995, but it feels 10 years older. During the good parts.

The lone part of Species that I found interesting was the chemistry between Madsen’s preposterous character (preposterous because he is supposed to be some sort of special government bounty hunter yet he only carries a hand gun and dresses as if he were auditioning for Vince Vaughn’s part in Swingers) and Dr. Baker (Marg Helgenberger). The two are part of the team that is trying to catch and kill Sil and from time to time they are alone together and their flirtations are fun to watch. But then Sil goes and sucks some guy’s tongue out of his mouth and the film is back to being rotten.

Let me give you an example. Whittaker’s character is supposed to be some sort of psychic or pre-cog. He explains that he just “feels too deeply.” He can (slightly) predict the future and also tell what murderers are thinking. That kind of shit. At one point Sil is hiding in the backyard (behind a fence? She’s looking through a knothole) of a guy she just killed and Whittaker does not know she’s there. He even ventures out into the backyard to have a looksee. In at least three other scenes, Whittaker can not only sense Sil’s presence, but he can tell what she is doing behind closed doors. Just amateur-hour shit that I really shouldn’t care all that much about. For some reason I do. Anyhow, the movie blows. Nice tits, though.

Ruthless Ratings:

  • Overall: 2
  • Direction: 3
  • Acting: 4
  • Story: 2
  • Re-watchability: 2

Special Ruthless Ratings:

  • Number of times the “special effects” made you upset: 17
  • Number of times you liked how she walked from downtown LA to Hollywood in two minutes: 3
  • Number of times you thought about Kingsley in Sexy Beast when he was on screen: 40
  • Number of times you thought of him in Spooky House: 21
  • Do you think Species started the trend of uber-tough yet very hot chicks in sci-fi action flicks/TV best exemplified by by Dark Angel and Terminator III: Yes
  • Do you want to see Species II: Not really.
  • Anything else to say: Not really.



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