LIQUID SKY (1982)
Article 4626 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Slava Tsukerman
Featuring Anne Carlisle, Paula E. Sheppard, Susan Doukas
What it is: Bizarre independent film
A small flying saucer lands on top of a skyscraper in New York, and infects a female model who is active in the underground post-punk scene. The aliens feed off the orgasms of her sexual partners, who then die.
This movie was put together by a small core group of Russian film-makers in America with a predominantly American cast and crew. It was apparently a sensation in the independent film scene at the time, and it garnered lots of rave reviews as well. I can see why it was a sensation; there was definitely something audacious in its style, it gives what appears to be an authentic glimpse of the underground post-punk scene in New York at the time, and it’s not like anything else I’ve seen. However, the movie has its share of naysayers as well, and the user comments on IMDB give me the impression that quite a few people find this to be one of the worst movies ever made. I can see this as well. For one thing, the musical soundtrack (which mostly consists of arty, pulsing and droning synthesizer music) damn near drove me over the edge, and the music is inescapable during the first twenty minutes of the movie. Furthermore, I find it very hard to get into the lives of people who seem to be defining themselves through drugs, affected decadence, self-conscious overuse of bizarre facial makeup, and hair styles that make me think of mutant peacocks. As a consequence, I was prepared to hate this movie as well, but ultimately I was able to see through this vast array of artifice and see some of the sadness of the human condition showing through. In the end, I can’t say I really liked the film all that much, but I was able to see its appeal and at least gained a respect for it. It’s also one of those movies where the decadence is essential for the story at hand.