Thursday, October 13, 2011

Honourable Mention: The Humanoid

1979 and a crime was committed as director Aldo Lado* shamelessly ripped off Star Wars in the style and aesthetics of his space ‘epic’ the Humanoid. That said it was not nearly as big a crime as George Lucas would commit in an act of devastation (called the three prequel films and, before that, ewoks) that could only be likened to extreme artistic self-harm. *Aldo Lado is listed as the director on IMDb and co-wrote the script, however the film actually lists George B. Lewis as director. Lewis was a pseudonym Lado used but in terms of this film might the pseudonym seem to shadow the name of the other George?

Ivan Rassimov as Lord Graal
So we get an epic which includes a Darth Vader rip off in the form of bad guy Lord Graal (Ivan Rassimov) , escaped from the prison his brother (Massimo Serato) placed him in. His brother happens to be the Great Brother – ruler of the galaxy or such like – seated in Metropolis, which was once called Earth. Vader, I mean Graal, flies his stolen prison ship – which looks suspiciously like a star destroyer – packed with stormtrooper like men (in black rather than white) and aims to take the power for himself.

Barbara Bach as Lady Agatha
To this end he has enlisted the help of evil Doctor Kraspin (Arthur Kennedy). Kraspin had been experimenting with an element called kapitron until he had been discovered by his assistant Barbara Gibson (Corinne Cléry). She had turned him in as kapitron mutates human cells. He was arrested and for some reason the kapitron was put in storage!!! He has been rescued by the Lady Agatha (Barbara Bach) and has sworn vengeance against Barbara.

Richard Kiel as Golob
So it is that Barbara is drawn into this struggle for galactic control, along with Tom Tom (Marco Yeh) – less a car navigation system and more a young kid with freaky powers – who seems to have come through time, from ancient Tibet, to help! Also drawn into it is Golob (Richard Kiel, Hysterical) a gentle giant who is changed, via a kapitron explosion, into the humanoid of the title. Indestructible, violent and controlled by Kraspin.

rapid decomposition
So, vampire? That would be the Lady Agatha. Kraspin keeps her young by taking women, draining them of their fluids and making a serum. The serum gives one more day of youth – so we are talking a space aged Báthory especially as draining the fluids actually seems to be draining the blood. Interestingly, when the effects wear off, if the serum isn’t replenished, the user doesn’t just age but actually decomposes to skeletal form.

look a landspeeder
So, it is for this Báthory-esque aspect that the film gets a mention, but with landspeeders over desert ground, Lord Graal's laser fingers (rather than having a full on light saber, his fingers glow) and a (‘comedy’) robot dog that beeps and whistles there is a whole lot of Star Wars going on in this.

The imdb page is here.

The Humanoid (VHS) (1979) on Amazon uk


Chris Regan said...

I need to see this film! It sounds terrible, in the best possible way.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Chris, believe me it is fascinating in almost every bad way imaginable ;)

OllieMugwump said...

Originally Lady Agatha's death scene was intended to be more elaborate, but the problem was Barbara Bach was just too gorgeous even in her 'hag' make-up! So Antonio Margheriti improved the rapid dissolution we see in the final cut.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Hi Ollie, great to hear from you and a fascinating snippet too :)