From the era of Baywatch comes a monster that morphs into something as sexy as Pammy and more deadly than a coven of witches. Welcome to the world of The Creature From The Black Beyond, except this time it's chemical, created in a test-tube by Ben Kingsley and his whitecoats.

As a girl, it/she escapes, does a yukky cocoon act on a train and re-emerges as a centrefold contender, who takes her top off at every opportunity, while tonguing lounge lizards to death. Despite zero education and a bell jar childhood, she/it manages to mime motelspeak and drive cars.

Kingsley collects a weird team of specialists to track her down, including Alfred Molina who looks baffled, Forest Whitaker who looks daft and Michael Madsen who looks like he did in Reservoir Dogs. They are better than script fodder, but worse than useless. The object of desire, played with svelte perfection by Natasha Henstridge, holds all the surprises.

Director Roger Donaldson can't be bothered to go into galactic miniature at the effects lab - this is pre-CGI, remember. He stays in Los Angeles and ends up down the sewers as a tribute to James Cameron and Aliens. The plot has no tolerance for logic and the dialogue is of the "She's frustrated." "Who isn't?" variety.

During this period in his thespian journey, before being elevated to the ermine, Sir Ben was going through his post-Gandhi phase, when, so happy to be in demand, he accepted everything. The roles were flat-packed, so he stopped acting and followed Donald (Halloween) Pleasance's career path, playing well-qualified nutters. His speciality this time is the tummy ache. He doesn't have one; he looks like he has one.

It makes you want to call a doctor.

Reviewed on: 18 Dec 2004
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A test-tube sci-fi girl grows up into a man-eating centrefold nymphomaniac.
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Martin Gray **

Director: Roger Donaldson

Writer: Dennis Feldman

Starring: Natasha Henstridge, Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Alfred Molina, Forest Whitaker, Marge Helgenberger, Michele Williams

Year: 1995

Runtime: 108 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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