Out of the "Liquid Sky" comes a space junkie in a saucer shaped like a Stresstab. Mars needs women, but this little alien -- the size of a shrimp -- needs sex, drugs and, coincidentally, hard rock'n'roll.
This decadent, daring film, filthy and full of hardcore porn and hardcore punks, shows a planet in a decaying orbit. The story, over a synthesized score, has a way of looking at the commonplace and taking it out of context that makes it both frightening and funny at the same time. It's part performance art, part traditional film, splendid and freaky.
At its center is a love goddess, a Marilyn Monroe, a fragile, bleached-blond innocent who's repeatedly raped by the fashion industry and all who surround her. The creature is called Margaret, a debutante from Connecticut whose mother baked apple pies, who's now a lesbian/fashion model/punk rocker living in a Manhattan penthouse with a UFO on her patio. In a speech near the end of this photogenic, four-letter-word film, she tells us how she came here:
"I was taught my prince would come and he would be a lawyer . . . And we would have barbecues . . . And people would say 'delicious, delicious.' " And when she rejected that dream, she came to New York to find another prince, an agent. She was taught to be fashionable. "And to be fashionable was to be androgynous . . . and I am no less androgynous than David Bowie himself," she says.
Margaret is played by Anne Carlisle, a Larocka model and one of the film's three writers. Carlisle also convincingly plays Jimmy, a homosexual male model who reviles her, slaps her silly and forces her to sodomize him for a fashion shoot. Jimmy acts like he has a lobotomy: His voice is monotone; he's hideous; he persecutes her, as she persecutes herself. "Tootsie" it's not.
It's a sadomasochistic world, just right for the aliens who get off when people get off, which Margaret does regularly in bizarre ways. Whenever she has sex (she prefers to be forced), the alien ejaculates a plastic arrow into her partner, who is vaporized. People are always coming and going. One -- a butch little number named Adrian, a drug dealer, played by the sweetfaced, foul- mouthed Paula E. Sheppard -- deserves special mention for her nasty exuberance.
As with fun '50s sci-fi classics, there's a single individual who tries to warn the world of the invasion. In this case, it's a German astrophysicist (Otto Von Wernherr) who believes the beings feed on a brain chemical released during orgasm or a heroin high. He spends much of the film trying to convince the world of the threat. Mostly he walks up to people and says, "Hello. You are in grave danger. I'm a scientist and there's an alien on the roof." Mostly, it doesn't convince people.
"Liquid Sky" is about alienation: It's directed by a recent Russian emigre, Slava Tsukerman, who cowrote with his wife, Nina Kerova. The cinematographer and the production designer are also Russian -- strangers in a strange land with perfect command of this offbeat vernacular.
They've created a blacker-than-black cult comedy, mixing Weimar and Kabuki and their own kind of unforgettable imagery.
But once more, please remember that this film is a shocker. Besides sodomy, there's oral sex and necrophilia. It's a film that means to abuse and insult. Still, if you can get past the adolescent anger, the S&M (really beefed-up, high-heel rock video), the brutality and the bad language, you'll get a kick out of "Liquid Sky," with its Big Bang theory of the cosmos.
LIQUID SKY -- At the Inner Circle.