Just when I think I’ve seen the best the sexploitation world has to offer me and I decide to kiss it goodbye for good, along comes a film like Spermula. Made in 1976 by French painter and filmmaker Charles Matton, the film is a surprisingly artsy erotic movie that is as surreal and eccentric as they come.
“On the far side of the universe where man has never penetrated” (from the movie, not my own joke folks) is the planet Spermula, a planet populated by bodiless female beings that can auto reproduce. As Spermula is being overshadowed by another planet and losing all of its light, the all seeing godlike Big Mother decides to evacuate the planet and take over the Earth. And HOW do the plan on doing this you ask? Why by taking female form and giving blowjobs until all the men are rendered impotent, destroying the human population!
The first place the Spermulites try to take over is a small villa in France, because, of course, “all Frenchmen are naturally lascivious.” Werner (played by Udo Kier) is sent down to decorate the mansion and make sure the Spermulites have colored toilet paper; she is also the butt of a grand Big Mother joke as she is turned into a male with a small dick. The joke infuriates Werner as he/she begins to have urges for the Earthlings and becomes distant from his/her race.
The Spermulites begin their plan for sexual destruction, and rope in a young Mariah Carey looking sexually repressed housekeeper from the local church and the groundskeeper from the mansion who looks a little bit too much like Peter Frampton. They even try to tempt a priest by showing him some erotic art at a dinner party (one piece is entitled Salem’s Ass). After sucking him off in a pool, the girls involved are reprimanded for being too into the act and are punished by having the appearance of a 45 year old (which looks a lot more like 90).
After the local commissioner finds out his wife has been parading around an underground sex club called Ruth (which features a midget, a cheap Marilyn Monroe impersonator, and a crappy Pointer Sister look-alike), he shuts down the place. The Spermulites believe this is their chance to take over the town by throwing a big party. After local young stud Tristan finds himself drained of sperm and wants to kill himself, he finds the secret to regaining his virility. If he fucks a Spermulite, he not only gets his manhood back but also kills the being, and so the aliens eventually die off as they succumb to the pleasures of the flesh.
Now after reading the premise and you think Spermula is going to be just another moronic Cinemax soft-core flick, think again. The imagery in the movie is outstanding; the planet Spermula has architecture that recalls the modernistic sets of German expressionism movies, the camera work is amazingly well shot, and some scenes are so surreal you would swear Jodorowsky secretly made the film. The film is also shot with a very soft filter on the lens, giving it a gorgeous 1970’s European art film appearance.
Now one reason why the film’s premise may seem idiotic is because when the film was dubbed into English, the writers decided to have a little fun with the script and change the dialog, most likely to keep the interest of the grindhouse “raincoat” crowd. The original French script is actually a serious erotic film, similar to the artsy works of Polish filmmaker Walerian Borowczyk. The English version is also cut down to be a Rated R movie, removing around ten minutes of the original and snipping out most of the sexually explicit moments (which in it‘s own way makes it even weirder).
The film is also a bizarre work in writer and director Charles Matton’s catalog. Matton has actually only made five films: one in the 60’s, two in the 70’s and two in the 90’s. The others are all period pieces; the most recent and famous is his 1999 biopic on Rembrandt. Matton is much more famous for his visual art being a renowned sculptor and painter. Not too surprising then that Matton acknowledges all of his other films except this one.
Apparently there has never been an official release of Spermula, which kind of surprising as it would probably gather a sizable cult following. Maybe the distributors just don’t know which version they should release. Well, if you are a fan of truly bizarre films with sex jokes that make absolutely no sense, go for the English dubbed version. But if you know French fluently and want to see a truly bizarre erotic science fiction film, go for it in its original language. Also, listen for the swiped Italian horror soundtrack music! The main theme is Fabio Frizzi’s “Godzilla Demo” (a variation of the Zombi theme), and they also steal music from Goblin’s non soundtrack album Roller and credit the score to some guy named Jose Bartel. Awesome.