Wild, Wild Planet [I criminali della galassia] (1966)

The big mystery about this Spaghetti SF epic is how a film so uncompromisingly bizarre could come so close to being boring.

I mean, we have cat-eyed four-armed assassins, beautiful women who explode when you “shoot the things on their chests”, people shrunken to Barbie size and carried around in suitcases and some sort of butterfly-suit ballet performance that’s supposed to be future entertainment.

Throw in a mad scientist, a giant lake of red goo, some Chesley Bonestell ripoff spaceships and wild 60s psychedelic art direction so we always have something to look at, and then threaten the hero’s girlfriend with what can truly be called a fate worse than death.  I mean, how many villains lust after a “perfect woman” just so he can cut her – and himself! – in half and fuse the two into one being?

Italian Sci Fi just doesn’t get any stranger than this.  Heck, science fiction doesn’t come any stranger.

Antonio Margheriti followed it with three other “Gamma One” movies using the same sets and props, but none of the others are quite as uncompromisingly weird as this one (although the final scenes of War Between the Planets, set on a living planet, are a nice try).  On the whole, Wild, Wild Planet is an incredible guilty pleasure, particularly for those of us who enjoy the pulpy cinematic weirdness of Italian SF.

But you might have to lock yourself in your room – or hide your identity beneath a paper bag mask – if you don’t want to admit to the rest of the world that you enjoy this sort of superior nonsense.

But don’t worry.  We won’t tell anyone.

(film available here)

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