On this day in horror history, Roger Donaldson’s sci-fi fright flick Species with Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Alfred Molina, Forest Whitaker, and Marg Helgenberger was unleashed into a theater near you back in 1995.
Starring Natasha Henstridge in her debut role, it features extraterrestrial FX work by H. R. Giger (Alien). The effects combined practical models by Steve Johnson and CGI by Boss Film Studios. Giger felt that the film and the character were too similar to Alien, and pushed for script changes.
Written by Dennis Feldman, the film was originally pitched as a police procedural called The Message. When that failed to attract the studios, Feldman re-wrote it into the movie we have today which spawned a franchise, which includes one theatrical sequel Species II and two direct-to-television sequels Species III and Species: The Awakening. Not to mention a novel by Yvonne Navarro and two Dark Horse comic books.
The movie begins when government scientist Xavier Fitch (Kingsley) intercepts a space transmission containing the genetic sequence for an alien life form, and uses it to produce “Sil” (Henstridge) — a gorgeous alien-human hybrid. As Fitch’s team grows concerned at her rapid rate of growth, Sil wrecks the laboratory and begins a violent quest for a suitable male human to impregnate her. The U.S. government dispatches top assassin Preston Lennox (Madsen) and a team of experts to stop her.
Rated R for sci-fi violence, strong sexuality and some language, the film sports a 43% approval rating over on Rotten Tomatoes with a Critics Consensus that reads: Species shows flashes of the potential to blend exploitation and sci-fi horror in ingenious ways, but is ultimately mainly interested in flashing star Natasha Henstridge’s skin.