Comedy Oddities: The Creature Wasn’t Nice (aka Naked Space)

the creature wasnt nice indexDirector Bruce Kimmel was responsible for The First Nudie Musical, a film filled with singing and dancing and a tiny amount of soft porn that’s surprisingly enjoyable fare, a parody of the film world which enjoys being rather silly indeed, and seven years after that he made another movie spoof with a couple of musical moments. This time it’s an Alien parody, and one with a great cast that includes Leslie Nielsen, Cindy Williams, Patrick Macnee, and Kimmel himself flying about on a ship in the deepest recesses of space.

Set in the far, far future of, er, 2012, early on Patrick Macnee’s Doctor Stark discovers a planet and so decides to explore it immediately. After a brief explanation the computer tells us that the planet is now deserted, though it wasn’t always, and so there’s footage from lots of b-movies like Godzilla with hilariously rubbish monsters. Captain Jamieson (Leslie Nielsen) then leads a crew to explore the planet and it’s here that they discover a weird bit of what looks like jelly, which is apparently an organic life form.

The following twenty minutes is largely plot free and mostly a selection of daft sketches, including almost ten minutes of the ship’s talent show which sees Leslie Nielsen giving a dramatic reading from the ships log, and “Cooking with John”, where John (Bruce Kimmel) makes a turkey and shows us how to insert stuffing in to “the anal area of your turkey structure” before cooking it for five seconds because Kimmel predicted the future perfectly. There’s also a few minutes of Annie (Cindy Williams) watching Earth News, which contains an amusingly vapid weather report, a story about the world’s first body transplant with more b-movie footage of a monster who moans “The only problem is that I need to take a leak and I don’t know where my peepee is”, while there’s also some footage of War of the Worlds mixed with a b-movie where a giant gorilla attacks a skyscraper, all of which is absolutely pointless but mostly still funny.

Around the half hour mark the plot kicks off again as Dr Stark tells Annie that the alien organism is growing, before the gang head off to movie night, and a trailer for a Dirty Harry movie where the actor playing Clint Eastwood is in his eighties and hitting people with his walking stick, with the trailer ending with one of the funniest lines of the movie as it declares “This picture is rated morally objectionable for everyone”. Once again there’s absolutely no point to such scenes, but I’m not complaining when they’re this funny.

Oddly enough it becomes less funny when it’s more plot-centric, slowing down a bit in the middle as they wonder around the ship looking for the creature and arguing about who should lure it out in to the open. But it picks up once they capture him as they plug the monster in to the computer to translate the noises it makes, which it turns out is a delightful lounge number where the monster sings “I want to eat your face, it could just be so yummy, I’d like to have your face, in my tummy”, with it being a song Dr Stark is absolutely delighted by, and I was too, especially when the alien does a fairly long but amusing dance.

Alas it leads Dr Stark in to believing that the creature means no harm, and even when it tears his arms off he declares “It’s playing, he’s joking” because silliness is without doubt the order of the day. Then the finale involves yet more dashing about, a few more murders, and another dance sequence, though this time it’s by the two surviving cast members and is all part of a rather inspired way to kill off the creature.

It’s definitely a bit of an oddball movie, with Kimmel not really caring for a straight narrative and happy to throw in a good number of scenes that are ludicrous and funny but definitely inconsequential, and it doesn’t exploit Nielsen’s amazing comic talents as much as it should have, though he is great in it, playing it very straight as the ship’s captain. Macnee is a little wasted too, and though this isn’t the film’s fault I thought I was getting a musical as imdb describes it as one, which isn’t really true as there’s only three songs.

It does have plenty of strengths fortunately, and the dialogue is often weirdly funny – for instance Annie turns down Rodzinski’s flirtation with the line “If I were being attacked by a pack of wild Certonian Bush Pigs and you possessed the only bush pig blaster in the universe I would not want your company”, and Rodzinski (Gerrit Graham) is a sarcastic type in general, though occasionally slightly grating in his sexist ramblings.

The physical comedy is strong as well, the creature is a gloriously rubbish bit of red rubber with a big yellow eye at the top of his head and I only wish he’d turned up earlier as he’s such a ridiculously silly creation, but one which elicits a lot of laughs. Yes, it has dated slightly and occasionally you might wince at the odd gag, but most of the time this is a film that’s never afraid to be extremely daft, and it’s largely all the better for it.

★★★1/4

Alex Finch.
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