evolution of the Species - A Shivers Feature by Anthony Tomlinson
We look at the making of the sequel...

body-building for Species II

The success of MGM’s 1995 movie Species – which took over 60 million dollars at the box-office in the US, and half that again when it was released there on video – meant that a sequel was inevitable. In the original film, Mankind’s message to the stars received as a reply an alien DNA code, with suggestions as to how it could be bonded with human tissue. The result was Sil (Natasha Henstridge), an alien hybrid.

Species II takes place some considerable time after the events in the first movie. A team of astronauts has landed on Mars, and pick up an alien organism with their soil samples. They are then infected by the alien parasite before, as pioneering heroes, they return to Earth. Meanwhile molecular biologist Doctor Laura Baker (Sil's erstwhile mother) has developed another alien embryo, Eve, but this time the creature has not come into contact with any males, and her naturally aggressive behaviour has been suppressed. When the astronauts begin a killing spree, Lennox is recruited to hunt them down, and for that he needs Eve’s help.

The new film is directed by Hungarian-born Peter Medak, whose previous movies include The Krays and Let Him Have It. He also directed a recent adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame for TNT, and was second assistant director on Hammer’s Phantom of the Opera, in 1962. Producing the sequel was the responsibility of Frank Mancuso, Jr, and Executive Producer Dennis Feldman, who were the producers of the original film.

“Mixing Science Fiction with fact allows Horror fans to see some great effects in a more intelligent realm", says Mancuso. "When I was producing the Friday the 13th movies, it was a matter of coming up with 10 great effects for a 90-minute movie. We’d have a couple of three-minute sex scenes, then we’d have to keep the audience awake for the rest of the film. With this kind of movie, you have the imagery and narrative structure, so the audience is having a good time watching it. The cast did a great job – it took the pressure off the effects. If there wasn’t an effect every 1½ minutes, you knew the film wasn’t going to be in the toilet. That’s what separates the contemporary SF/Horror films from the older ones, which were about effects and the effects alone.”

Species pic copyright MGM
For our full coverage of Species 2, see Shivers #57.
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