Spaced Out (film)

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Spaced Out
"Spaced Out" (1979).jpg
US theatrical poster
Directed by Norman J. Warren
Produced by David Speechley
Screenplay by Andrew Payne
Bob Saget
Story by David Speechley
Starring Glory Annen
Barry Stokes
Ava Cadell
Music by Emil Dean Zoughby
Cinematography John Metcalfe
Peter Sinclair
Edited by Jim Elderton
Production
company
362 Pictures
Distributed by Miracle Films
Miramax (US)[1]
Release date
August 1979[1]
Running time
77 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Spaced Out (also known as Outer Touch[1] and Outer Spaced) is a 1979 British science fiction sex comedy film starring Glory Annen, Barry Stokes and Ava Cadell and directed by Norman J. Warren.[2][3]

Plot[edit]

The crew of a malfunctioning alien cargo ship make an emergency landing on Earth. This draws the attention of four sexually-frustrated humans in a nearby park: Oliver and Prudence (a mild-mannered professional and his highly-strung fiancée), Willy (a bumbling shop assistant) and Cliff (a middle-aged man).

Oliver, Prudence, Willy and Cliff wander into the ship and encounter three aliens resembling human women: engineer Partha, nurse Cosia and the captain, known only as Skipper. Willy inadvertently drops some pornographic magazines that he has recently bought. The aliens mistake some approaching cows for a hostile force and hurriedly take off, despite warnings from the long-suffering computer about the precarious state of the ship's systems. Resuming their original course, they study their guests in detail. Fascinated by the anatomy of the males, they decide to sell them to a zoo for exotic lifeforms on a distant planet. They also debate the significance of the acts depicted in Willy's magazines. Partha is particularly keen to emulate them and enthusiastically has sex with Cliff.

Skipper, Cosia and Partha subject the males to a series of tests to learn more about their abilities. Oliver and Cliff fail miserably. However, Willy, looking for his magazines, beats Skipper's combat simulation by unknowingly evading her attacks, causing her to collapse with exhaustion and infer that he is a stronger being. While conducting a physical examination on Willy, Cosia discovers that his biology is more advanced than anything known to their species; encouraging Cosia with exaggerated claims about his sexual prowess, Willy loses his virginity to her. Later, he passes an intelligence test by a fluke and has sex with Partha.

In the ship's recreation area, Oliver seeks relationship advice from an artificial intelligence residing in an object resembling a Wurlitzer jukebox. At the Wurlitzer's suggestion, he adopts a "caveman" approach to seducing Prudence. Shocked by her fiancé's behaviour, Prudence moves to a luxurious bedroom, where she immediately relaxes and willingly has sex with him.

Awed by Willy's assumed physical and intellectual superiority, the aliens invite him to remain on board with them and propose to return the other humans to Earth. Willy is initially hesitant to leave his planet behind but relents when Skipper, wanting to confirm Cosia and Partha's findings for herself, allows him to seduce her. The ship touches down safely and Oliver, Prudence and Cliff depart. However, the subsequent launch causes a fatal overload and the ship explodes, killing Willy and the three aliens. The disembodied voices of the computer and the Wurlitzer are left stranded in space.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Following the release of Loving Feeling in 1969, director Norman J. Warren had moved away from sex comedies, proceeding to direct the horror films Satan's Slave, Prey and Terror in the 1970s. Spaced Out was inspired by Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977): the original script, presented to Warren by producer David Speechley, was titled S.E.C.K. (Sexual Encounters of the Close Kind). Warren, who found the script "funny, but very corny", agreed to direct the film on the condition that he be allowed to revise the story. He describes Spaced Out as a cross between a Carry On film and the 1956 film Fire Maidens from Outer Space.[1]

Shooting commenced on 22 January 1979 and ran for four weeks. Studio filming was conducted at Twickenham Studios and Bray Studios while the film's outdoor opening was shot on location in Marble Hill Park, Twickenham.[1]

The section of spaceship that appears in the park scenes was created using scaffolding covered with plastic sheets. The lighting of these scenes was intended to pastiche Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The special effects shots of the ship in flight were recycled from the TV series Space: 1999. Due to the variety of shots used the appearance of the ship changes over the course of the film.[1]

According to Warren, Barry Stokes, whom he had previously directed in Prey (1977), based his performance as Oliver partly on Christopher Reeve's portrayal of Clark Kent in Superman (1978).[1]

Release[edit]

The film was originally released in the UK as Outer Touch (a play on the expression "out of touch"). It was distributed in the United States as Spaced Out by the newly-founded Miramax, which re-edited the film to include new voice-overs and music and gave it an upbeat ending. Warren, who was not consulted on the new cut, says that the only alteration that he "really liked" was the new title, as he had believed "Outer Touch" to be "quite negative-sounding".[1]

Critical response[edit]

TV Guide calls the film "amateurish".[4] Radio Times gives a rating of one star out of five.[5] Review website DVD Drive-In states: "just be thankful that this ends well before the 80-minute mark, and that (Norman J.) Warren went back to the horror genre."[6] However, according to The New York Times, "the rock music – by an assortment of bands led by the Chance – is agreeable, the sex flippant and the dialogue, by Bob Saget, Jeff de Hart and Andrew Payne, fairly funny."[7]

Home media[edit]

The film was unavailable in any home video format until the original UK cut (with the American title "Spaced Out") was released on DVD by Odeon Entertainment in 2008. Prior to the DVD release the film had never been shown on British television.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Sheridan, Simon (2008). "Spaced Out and Sex Clinic" DVD booklet notes (Media notes). Odeon Entertainment/Euro London Films Ltd. ODNF133. 
  2. ^ Jennifer Dunning (1981-12-12). "Spaced Out, a Comedy". Archived from the original on 1 July 2017. Retrieved 2012-01-30. 
  3. ^ "Outer Touch". BFI. Archived from the original on 20 September 2015. 
  4. ^ "Spaced Out". TV Guide. Archived from the original on 23 February 2017. Retrieved 17 October 2014. 
  5. ^ "Spaced Out – Review". radiotimes.com. Immediate Media Company. Archived from the original on 7 August 2017. Retrieved 29 November 2017. 
  6. ^ "Spaced Out (Outer Touch)". DVD Drive-in. Archived from the original on 29 June 2017. Retrieved 17 October 2014. 
  7. ^ Dunning, Jennifer (December 12, 1981). "'SPACED OUT,' A COMEDY". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 23 February 2017. 

External links[edit]