Theatrical Release Poster
|Directed by||Peter Medak|
|Produced by||Dennis Feldman
Frank Mancuso Jr.
|Written by||Chris Brancato|
|Based on||Characters Created by
|Music by||Edward Shearmur|
|Cinematography||Matthew F. Leonetti|
|Edited by||Richard Nord|
|Box office||$46.5 million |
Species II (also known as Species II: Offspring and Species II: Origins) is a 1998 American science fiction horror thriller film, sequel to the 1995 film Species. The film was directed by Peter Medak and starring Natasha Henstridge, Michael Madsen and Marg Helgenberger, all of whom reprise their roles from the first film. The plot has Patrick Ross, (Justin Lazard) the astronaut son of a senator (James Cromwell), being infected by an extraterrestrial virus during a mission to Mars and causing the deaths of many women upon his return. To stop him, the scientists who created the human-extraterrestrial hybrid Sil in the original Species try using a more docile clone of hers, Eve (Henstridge). The film was followed by Species III (2004).
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Under military supervision, headed by Col. Carter Burgess Jr., a team of scientists, led by Dr. Laura Baker, have created a clone of Sil named Eve, keeping half her alien DNA dormant to make her docile; they experiment daily to find a way to combat the aliens if they attack Earth, but all methods prove to be one shots as Eve's biology adapts. Only female staff are allowed around Eve to prevent any mating instincts from emerging.
An American space mission lands on Mars; Patrick Ross, the mission commander, collects soil samples. However, a substance in the sample thaws out on the ship, proceeding to infect the astronauts, causing a 7-minute gap in radio contact between Earth. Nonetheless, the mission is still considered a success and the crew safely returns to Earth. Only Dr. Cromwell, an institutionalized former scientist, reacts violently to their return. Upon return, Ross, as well as Dennis Gamble and Anne Sampas, are examined by the space agency doctor, Orinsky, and quarantined to prevent them from engaging in sexual activity for ten days.
Despite the quarantine, Patrick, when attending a fundraiser honouring the astronauts, quickly disregards this advice and makes out with a woman in a lounge; his fiancee Melissa is none the wiser. She invites him to her room after his speech, for sex. He visits her room, finding her and her sister waiting; the sisters share with each other. Patrick has sex with both women, within minutes each woman undergoes an accelerated pregnancy, with their stomachs exploding to release his half-alien offspring, killing both sisters. Meanwhile, an isolated Eve, undergoing tests in the lab, shows signs of great, physiological excitement every time Patrick has sex with women.
Patrick hides the women's corpses and his two rapidly growing children (his first-born and second-born son) in a remote shed on family property. The next day, he tries to confide his concerns about his lost memories (due to the alien DNA taking over) to his father, the ruthless and ambitious Senator Judson Ross, but Judson rebuffs him, revealing that he knows about Patrick's ignoring of the quarantine procedure and advising him to keep his mind on his goals, as he believes his son will one day be President. Later, at the space center, Dr. Orinsky discovers something amiss about Patrick's blood sample, leading him to try to contact Cromwell. However, Patrick (once again under the control of the alien DNA) sneaks into the lab in alien form and disembowels Orinsky to hide the discovery, retrieving the blood sample. Laura discovers alien DNA similar to Eve's in Orinsky's corpse; if Eve were to mate with a male infected by this, the resulting offspring would be much stronger as a result of being a purer strain. Burgess reunites Laura with Press Lennox, who founded a private security firm after the first film, to contain the new threat. Press and Laura contact Cromwell, Orinsky's former professor, who tells them that he warned the government against going to Mars due to his discovery that an alien species had once colonized the planet when it had been more like Earth in the past; he feared that any remaining alien DNA might infect any humans that landed there, but he was silenced.
Press and Laura report their findings to Burgess and tell him that Patrick, Anne and Dennis are the likely candidates. They attempt to find Patrick first, but he is nowhere to be found, so they go after Anne Sampas, who was also infected with alien DNA during the return trip home. Unfortunately, by the time they are able to locate her, she has already had unprotected sex with her husband and has become impregnated with human/alien offspring, which emerges from her womb shortly after. Press and Laura manage to kill the newborn creature, but not before it kills both Anne and her husband.
Government agents are able to locate Dennis Gamble and analyze his blood, revealing that he was not infected and is allowed to go home, though he is asked if he knows where to find Patrick. He answers that he doesn't know where Patrick is, but is asked to inform them of where he is or where he might be found should he ever see him. Dennis decides to go find Patrick to find out what is going on. Laura discovers that Anne's DNA does not match that in Orinsky's wounds, leaving Patrick as the only remaining suspect-now-culprit.
Despite his attempts to ward off his fiancée, Patrick awakes to the next day to find that her body is mutilated and another human/alien son, was born to him through her. Horrified, he washes up, dresses in his military uniform, and shoots himself in the head with a rifle. However, as Patrick is infected with the alien DNA, his head regenerates, restoring him; unfortunately, the alien DNA is now in full control. As Dennis, who arrives moments before the suicide attempt, witnesses this, he becomes scared and runs off to tell Press and Laura; he then joins Press and Laura in their mission. Patrick, with the alien half in control, begins to impregnate as many women as he can (mostly prostitutes and strippers), killing them in the process, and burying them next to his shed where he accumulates a large, virulent brood of alien children of various ages, both male and female.
At the lab, the scientists, unable to locate Patrick on their own, activate Eve's dormant alien DNA in order to telepathically track Patrick, but this results in making her more alien than human, increasing her strength, anger and mating drive. After being found at a grocery store by Press and Dennis, Patrick becomes aware of Eve and, in order to get closer to her, gives himself up to Press and Dennis; this occurs after almost raping a woman he meets in the store. As they return to the lab, Eve shows signs of being in heat and libido towards Patrick. Patrick tries to enter her isolation cell, but is chased off by Laura, Dennis and Press.
Burgess confronts Senator Ross with indisputable evidence of Patrick's infection and demands that he help bring Patrick in. Suspicious that the military will kill Patrick instead, Ross deduces he is at the shed, which is on property listed in Patrick's late mother's maiden name. When Ross apologizes to his son for treating him so coldly and tells him they will seek treatment for Patrick's infection together, Patrick's human side returns and he tearfully embraces his father. However, the alien side violently reasserts itself, killing Ross. Completely broken to his alien instincts, Patrick helps his hybrid children to cocoon, awaiting their rebirth as adults so that they can mate with humans, hoping to eventually destroy mankind.
Meanwhile, Laura finds out that Dennis had resisted infection from the alien DNA due to his carrying a genetic flaw, and makes plans to infect the alien species with Dennis' DNA, as the species lacks immunity to human genetic diseases. As the team prepares, Eve breaks free from the lab to find Patrick. The team tails her, finds the shed and kills Patrick's brood. Eve and Patrick finally encounter each other, undress and amorously perform a mating ritual in which they quickly transform into their alien forms, but are interrupted by Press, who tries to get Eve to get away from Patrick. Patrick fights off Press and Dennis and later overpowers Eve (who had attacked him at Laura's request after she begged her, appealing to her human half). He then, seemingly, kills her by forcing his penis down her throat, choking her to death. Press stabs Patrick in the back with a pitchfork coated with Dennis' blood, causing Patrick to die and disintegrate.
The military finally arrives and escorts Press, Laura and the injured Dennis away. Eve's lifeless body is loaded into the back of an ambulance. As the vehicle departs, a cat lands on Eve which coincides with when her womb begins to swell rapidly, indicating an imminent birth after being impregnated by Patrick, as one of Patrick's children, who hadn't yet cocooned, looks on. The last thing heard is Eve's screaming.
Writer Chris Brancato was working with MGM on The Outer Limits, and knew the studio was interested in making a follow-up to Species. He pitched an idea to executive Greg Foster where this time two hybrid alien women would strike. Foster liked it, but once Brancato went to Species producer Frank Mancuso Jr., he asked to "approach this from a different angle, so that we don't have a tired retread of the original, as sequels often are." So Brancato took inspiration from The Manchurian Candidate, where "somebody on a mission comes back, apparently a hero, but actually with some terrible demon inside", and as "the notion of a grand, unexplored place was the planet Mars", he made the first astronaut on Mars – as according to NASA scientists consulted by Brancato, human exploration of Mars was "a possibility— just a very expensive one." - be infected by alien DNA. Mancuso approved the idea, and thus Brancato explored how this new villain was one "for whom we can briefly feel a strange, Wolf Man-like sympathy — he's not responsible for having been turned into a monster" and had him face an alien woman similar to Sil, raising the doubt on whether they would battle or mate. As Natasha Henstridge was unconfirmed to return, Brancato wrote the new female, Eve, as if it was "either Natasha or a similarly beautiful woman." Henstridge still liked the script enough to sign for the sequel. Brancato decided to bring back two of the surviving characters from Species, Michael Madsen's Press Lennox and Marg Helgenberger's Dr. Laura Baker feeling they "were essential to bring the audience back in", but knowing Forest Whitaker was probably too busy to return as Dan Smithson, he wrote a similar African American character in the one eventually portrayed by Mykelti Williamson. MGM had another script done simultaneously to Brancato's, which reportedly explored the cliffhanger at end of Species where rats were infected after eating Sil's remains. Mancuso brought in to direct Peter Medak, responsible for the 1980 horror film The Changeling.
The nature of the alien species is explored to a slightly greater extent in the second film. A professor claims that they originated in the Large Magellanic Cloud (also called the Magellanic Galaxy), due to it apparently being the only other place carbon-based life forms have been discovered. It is also stipulated that they were a "cancerous" race that visited Mars millions of years ago and annihilated all life on its surface, (which is described in the film as being Earth-like at that time) before leaving a remnant of their own DNA in its soil. This DNA was intended to be picked up by other visitors so that their species could continue to infect other inhabited planets. The Species basically appear to be bipedal (humanoid) forms. Unlike other aliens in the Species series, however, Patrick has two types of alien forms, and Patrick's alien form for combat (so-called 'Fighting Patrick') is quadrupedal (as opposed to bipedal, like Patrick's form for copulation and Eve's form), bigger, and more 'brutish' in appearance than Eve. His second stage appearance is also similar to the xenomorphs of the Alien films; both were designed with input from H. R. Giger.
On April 10, 1998 in 2510 theatres, the film finished at $7.2 million, ranking number four on its opening weekend. Domestically, the film grossed only $19.6 million from its $35 million budget and $26,817,565 overseas, making the film a box office flop.
The film received notably worse reviews than its predecessor, currently holding a 9% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 30 reviews (3 positive, 27 negative). Dwayne E. Leslie from Box Office Magazine gave the film 1 out of 5 stars calling it "a sequel that doesn't measure up", also heavily criticizing the film's predictable and open ending. Joe Leydon from Variety magazine called the film "a half-baked rehash". He praised the special effects and technical aspects of the film but added "that's not nearly enough to camouflage the inherent crumminess." James Berardinelli described the film as awful but added "there's enough blood, gore, simulated sex, and bare flesh to prevent it from ever becoming boring".
In a 2004 interview, co-star Michael Madsen expressed his opinion on this film saying "Species II was a crock of shit. There are a number I'm not very proud of. The movie studios can't mind that much, as they haven't contacted me to tell me off about it. I'm honest – if I've made a bad movie, I want my fans to know what they're letting themselves in for."
In the DVD commentary director Peter Medak highly praised the films' special effects. He expressed his opinion that audiences had too much expectation as this was a very different sequel due to not continuing from the story with the alien-infected rat that survived the finale, which hinted at a sequel in the 1995 original. Medak also admitted being uncomfortable with the amount of nudity in the film but said it was for the purpose of the story.
To coincide with the movie, McFarlane Toys released an Eve and Patrick (in their alien form) action figure as part of their inaugural series of Movie Maniacs action figures. Both action figures came with a replica of the film's poster with skulls and bones base. Eve came with an alternate head. Two Eve action figures were produced which was dubbed the PG and R rated version. The R rated Eve action figure (in her alien form) had nipples on her breasts while the PG figure didn't. The R rated figure was released only in comic book and other collectable stores while the PG figure was released in toy stores. Another thing noticeable about the figures was their facial expressions.
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As with the first film, Yvonne Navarro wrote a novelization based on the original screenplay which gives plot and character details not seen in the film. For example, the book tells how, due to limited knowledge of the outside world, Eve does not know if Superman is a real life personality or not. It is also hinted that she was able to learn a degree of martial arts by watching old action movies.
In the film, Eve is shot by soldiers, but after being briefly incapacitated her body regenerates and she continues to escape. Soldiers continue to shoot at her, but Eve manages to run past them; why she is unharmed is left unexplained. The book explains that her skin adapts (in a way similar to how her body adapts to the gas test earlier in the film), becoming bulletproof.
Other details in the book that do not appear in the film include an earlier escape attempt by Eve and Patrick discovering new senses in a restaurant with his fiancé. In the novel, the debutante is a young, sexy, brown-eyed blonde, whereas in the film, she is an older woman who is a brunette. The debutante's sister in the novel isn't her sister but her best friend from college that they often engaged in sexual games that involved seducing men.
Other events that occurred in the novel that occurred in the movie happened before or after other events. For example, Patrick does not encounter the debutante at the fundraiser until after Orinsky is killed by him, and Cromwell is not visited by Laura and Press until they discover Orinsky's corpse.
- "Species II (1998)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-10-30.
- Howard Johnson, Kim (June 1998). "The Origin of Species" (PDF). Starlog: 76–80.
- All About Eve, Starlog 251 (June 1998)
- "DESIGNER H.R. GIGER The world's premier monster-maker on his art." (PDF). CINEFANTASTIQUE. 30. May 1998.
- "City of Angels' Takes Wing in Heavenly Opening Weekend". The Los Angeles Times. 13 April 1998. Retrieved 2010-12-29.
- Species II review Boxoffice.com
- Species II review Variety.com
- Species II review Reelviews.net
- Tim Inghman (18 June 2004). "Michael Madsen review". Metro.co.uk. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
- "SPAWN.COM >> TOYS >> MOVIES >> MOVIE MANIACS 1". archive.org. 2 January 2010.
- "Yvonne Navarro: Writer & Illustrator -- Stuff for Sale". yvonnenavarro.com.
- "Species II: The Official Page for the novel by Yvonne Navarro". yvonnenavarro.com.