Liquid Sky is slang for heroin you inject apparently and sets the scene for this sci-fi bender from 1982. Essentially it's about a tiny alien spacecraft that lands on the New York roof of a female drug dealer (Paula E, Sheppard) and her model girlfriend Margaret played by Anne Carlisle who also co-wrote. The alien wants the endorphins produced by the brain during chemical highs - rather like the plot of Dolph Lundgren's Dark Angel (1990). It then finds that pheromones produced by orgasms give a better buzz.
The film largely features po-faced, sexually ambivalent New Romantics shooting up and spouting their dull philosophy. Anyone who makes love to Carlisle, dies with a shard of glass in their heads courtesy of matey on the roof who's never seen (thus saving both money and a fair bit of credulity). The scenes of a sexual nature are sadly flaccid and plenty of F and C words are dispensed with self-conscious venom. Carlisle additionally plays a similar male character (‘Jimmy’) very effectively. There's a sub-plot with a German UFO hunter who watches the unfolding drama with a nymphomaniac (Jimmy’s mother – of course) from her adjacent apartment, but doesn't play a big part other than explain what the business on the roof is all about.
A very colourful film, that at times appears to be filmed on 16mm at a low frame rate. A number of scenes are at a low light level and visually the film is very good. What really irritates though is the dry, jarring synth music. Done on a Fairlight (in a public access studio) using all the presets, it pervades the film but after 45 minutes you sort of switch off to it. The co-writer/director Slava Tsukerman and half the crew are Russian. He's no Tarkovsky and the camera work and effects often make up for a lack of directorial talent. The acting is standard fare here with a few people managing it, but that isn't really important.
Liquid Sky kind of epitomises the archetypal cult film. Little seen. Full of nobodies and their friends. Thin story, pointless scenes that don't make any progress. Arty shots for their own sake and the grating music. There's a constant sense of anticipation for the 'good bits', which is why it disappoints. If it had been sub-pornographic with sparser synth music and half an hour shorter, we would have a real winner. A great film for the cult buff (some people think it's fantastic), but not entirely memorable. I watched it twice with wine and it improved, due to lower expectations. Music by Slava Tsukerman, Brenda Hutchinson and Clive Smith.