Decoys, Species, Lifeforce, and Vampire Cheeleaders [Repost]

Decoys, Species, and Lifeforce are about aliens disguised as beautiful, attractive women who use their sex appeal to seduce men into having sex with them for their own gain. In the case of Decoys and Species, they're trying to mate with the human race to save/expand their own. In the case of Lifeforce, they're trying to bring about the galactic rapture. These movies, and a lot of other B-horror flicks, share one crippling, fatal flaw: the aliens aren't the protagonists.

If I learned anything from premium television, anime, comic books, and video games, it's that, in stories like these, the villains are always the most interesting characters, especially if they're superhuman femme fatales. So why not make them the protagonists? In a movie about horny, humanoid, creatures who've weaponized sex against us, do you really expect for me to root for the cockblockers? The boring, cardboard-cutout protagonists I see in every other horror movie?

Anyone who's read Vampire Cheerleaders will agree with me on this one. It's a horror-comedy web comic series (or "Original English-Language Manga", as they'd like for it to be called) that's exactly what it says: a story about undead bloodsuckers who just happen to be a spoiled, bitchy, girl posse. It's slice of life gone bloody wrong; within the first volume our protagonists have "initiated" a naive girl into their ranks, enthralled her family and turned the hero antagonist into their slave. These girls are straight-up villains and, if it were a different story in a different genre, your first instinct would be to root against them (Which is what a lot of the comic's detractors do).

Yet, by the third volume, which introduced heroes that were competent enough to stop them, the fandom found themselves rooting for the vampires, despite the horrible things they've done. It might have more to do with the series' decline in quality (the vampires barely have any panel time in volume three!), but this is what happens when you've created despicable villains who somehow managed to be likable characters and made them the protagonists. Tell me you haven't watched a movie or TV show (*cough*Pokemon*cough*) or played a video game where the villains were more fun to watch than the heroes and you wished the story was about them.

Going back to the gutter with a fresh new suit, the aliens in Decoys are simply trying to protect their race from going extinct. At least one of the aliens didn't mean to leave a trail of frozen corpses, but if she must... Meanwhile, the hero was just a hormone-crazed college student who realized that these girls are not what they seem, and is now jumping over backwards trying to get someone to believe his crazy story. That's the main focus of the movie, as opposed to the female aliens who shoot tentacles out of their breasts! This is the very same problem that ruined Candy Stripers; a sexy horror flick with a lot of gore that, otherwise, has a similar plot.

I will admit that the very limited screen time Lifeforce's space girl gets only makes her character that more alluring, and like any bad adaptation, the movie changed a lot of details from the Colin Wilson novel it's based on. In contrast, Species is really only worth watching for Natasha Henstridge. It's the most repetitive game of tag you will ever see in the genre, and its sequels aren't any better. Of these four tales, I highly recommend the Decoys movies and Vampire Cheerleaders, Volume 1. Decoys and Decoys 2 deliver enough fanservice to balance out their flaws, while Vampire Cheerleaders is funny, delightfully inverted, and cuts straight to the chase.

It's good to enjoy so-called "junk food" for what it is, because if they were made for a mainstream audience, like Lifeforce or Species, they would be nowhere near as good as they are now.

In mainstream crap, if the villains of the Decoys movies or the Bakertown Cheer Squad were the protagonists, the story would be dark, angsty, and melodramatic. It would deal with themes like humanity or morality or some crap. And most damnably, they'd lose in the end. That's what critics like after all. If this sounds like your cup of tea, then I'm sorry to say that I've just spoiled Tokyo Ghoul for you, minus the villain part.

Also, as long as we're pillaging old franchises, is a third Decoys movie really too much to ask?

Comments

Popular Posts