Mar 31, 2018

Liquid Sky (1982)


I remember renting this back in the late 1980s thinking this was super cool; a dark slice of the post-punk vibe, featuring a neon drenched NYC landscape and fashionably detached druggies.



Aliens have arrived on earth in ships "the size of hats" looking for heroine.  Beyond that, I'm not going to be able to provide much explanation to this plot.  This film exists to project a vibe, not convey a story in a traditional manner.

The main character is Margaret (Anne Carlisle), a detached, drugged-out, bi-sexual nympho.

I was amazed to see how "normal" Anne Carlisle appears in her other roles.  It's hard to believe this is the same actress.

Margaret dances around her neon-saturated apartment where every square inch is decorated to the absolute hippest extent imaginable (by early eighties standards).

When the aliens view things, it's like Predator - a colorful, but lame heat-vision effect.

Anne Carlisle as Margaret

Anne Carlisle plays dual roles in the film; also appearing as Jimmy - another fashionably coked-out, detached, NYC nightcrawler.

Her friend (if you can even really have "friends" in this kind of world) is the spoken-word performance artist, Adrian (Paula E. Sheppard).

Interestingly enough, Paula E. Sheppard was Alice in Alice, Sweet Alice (1976).  Strangely, these are her only two roles.  What's the backstory here I wonder.

A look at the crowd as Adrian performs.

There's a side story about a heroine addicted writer which I'm not going to even bother with.  It's boring and pointless, yet features throughout the film.

Margret shares her uber-cool apartment with a drug dealer who looks and dresses like Andrew McCarthy in Weekend at Bernie's.

They guy tries to force Margaret to take some drugs (Quaaludes).

As she struggles to resist, her skirt is pulled up, revealing no panties.

Yeah, I'm just curious (and pervy) enough to demand another look.  Her legs are painted (like her face), but she's definitely not wearing panties.

It's a brutal scene (the guy eventually rapes her); but the upside is we get an upskirt with no panties provided by Anne Carlisle.  There's always a silver lining, folks.

Adrian tells a guy that "Margaret is an uptight WASP cunt from Connecticut."  Paula E. Sheppard plays her character with such an odd intensity that you just can't look away.

Margaret meets with her old college professor, Owen.  He's disturbed at what type of character she's become.  They have a deep conversation, highlighting the generation gap between the Boomer past his prime and the post-punk Gen X.

Owen: All your costumes are just participation in some kind of phoney theater. I'm only telling you this for your own good. It's a freak show.
Margaret: Oh, are you trying to say that your blue jeans weren't theater?
Owen: It's not the same thing.
Margaret: So your professor wore a three-piece suit and blamed you for your jeans. And your jeans were "too much." And he didn't understand that his suit was also a costume. You thought your jeans stood for love, freedom and sexual equality; we at least know that we're in costume.
The two have sex... but there's something sticking out of Owen's head.  It's a crystal spike.

Adrian and Margaret wrap Owen's body in aluminum foil and put him in a cardboard box.

The next several guys Margaret screws all end up with the same fate.  She starts to understand it has something to do with the aliens... they've moved on from heroine, and are now getting their kicks from some chemical produced during sex.

There's a scene where Adrian looks through Margaret old photographs (condescendingly, of course)... and you can see these are actually of Anne Carlisle.  I'm amazed the actress allowed a dozen of her old photos to be put up on the screen so clearly.

Margaret has sex with Jimmy and he dies (or rather just disintegrates).  So, Adrian decides to tempt fate and scissor-f**k Margret and see what happens.

Margret looks up and sees that Adrian has been "zapped" as well.  Then a bunch of crazy shit happens that make precious little sense.  THE END


I don't know folks.  There's something wrong when the best, most interesting part of a film is the upskirt.  I can appreciate the Russian director's sense of style, and the sense of place (post-punk NYC) is pretty unique... but this just isn't my cup of tea.

When I watched it back in 1988, it had a distinctly eighties vibe that just oozed coolness.  Now, these detached, nihilistic characters just seem lame; like a bunch of people that could really use some sunlight and cold beer in their lives.  I mean, eighties music wasn't just Gary Newman and minimalist synth, it was also Adam Ant and the B-52's if you get my drift.

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