Minor quibble. Why do all space movies have to have ships that look like subway tunnels or the garbage and recycling rooms of a condo? Want to see a well-lit white sleek vessel sometime, not the usual soundstage spaceship with grids in the floor and weird vents in the ceiling.
Anyway, in Plaguers (now that is one awful title) a ship is floating through space and its captain who died in mysterious circumstances, is occupying a coffin in a large cargo bay. The vessel is now under the command of the deceased’s fiancé, a hot blonde in cargo pants.
The crew, a bunch of slacker types, get a distress signal from another ship. Under captain’s orders, they dock with it and rescue its occupants who it turns out are all female, Minnesota Viking cheerleader / flight attendant / Barbarella types in silver space boots.
So far so good, right? And some members of our intrepid crew agree (“I’m hallucinating, they can’t be real”) including the ship’s tech guys, one of whom sports a man-bun, the other an authoritative beard. They attempt to spy on the visitors as they sleep as one does with victims of a recent trauma (?).
But one man is impervious to the vixens’ charms, not because he’s gay but because it was a programming oversight. You see “Tarver” is a synthoid — not to be confused with an android — and he’s played by Steve Railsback, star of the excellent action flick The Stuntman, which Pauline Kael called “a virtuoso piece of kinetic moviemaking”. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of Plaguers.
Still, there are some neat bits if you can overlook the inept fight scenes, the occasionally spotty acting and the abandonment of a potentially interesting sub-plot involving the dead former captain.
Anyway, we soon find out these purple beauties are not what they seem. The ladies hijack the ship but soon they and the entire crew have something more sinister to worry about: a green orb alien energy source that the ship picked up and is inexplicably carrying across the galaxy.
Unfortunately for all concerned (“be careful, it could be hot!”) the globule spews goo that turns people into….MUTANTS!
And since this is apparently way into the future, the crew defend themselves with a combination of cool space guns, martial arts and 38 Special 5 inch Rugers.
Railsback is pretty solid as a robot, er, synthoid, sacrificed for the greater good. And Alexis Zibolis, an LA actress and fitness model, is compelling as Captain Holloway as the lone survivors fight off the mutant/zombie/fanged creatures and attempt to abscond via escape pod, which resembles a spray tanning booth.
Good corny fun and the director was apparently inspired by the likes of The Thing and Italian horror (Bava et al, please check out our review of The House by the Cemetery).
*** (out of 5)