Liquid Sky is a 1982 American independent science fiction film directed by Slava Tsukerman and starring Anne Carlisle and Paula E. Sheppard. It debuted at the Montreal Film festival in August 1982 and was well received at several film festivals thereafter. It was produced with a budget of $500,000. It became the most successful independent film of 1983, grossing $1.7 million worldwide.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Slava Tsukerman|
|Edited by||Sharyn L. Ross|
|Box office||$1.7 million|
A New Wave fashion show is to be held in a crowded Manhattan nightclub. Among the models are bisexual, cocaine-addicted Margaret and Jimmy. Jimmy is Margaret's rival and nemesis and also loves cocaine, constantly hassling Margaret's drug-dealer girlfriend Adrian for drugs despite not having any money to pay for them.
A small UFO lands on the roof of the penthouse apartment occupied by Margaret and Adrian. Jimmy accompanies Margaret home before the show, but he's actually trying to find Adrian's drugs. Margaret is being watched by a tiny, shapeless alien from inside the UFO. Margaret and Jimmy return to the club to participate in the show. During preparations both agree to a photo shoot the following night on Margaret's rooftop. They are assured that there will be plenty of cocaine available at the shoot.
Jimmy's mother, Sylvia, a television producer, lives in the building across from Margaret's penthouse. German scientist Johann Hoffman has been secretly observing the aliens from the Empire State Building. Johann needs somewhere to continue his surveillance when the observation deck closes. He seeks help in this from the only person he knows in the United States, college drama teacher Owen, who is on his way to meet a former student. Seeking a vantage point on his own, Johann stumbles into Sylvia's building. Sylvia, who has a free evening, invites him to her apartment for dinner. Across town, Katherine states her objection to the heroin use of her boyfriend, failed writer and addict Paul.
Margaret is seduced by Owen, her former acting professor. Then she is coerced into sex by Adrian's client Paul. Paul had returned to seduce Margaret after walking out on a party held by Katherine when she insisted he pull himself together and help greet her business clients. The people who have sexual relations and reach orgasm with Margaret promptly die, with a crystal protruding from their head. Margaret realizes she can kill people by having sex with them.
From Sylvia's apartment, Johann continues his observation between dinner and dodging Sylvia's attempts to seduce him. Adrian arrives home and helps Margaret hide Owen's body. Later the crew arrives at the apartment for the fashion shoot. During the shoot Margaret is taunted by Jimmy, so she agrees to have sex with him knowing it will kill him. Later, a vengeful Margaret reconnects with a soap opera actor who had raped her the night of the nightclub fashion show.
Johann reveals that the alien is extracting the endorphins produced by the brain when an orgasm occurs. Margaret survives because she never experiences an orgasm. Margaret finally learns of the aliens from Johann, whom she stabs to death, something Sylvia witnesses through a telescope. Seeing the alien craft leaving, Margaret injects herself with heroin to induce a wild autoerotic orgasm to ensure the aliens take her with them. Sylvia and Katherine arrive at the apartment together and reach the penthouse in time to see Margaret vaporized by the aliens.
- Anne Carlisle as Margaret/Jimmy
- Paula E. Sheppard as Adrian
- Susan Doukas as Sylvia
- Otto von Wernherr as Johann Hoffman
- Bob Brady as Owen
- Elaine C. Grove as Katherine
- Stanley Knap as Paul
- Jack Adalist as Vincent
- Lloyd Ziff as Lester
- Harry Lum as Chinese Food Deliveryman
- Roy MacArthur as Jack
- Sara Carlisle as Nellie
- Nina V. Kerova as Designer
- Alan Preston as Photographer
- Christine Hatfull as Hair Stylist
Liquid Sky was produced and directed by Slava Tsukerman, who, prior to making Liquid Sky, had a successful career as a documentary and TV film maker in the USSR and Israel. The screenplay was written by Tsukerman, his wife and ubiquitous co-producer Nina V. Kerova, and Anne Carlisle, who also enacted the film's two leading roles. The director of photography, Yuri Neyman, a Russian émigré, was also the film's special effects expert. Anne Carlisle also wrote a novel based on the film in 1987.
Although the film is loosely centered around early 1980s punk subculture, the film's score uses a series of strident synthesizer music pieces. The music was composed by Slava Tsukerman, Clive Smith and Brenda Hutchinson using the Fairlight CMI. Most of it was original, but included interpretations of Baroque composer Marin Marais's Sonnerie de Ste-Geneviève du Mont-de-Paris, Carl Orff's Trionfo di Afrodite, and Anthony Philip Heinrich's Laurel Waltz. All of these were orchestrated in a series of ominous, dissonant arrangements and nightmarish marches.
- I Come in Peace, a 1990 science fiction film in which an alien extracts endorphins from humans by forcibly overdosing them on artificial heroin.
- Maslin, Janet (July 22, 1983). "'LIQUID SKY,' HIGH FASHION AND A U.F.O." The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
- Trefz, Linda (February 1984). "Photography for Liquid Sky". American Cinematographer. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
- Russo, Vito (July 1984). "Anne Carlisle and Liquid Sky". Moviegoer Magazine. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
- Reynolds, Simon (January 22, 2010). "The 1980s revival that lasted an entire decade". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
- Carlisle, Anne (1987). Liquid Sky: The Novel (1st ed.). New York: Doubleday. ISBN 9780385239301.
- "Liquid Sky (Slipcover)". Vinegar Syndrome. 2017. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
- Rife, Katie (November 22, 2017). "New wave cult classic Liquid Sky lands on Blu-ray with a dazzling new 4k restoration". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
- "Liquid Sky". Vinegar Syndrome. 2018. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
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- "Liquid Sky Blu-ray: Standard Edition". Blu-ray.com. 2018. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
- "Liquid Sky". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. 1983. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
- Ramsay, James (February 18, 2014). "The "Liquid Sky" Sequel Is Coming: A Chat With The Director Of The Best Film About New York". The Awl. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014.
- Genis, Daniel (June 2, 2014). "Punks, UFOs, and Heroin: How 'Liquid Sky' Became a Cult Movie". The Daily Beast.
- Howard, Yetta (2011). "Alien/ating lesbianism: Ugly sex and postpunk feminist dystopia in Liquid Sky". Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory. Taylor & Francis. 21 (1): 41–61. doi:10.1080/0740770X.2011.563036. ISSN 0740-770X.</ref>
- Scherstuhl, Alan (April 10, 2018). "The Downtown New Wave Alien-Sex Extravaganza "Liquid Sky" Looks Better Than Ever". The Village Voice.
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