SPUTNIK: A CREATURE OF THE BLACK GULAG

An authentic throwback, a kind of hybrid homage, SPUTNIK is a little bit Alien, a little bit Forbidden Planet, a little bit Creature from the Black Lagoon.

An anachronistically obtuse title, SPUTNIK is set in the Cold War year of 1983.

Arachnophobiacally implied, what do you do in space when a spider runs across your windscreen?

A Soviet spacecraft crash lands after a seemingly successful space station mission goes awry, leaving the commander as its only survivor.

A renowned Russian nueroscientist, herself a rebel and unorthodox practitioner, is brought in to evaluate the commander’s mental state.

By provocative questioning it becomes clear that something dangerous may have come back to Earth with him, and the psychologist is tasked with determining whether it is parasitic or symbiotic.

She discovers the creature feeds on fear, an adrenal junkie whose fix comes from the human hormone homogeneous with the reaction to horror.

Symbiotic versus parasitic is the underlying analogy of SPUTNIK, a semiotic study of the Soviet system as the cold war and the space race still simmered.

Director Egor Abramenko, with writers, Oleg Malovichko and Andrey Zolotarev have fashioned a damn fine B grade pot boiling creature feature complete with conspiracy and socio-political comment.

Oksana Akinshinais blindingly good as the take no prisoners, take no shit, iconoclast nueroscientist, and Pyotr Fyodorov is the chisel chinned hero of the state cosmonaut incubator of the extraterrestrial decapitator.

Reekingly evil is Fedor Bondarchuk as the manipulative Colonel Semiradov, a politburo hawk intent on weaponising space.

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