“Species” starring Natasha Henstridge holds a place among the best works in the science fiction genre. Talented acting, excellent design, and top shelf special effects all contribute to the success of this enduringly popular film. Although “Species” never captured the popularity of the “Alien” series of films, they are loosely connected by similarities in their creature design. Both films rely on the creative work of artist H. R. Giger for the central monster of the movie. Although it’s never explicitly addressed in either film, for Giger fans there’s an implied relationship between alien invader, Sil, and the “Aliens” hunted by Sigourney Weaver and “Predators”.
H.R. Giger’s Connection to “Species” and “Alien”
Famous Swedish artist, H. R. Giger, designer of the Aliens from the wildly popular “Alien” franchise, designed the creature initially played by Natasha Henstridge. The top notch special effects capture the sexual nuances in Giger’s design, which are a visual motif of the invading aliens mating instinct. His artwork is known for its depiction of sexual visuals embedded in the design of everyday objects. While the “Alien” series captures this aspect of his work in motifs of insect-like reproduction, “Species” is far more human in its expression of his artistic themes.
The Species Series
Great acting gives “Species” additional credibility. Ben Kingsly, Alfred Molina, Michael Madson, Forest Whittaker, and Marg Helgenberger all give solid performances. Natasha Henstridge is beautiful as the alien, and her acting communicates the clever animal instincts of the invading creature.
The film’s popularity inspired a number of sequels trying to capture the same formula for success. “Species II” benefits from the return of several of the original actors. Natasha Henstridge and the other returning actors give the same charged performances, retaining the strength of the first film. The creature design is still based on H. R. Giger’s work, and the special effects are high quality. Again a creative connection between both series is subtly apparent for fans of Giger’s art. He is the father of both creatures.
Other than a brief cameo by Natasha Henstridge, part three has little to offer fans of the original. The producers’ understanding of the series merits is limited to nudity and gruesome deaths. The imaginative work of H. R. Giger, and fine character acting of the first two movies is absent from these later sequels, and they are inferior for it. Despite the lack of intelligent themes presented by H.R. Gieger’s contribution to the series, the remaining sequels do present one interesting motif. They take the story in the direction of a sort of reversal of the classic slasher movie. Instead of Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers killing the naked teens, the naked coed kills everyone else.