Gratuitous nudity is a staple of movies, but it's more important in some genres than in others. Most sci-fi and horror, for instance, couldn't exist without all the tits and asses that filmmakers use to distract audiences from the gaping plot holes and leaps of illogic that make those genres what they are. Hell, enough gratuitous nudity could have saved even Battlefield Earth, although it would have taken something on the order of a human pyramid of naked Scarlett Johanssons slathered in rich creamery butter to unflush that turd. Far luckier were the following sci-fi and horror movies, each of which was rescued (or at least greatly improved) by gratuitous nudity.
Each example is scored from one to five Roger Cormans based on the extent, duration, and gratuitousness of the nudity. (Roger also serves double duty in the pictures themselves to keep everything relatively work-safe.)[subtitle]Lifeforce (1985)
A landmark of full frontal nudity. Hell, you just know it's going to be good when the female lead is known only as 'Space Girl.'
A team of astronauts led by Steve Railsback (yes, THE Steve Railsback) exploring Halley's Comet discovers an alien spaceship. Inside, they find THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS OF GIANT SPACE BATS, all long dead, plus three naked people preserved in plexiglass cocoons. Seeing no possible danger, they bring the naked people back to Earth. Once there, the naked people, led by a very naked Mathilda May, wake up and start attacking people, sucking out their 'lifeforce' and tuing them into energy vampires like themselves. London is soon overrun with wildly gesticulating ghouls, and the race is on to stop the plague before NATO nukes the city.
Male Vampire to potential victim: "It will be much less terrifying if you just come to me."
This is one messed up movie. It starts out sci-fi adventure, then suddenly veers into supeatural murder mystery, then just as suddenly veers into all-out end-of-the-world horror. But whatever it is, May's glorious body carries it from start to finish, tuing what should have been just another ham-fisted B movie into an instant classic. May really is something to behold, parading around as naked as the day she was bo, and not even the sight of Railsback in a hard lip-lock with Patrick Stewart can ruin it. Without all that gratuitous nudity, there's no way audiences could have sat through this genre-defying experiment in weirdness without going permanently cross-eyed.
Score: Five Cormans.[subtitle]The Retu of the Living Dead (1985)
Like Lifeforce, The Retu of the Living Dead features no end of full frontal nudity. Clearly, 1985 was a good year to be a hoy 15-year-old.
Some punk rockers hang out in a cemetery while waiting for a friend to get off work. Little do they know that their friend and his boss have accidentally released an experimental gas that re-animates the dead, who crave human brains. In no time, the cemetery is overrun with hungry zombies. In true zombie movie tradition, the punk rockers barricade themselves inside a funeral home. But will the barricades hold?
Zombie to ambulance dispatcher: "Send...more...paramedics."
This is actually a pretty good movie, but it's still a zombie movie, and that means it asks a lot of its audience. Fortunately, it comes through with the gratuitous nudity in a big way. Scream queen Linnea Quigley gets stark naked early on for the infamous 'grave dance,' and then, to the unexpected delight of both boys and manboys everywhere, she stays au naturel for the rest of the movie.
Sadly, it was later revealed that she wore a prosthetic crotch cover throughout, and that took some of the magic out of it (and also taught a whole generation of men to distrust everyone and everything around them). But at the time, it was all sweet, sweet honey.
Score: Four Cormans (docked one Corman for the crotch cover).[subtitle]Total Recall (1990)
The name Lycia Naff doesn't ring a bell? How about 'the chick with three boobs'? Ah, now the light comes on.
Aold Schwarzenegger is a regular Joe who is married to Sharon Stone for some reason. He longs for excitement, so he buys an artificial memory in which he's a secret agent from Mars. But then it tus out that he really is a secret agent from Mars. But then it tus out that it's all in his head. Or is it? Either way, he eventually meets a woman with three boobs. Ample experience to be goveor of Califoia.
Stone to Schwarzenegger: "That's for making me come to Mars."
[She kicks him squarely in the balls.] "You know how much I hate this fucking planet!"
This movie is memorable for several things. There's Schwarzenegger in drag, a chick fight that includes a young, pre-crazy Sharon Stone, and all kinds of eyeballs popping out of people's heads, to name a few. But it's the woman with three boobs that people remember most. Yes, one of them is only foam rubber, and yes, if a woman actually did grow a third jug as a result of radiation poisoning, it would probably sprout out the side of her head and look like a deflated basketball. But audiences managed to suspend disbelief, and as a result, they can remember this movie for something other than the deeply disturbing sight of Schwarzenegger in a muumuu.
Score: Three Cormans.[subtitle]Species (1995)
Species is a real tour de force, if by 'tour de force' you mean 'tour de breast.' Indeed, Natasha Henstridge's fine rack is the only thing keeping this muddle of a movie afloat.
Scientists receive a transmission from outer space. It tus out to be a recipe for a human / alien hybrid. Seeing no possible danger (apparently, the scientific community hasn't leaed anything since Lifeforce), they cook one up sight unseen. Later, they come to their senses and try to kill it, but it escapes. The head scientist, played by Ben Kingsley, recruits a team of specialists to hunt it down and finish it off, and there's no time to lose. Henstridge, as 'Sil,' is superstrong, superfast, and superhoy. If she mates and starts squeezing out offspring, she'll unleash a horde of murderous hybrids upon an unsuspecting world.
The sight of a flamethrower-wielding Ben Kingsley, a.k.a. Gandhi, hunting Sil through a sewer.
In addition to being an uninspired pastiche of other, better movies ( Alien, Frankenstein, and Cat People, in that order), this movie set a new standard for stupidity. At every possible tu, these highly-educated halfwits plumb the depths of dumb-assery, but the persistance of sheer, unadulterated numb-nuttery comes when, after proving themselves utterly incapable of controlling a half-blooded alien, they whip up a full-blooded alien, as if that's going to work out any better (hint: it doesn't). Fortunately, whenever the stupidity gets to be too much, Henstridge's hooters come to the rescue, smothering the voice of reason with warm, pillowy goodness. The irony is that Henstridge isn't a bad actress (see her in Ghosts of Mars, where, acting opposite Ice Cube channeling Gary Coleman, she may as well be Olivia de Havilland), but here, she's clearly playing second fiddle to what God gave her. And amen to that.
Score: Three Cormans.[subtitle]Thir13en Ghosts (2001)
After a long dry spell, full frontal nudity retus with a splash in Thir13en Ghosts. And if ever a movie needed acres and acres of naked eye candy, it's this bout of cinematic clap.
A weirdo captures a bunch of ghosts and imprisons them in the basement of his giant plexiglass house. Only it's not a house, it's a machine that will allow him to see into the future, and it's powered by ghosts (at last, a renewable fuel source that isn't totally gay). But then the weirdo dies and his hapless nephew inherits the house. Before you know it, the hapless nephew, his equally hapless family (including daughter Shannon Elizabeth), his sassy black nanny, and a psychic who used to work for the uncle are all trapped in the haunted abode, facing not one ghost, not two ghosts, not three ghosts, but THIRTEEN GHOSTS. And ghosts may be just the beginning of their troubles.
Psychic to hapless nephew: "Ghosts! Ghosts, goddammit! Listen to me!"
If Rube Goldberg had made a ghost movie while high as a kite on Chinese glue, it would probably look something like this clunky, convoluted mess. Audiences only gave it a shot because the trailers made it look like Shannon Elizabeth got naked. She doesn't, but that's okay, because Shawna Loyer does. Loyer plays 'the Angry Princess,' a beautiful women who killed herself because she wasn't beautiful enough and, as punishment, was condemned to walk the earth stark naked for all eteity. Granted, she looks a little the worse for wear (she's dead, after all) and she acts as crazy as a bucket of monkey nuts, but she's still smokin' hot. Nary a stitch comes between Loyer and the camera, and a good thing, too. Without the generous cuts of grade-A nekkid served up by Loyer, there's no telling what angry audiences would have done when Elizabeth failed to doff.
Score: Five Cormans.Gratuitous nudity is a staple of movies, but it's more important in some genres than in others. Most sci-fi and horror, for instance, couldn't exist without all the tits and asses that filmmakers use to distract audiences from the gaping plot holes and leaps of illogic that make those genres what they are. Hell, enough gratuitous nudity could have saved even Battlefield Earth, although it would have taken something on the order of a human pyramid of naked Scarlett Johanssons slathered in rich creamery butter to unflush that turd. Far luckier were the following sci-fi and horror movies, each of which was rescued (or at least greatly improved) by gratuitous nudity.