The ’90s R-Rated Sci-Fi Controversial Blockbuster On Max Still Feels Icky Decades Later

By TeeJay Small | Published

These days, it seems that sci-fi horror projects are all the rage, with new spooky technological warnings such as Black Mirror appearing on streaming every day. One film that takes science fiction tech and places it within the grips of a horrific monster is 1995’s Species, which is currently available to stream on Max.

While the film still holds up, many fans have been put off by the story, as Species managed to secure box office success after banking on tabloid coverage of actress Natasha Henstridge’s nude scenes.

Species Is Streaming On Max

In addition to the film giving fans the ‘ick’ for its real-life back-story, Species also contains a disgusting creature sure to make your skin crawl. The film was written by Dennis Feldman and directed by The November Man‘s Roger Donaldson, with creature design, effects, and story tweaks done by Alien‘s H.R. Giger. The original script even called for a creature who appeared and behaved too similar to the Alien franchise’s Xenomorphs, prompting Giger to demand a re-write.

The Cast

Species also touts an all-star cast stacked with incredible talent, including Michael Madsen, Ben Kingsley, Forest Whitaker, Marg Helgenberger, and Spider-Man: No Way Home‘s Alfred Molina. Scooby Doo‘s Frank Welker also joins the cast, as the voice actor responsible for producing the alien sound effects heard throughout the film.

The film centers on a team of scientists searching for life beyond Earth, who receive a deep-space transmission that contains instructions on splicing alien DNA with humans, as well as a technique for limitless fuel.

The Human-Alien Hybrid

As a means to test the capabilities outlined by the transmission, the scientists construct a human-alien hybrid made from human DNA, alien DNA, and advanced cybernetics, codenamed Sil, who looks and behaves like a 12-year-old girl.

Unfortunately, the half-alien species becomes prone to violent outbursts, and fear begins to swell within the team that Sil will escape from holding and mate with other humans, creating a race of alien spawn that will wipe out life on Earth. To prevent this from happening, the team attempts to kill the creature, though their attempts ultimately cause a bizarre and dangerous reaction.

Mixing Alien With The Thing

The resulting climax is equal parts Alien, John Carpenter’s The Thing, and a bit of Ex Machina, making the film a perfect encapsulation of the dangers of trying to create life using artificial means. Like other H.R. Giger projects, Species utilizes mostly practical effects, making the shocking and grotesque alien creature leap off the screen with stark realism, and terrifying audiences far and wide.

The film has been targeted by critics for focusing so much on Natasha Henstridge’s nude body in place of a cohesive story, though the film has received cult status from fans of classic creature features.

Species Is Perfect For Sci-Fi Horror Aficionados

Despite having little modern impact on the genre, Species clearly has plenty to offer as a footnote in the H.R. Giger catalog of terrifying visual effects. If you’re a fan of body horror, skin-crawling practical effects, and stomach-churning jump-scares, be sure to renew your Max subscription and stream Species today.