By Ray Sawhill
As “Liquid Sky” begins, a pie-plate-size flying saucer lands on an apartment building. Soon after, the sex partners of a sullen model begin dying just as they reach climax. A low-budget art-house hit directed by a Soviet émigré named Slava Tsukerman, this film is a curiosity. Part science-fiction thriller, part Warhol-style spoof of Manhattan’s punk music and fashion scene, it takes a dry, faintly burlesque look at its wild material. The lighting is lurid, the new-wave décor and costumes are amusingly garish, and the oompah-music score is a pleasing reminder of the avant-garde of the 1920s.
Given all that, it’s too bad that “Liquid Sky” never really turns into much of anything. Too many scenes don’t play conventionally and don’t work as camp. And some of the performances are lousy enough even in fun-bad-acting terms to be downright painful. The cast does have one standout: Anne Carlisle, who plays a young male drug addict as well as the model. Big and strong-shouldered, yet with some of the debauched-thoroughbred look of an Edie Sedgwick, Carlisle is fascinating to watch. In one of the movie’s most effective scenes, she steps out onto a terrace and implores the aliens inside the tiny spaceship to accept her. The sky is black, the wind blows through her lacy dress, and her eyes are soft but demented. “You can feed on me if you want to,” she offers. The moment has a voluptuous, Gothic glamour.
- Wikipedia has a long-ish entry on the movie, and a short one on Anne Carlisle.
- An interview with Slava Tsukerman, who promises a sequel.
- An oral history of the making of the film.
©1983 by Newsweek Inc. Reproduced by permission.