If you’re going to watch “Species” for any reason, you have to see it for Natasha Henstridge. Surely, the cast is dynamic with the likes of Michael Madsen, Forrest Whitaker, and Ben Kingsley respectively, but Henstridge is a pretty great scene stealer rivaled only by Marg Helgenberger. I vividly recall “Species” grabbing a ton of attention back in 1995 mainly for the fact that “Species” was such a unique and erotic bit of horror and science fiction, and for the most part, it’s an okay movie. But what saves it is Henstridge and the great effects.
Henstridge plays Sil, a genetically altered alien-human hybrid created in a laboratory under the guidance of the government. After she manages to build a consciousness, she escapes the laboratory she’s held in. From there, she manages to experience a rapid aging process that transforms her from a child to a teenager (a young Michelle Williams) in to a beautiful woman in a matter of days. But Sil also has an animal instinct to procreate and begins stalking the streets looking for new mates to entice and help her spawn off-spring of her own. With a special team of detectives and scientists out on the hunt for her, they find it may be difficult, especially since she’s much more cunning and clever than they assumed. “Species” for the most part is a solid science fiction and horror film with a slew of memorable characters and interesting moments.
Sil is a very good villain, who isn’t so much a villain as she is a wild animal merely following her instincts. This quality makes her even more dangerous as she’s an unpredictable presence prone to getting out of situations by the skin of her teeth. She’s also a vicious monster who engages in deadly kisses involving head smashing that still rank up there with some classic science fiction moments of cinema. Roger Donaldson directs a fine cast, while the creature effects and motion capture are still very impressive. Sil’s HR Giger influence is obvious, as it represents a lot of Giger’s ability for aliens that are both biological but sexually primal. She’s definitely one of his most well designed monstrosities, and she’s a great foe for what is a solid cinematic genre hybrid nonetheless.
Disc One of the Scream Factory release garners the feature film along with an audio Commentary with Natasha Henstridge, Michael Madsen, and Director Roger Donaldson. This is originally from the 2004 Special Edition DVD. There’s a second audio commentary from the 2004 Special Edition featuring Director Roger Donaldson, Make-up Effects Creator Steve Johnson, Visual Effects Supervisor Richard Edlund, and Producer Frank Mancuso Jr., all of whom discuss the Special effects. Disc Two features a new segment entitled “Afterbirth: The Evolution of Species” which includes interviews with director Roger Donaldson, Cinematographer Andzej Bartkowiak, Production Designer John Muto, Composer Christopher Young, Creature Designer Steve Johnson, and looks back at the making of the film, and its original creation.
“From Sil to Eve” is an interview with Natasha Henstridge, an interview carried over from the “Species II” Blu-Ray. Here she discusses her modeling career, and her audition for Sil. The featurette “Engineering Life” is a sixteen minute series of interviews with actual scientists about cloning, genomes, and genetic engineering. This is originally from the 2007 Collector’s Edition DVD. “H.R. Giger At Work” is a twelve minute look at Roger Donaldson and the filming crew visiting Giger at his studio in 1994. “The Making of Species: The Origin, The Concept, The Discovery” is a forty nine minute compilation of segments from the 2004 European Special Editions.
They feature cast and crew interviews and the like. “Designing a Hybrid” is a fifteen minute excerpt of interviews with the makeup and visual effects crew, and centers on creating Sil. There’s the original theatrical trailer, a two minute alternate ending, a production design gallery which features original art, storyboards and excerpts from the score playing over the slideshow. There’s a Creature Design Gallery with over a hundred images of the designs and concepts for Sil. Finally there’s another Still Gallery featuring Behind the Scenes photos, Posters, and Lobby Cards from the film’s release.