Spermula (1976) poster

Spermula (1976)


France. 1976.


Director/Screenplay – Charles Matton, Producer – Bernard Lenteric, Photography – Jean-Jacques Flori, Music – Jose Bartel, Art Direction – Sarah Matton. Production Company – Film and Co-France


Dayle Haddon (Spermula), Udo Kier (Werner), Francois Dunoyer (Tristan), Jocelyne Boisseau (Cascade), Ginette Leclerc (Gromana), Isabelle Mercanton (Blanche), Georges Geret (Grop), Radiah Frye (Ruth), Angela McDonald (Gilda), Suzannah Djian (Diamant)


The people of the planet Spermula have abandoned their bodies. Looking down on Earth, they view the notion of sex with disgust. Their planet is being consumed by a shadow. They send a delegation to Earth where they take the form of women and inhabit a chateau in a town in France. From there the Spermulite women set out to cause the human race to give up on sex by seducing every man on Earth. Soon however the women become prey to lusts themselves.

Spermula is a French porn film. Exactly what it is about is a scratch of the head. The description at the IMDB concerning a secret society of women travelled back from the future is a completely different one than the film you end up seeing. As per the plot description above, this involves a delegation of women from another planet. You realise what has happened is that the film has been substantially re-edited for English-language release. The English-language version removes some fifteen minutes of hardcore footage, leaving only a lot of boobs, a few bushes but nothing more explicit than that.

More to the point, the English-language version has been altered to make the film into more of an intergalactic SF work. This version was released in the wake of Star Wars (1977) – the influence is clearly evidenced by an opening title card that crawls off into infinity – thus the time travel plot vanishes and the film gets a new one about the women being from another planet. This version runs to 87 minutes whereas the unedited original runs some fifteen minutes longer. The full unedited version of the film is available online but not in an English-subtitled print.

Watching a film that has been substantially cut and the plot savagely altered leaves you wondering what the point is, nevertheless one is dedicated to completism as a reviewer. The upshot of this is a rather random film. In what feels like a more explicit and adult version of Zeta One (1969), the alien women arrive on Earth with a vaguely defined mission to seduce all men and somehow cause them to give up interest in sex.

Dayle Haddon in Spermula (1976)
Dayle Haddon as Spermula

I’m not quite sure how this is supposed to work as you would surely think that setting out to seduce men would have an entirely opposite effect than the intended one of causing them to give up on sex, although there is later a few lines about how the act of copulating with the alien women kills off the male sex drive. We get various scenes with the women venturing off to liaise with the locals before the eventual eminently predictable twist where they are swayed by emotions and abandon their mission purpose.

What makes Spermula interesting is that it seems to have been construed with considerably arty intent. It is directed by artist and sculptor Charles Matton, best known for his exhibitions where he built miniature versions of different rooms. Matton gives the film far more than you unusually get in adult films. He chooses to shoot in a country chateau and takes in the lushness of the interiors, the gardens, conservatories, the women in formal wear, scenes with people tumbling in massive sheets on the bed and the like. I think if the film had been left in its original format, the result would have been quite something.

Trailer here

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