Liquid Sky (1982)

In the New York Punk scene, we meet Margaret and Jimmy, both played by Anne Carlisle (Perfect Strangers, Crocodile Dundee) who are androgynous, drug-addicted models. Jimmy is an aggressive egotist while Margaret is abused in some way by everyone she meets, seen simply as an object of sexual gratification. Viewers seeing the reality of Margarets world will instantly feel an empathy for the character as it still shines light on the seedy underworld of trying to break into the world of modelling and the way the people are taken advantage of.

Unbeknown to Margaret, aliens looking for heroin land on the roof of her apartment. A German scientist, Johann has been observing the aliens from the observation deck of the Empire State Building; however, he must leave when the deck closes. Searching for a way to keep watching these aliens, Johann locates Owen, a drama teacher from the college, as he is the only person he knows in the US. Owen is heading to see his former student and Johann follows, hoping to find a vantage point.

After Margaret is sexually taken advantage of by both Owen and another man, the aliens realize that the chemicals the brain produces during orgasm are far greater than the heroin they originally came for. This leads to the aliens “harvesting” these chemicals causing the instant death of the men having sex with Margaret.

Margaret mistakenly believes that she has the ability to kill by sex, using her newfound “abilities” she sets out to exact her revenge on everyone who ever wronged her, by having sex with them.

This film was at the height of using borrowed cameras, not having permits to film and using locals as free extras. What this captures is the very soul of New York City in the early 1980s. The tale of Liquid Sky is a weird and wacky tale that echoes well in today’s world of exploited women trying to get into the fashion world; however, in this tale, an inadvertent hero emerges in the shape of drug-seeking aliens.

The cinematography of Liquid Sky is what is truly beautiful about this film as director Slava Tsukerman whisks the story of improbable characters and events together in what could very easily be described as a neo-noir revenge thriller. In the absence of special effects, we have camera effects and these work so much better with the style of the story, misty cameras combined with punk neon and fluorescent color shape each scene from start to finish.