Film Review: Humanoid Woman (1981)

Also known as: Cherez ternii k zvyozdam (original title), Per Aspera Ad Astra (Soviet title), To the Stars by Hard Ways (Australia), Angels of Space (worldwide English title), Niyya: Artificial Person (alternate worldwide English title), Through the Thorns to the Stars (newest worldwide English title)
Release Date: April, 1981 (Soviet Union)
Directed by: Richard Viktorov, Nikolai Viktorov (restored version)
Written by: Richard Viktorov, Kir Bulychov
Music by: Alexey Rybnikov, Sergei Skripka
Cast: Yelena Metyolkina, Vadim Ledogorov, Uldis Lieldidz

Gorky Film Studio, Goskino (restored version), M-Film (restored version), 148 Minutes (original version), 123 Minutes (restored version), 118 Minutes 


Humanoid Woman is a Soviet sci-fi film from the early ’80s. Some people seem to like it but the version that exists, at least the version I’ve seen, is excruciating to get through. This certainly isn’t the near masterpiece that the Soviet’s showed they were capable of with 1972’s Solaris. But that was also directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, who many will argue is a true auteur. I’ll say he isn’t, as it is hard for me to give that distinction to a director with only seven films under their belt.

My sentiment doesn’t seem to be just my own, as this film was featured in the first season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 back when it was still on local Minnesota television. Granted, Joel and the ‘Bots never brought this picture to the nationally syndicated show. Maybe it was just too hard to get through the first time.

The film is about an alien woman that is brought to Earth. She has memory loss and doesn’t remember anything before being found on her derelict alien ship. The mission leader brings her to Earth to study her and to try and uncover what’s buried in her mind. A bunch of really boring stuff happens and it is hard to make sense out of a lot of the film. This could be due to the condensed version of this that I saw, however. But to be honest, I doubt that a fully restored version would be enjoyable and would probably just drag out this awful picture much longer than it needs to be.

I could knock the special effects but the truth is, they’re not the fault of the filmmakers. The people behind this did the best they could with what they had available to them. Filmmaking in the Soviet Union was very difficult because they didn’t have the resources Hollywood did and since they weren’t too keen on letting American culture infiltrate their borders during the Cold War, there wasn’t much to try and live up to.

Humanoid Woman is easily one of the worst things I have watched so far this year.

It certainly deserves to be run through the Cinespiria Shitometer. The results read, “Type 7 Stool: Watery, no solid pieces. Entirely Liquid.”

Rating: 2/10
Pairs well with: A meat clever to the head. But don’t do that. Seriously, it’ll hurt and maybe kill you.