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Tales from a Parallel Universe: Eating Pattern Reviews

Unlike its impenetrable predecessors in the four-part TALES FROM A PARALLEL UNIVERSE series (renamed from the original title LEXX for airings on US cable TV), EATING PATTERN has a relatively comprehensible plot. But clarity isn't everything. The creative team's imagination went entirely into computer-generated production design and special effects, leaving a detritus of sketchy characters and wobbly plot construction in its wake. The PARALLEL UNIVERSE series initialll aired on European TV under the title "Lexx" and retitled for US cable airings; this entry in the series was released on home video in 1998. Space boob Stanley Tweedle (Brian Downey) and space babe Zev (Eva Habermann) pilot their super ship, the Lexx, through the cosmos' Dark Zone. When their vessel runs out of the fuel that it needs to manufacture food, they land on a deserted garbage dump of a planet. Here, they bury the apparently lifeless corpse of their comrade Kai (Michael McManus). Unfortunately, the famished travelers have landed on a cannibal planet. While scrounging for food, Zev is kidnapped, and Stanley falls victim to local seductress Wist (Doreen Jacobi), who inserts a mind-controlling parasitic worm into Stanley's mouth by kissing him. As worms feast on the interred Kai, their bodily secretions reanimate him. Zev discovers that the planet's residents are addicted to "Pattern," a pleasurable drug synthesized from human beings, that have been tossed into a meat grinder. Cannibal king Bog (Rutger Hauer) schedules Zev for the Pattern machine. The resurrected Kai searches the planet for his spacemates and resists the charms of Wist, who is the manifestation of a larger Worm Queen. After the local cannibals feast on the last batch of Pattern, they rest near a large hole into which the parasitic worms extract the Pattern and feed it to the Worm Queen (a transaction which results in the death of the Pattern addicts). Kai saves Zev from the Pattern mill, but cannot free worm-hosting Stanley unless he destroys the mega-Worm Queen. As Kai, Zev, and Stanley take off, the shape-shifting Worm Queen attaches itself to the Lexx and begins incorporating it into her own bodily structure. Fortunately, a storm of asteroids shakes loose the Worm Queen and obliterates it. With the Worm Queen dead, Stanley's worm is destroyed. Is EATING PATTERN the best film you'll ever see about a gigantic alien, cannibal annelid? Probably, but that's worm-like praise, indeed. As a visual exercise in grotesquerie, EATING PATTERN deserves kudos for its ability to rise to ever more disgusting displays of grossness. Although the film functions on the level of the Garbage Pail Kids trading cards, it's much too sadistic and sexual for youngsters. At the same time. adult sci-fi fans will be put off by the filmmakers' witlessness, the cast's total lack of charm, and the screenplay's epidemic of happenstance. Recommended for inveterate space junkies, EATING PATTERN resembles something Beavis and Butthead might concoct after being forced to read Arthur C. Clarke for a book report. Still, the film's outre climax does provoke a bit of awe: The sight of the Big Mama Worm merging with the enormous spacecraft is a weird spectacle bordering on the surreal. (Graphic violence, sexual situations, profanity, substance abuse.)