While Norman J Warren was busy prepping his 1981 Alien rip-off Inseminoid (itself the subject of an unforgettable novelisation from NEL) Stanley Long, who had spent the previous four years producing sub-Confessions sex comedies Adventures of a Taxi Driver and its two sequels, was trying to get financing for his first horror film since his involvement in Tigon's 1968 The Blood Beast Terror
The money fell through but the screenplay (by Jo Gannon) and its novelisation (by Robert Knight) remain for us pulpy horror enthusiasts to enjoy. In fact it's a real shame this wasn't made as with a bit of tweaking it could have been a British Rabid or even Zombie Flesheaters.
At the sleepy seaside town of Oakhaven mad Professor Fraser has been busy at the Genetic Reseacrh institute up on the hill experimenting on psychotic prisoners who have elected to be part of his research programme rather than serve their life sentences. This research, which as ever is 'for the good of mankind' has produced an individual so strong he promptly rips the intestines out of two doctors on page 2 and heads off into the sewers on account of his genetically induced albinism preventing him from coming into the light.
And it's infective! Cue lots of scenes of manhole covers being thrown off in the middle of the night. The usual collection of prostitutes, tramps and innocent bystanders walking their dogs are roped in as victims and pretty soon the little town has a sewerage-smelling zombie army to deal with.
I loved Plasmid. It embraces its cliches gleefully and is full of the kind of Dodgy Science that Kind of Makes Sense that I love. Even their definition of a plasmid is correct. Seriously obsessive BritHorror buffs like me can also get an extra kick out of casting it with the usual bunch of TV actors of the time who ended up in this sort of thing. My vote was for Susan Penhaligon as the sexy intrepid reporter.
now this sounds very much like my bucket of raw sewage. don't have a copy myself, so i had to borrow the cover scan from Alwyn's Trash Fiction. There are quite a few posts about Plasmid on the latest finds thread, starting here.
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty.
Hi John - probably exactly what you think, it's rubbish if you spend too long deliberating on the logic but it's briskly written, the characters are sketched in enough and the threat sequences (it's about a massive shoal of killer jellyfish that might, or might not, be sentient) are well handled.
Is this not the book with the cover strap line "it came from the sewers in a holocaust of horror"? I can't speak for the book, which I've not read, but that line is one of the great classics and is oft quoted as such in this household.