CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT: BAD BIOLOGY
by L.L. Soares
(The scene is a birthday party. L.L. SOARES is dressed like a creepy clown, waiting to perform.)
MAN: It’s time for you to go on.
LS: I’m waiting for my partner. It’s a two-clown act.
MAN: I don’t care if a hundred of you squeeze into a car. It’s time to go on.
LS: Okay (Looks at watch). I don’t believe I’ve gotta do this one alone.
(LS leaves the dark hallway and enters a brightly lit room. His audience is not children, but a bunch of deformed, freakish monsters, wearing paper birthday hats.)
(FREAKS cheer as he enters)
LS: Oh well, I guess I’ll be doing this one solo. Today’s movie is a little number called BAD BIOLOGY. Directed by Frank Henenlotter, the guy who gave us the low-budget horror classic, BASKET CASE.
(FREAKS cheer again!)
LS: This one is kind of hard to describe.
FREAK IN THE BACK: Describe it, already!
All FREAKS (in unison): DESCRIBE IT!
LS: BAD BIOLOGY is kind of a love story about two people who have strange, mutant genitals.
FREAKS: MUTANTS! YAY!
LS: It starts out with this girl, Jennifer (Charlee Danielson) who is always sexually frustrated. She just can’t seem to find a man who can satisfy her. Maybe it’s because she has seven clitorises and often ends up killing the men she sleeps with, in the throes of passion. No one can keep up with her, and she’s eternally sad about this. And she almost always gets pregnant after sex, has accelerated births (which last minutes instead of months) and gives birth to strange, half-formed mutants which she abandons.
FREAKS: MUTANT BABIES! YAY!
LS: You know, I should probably mention here that I wrote a story a few years ago (so far unpublished) about a woman who gives spontaneous birth to mutant babies after sex. I’m not bringing this up to say there’s any connection – but rather to ask any writers out there, has this ever happened to you? You come up with what you think is a totally original idea, and then you read a story or see a movie where someone else has the same idea? I hate when that happens!
But I still enjoyed this movie.
FREAKS: GET BACK TO THE REVIEW!
LS: Meanwhile, this loner guy named Batz (Anthony Sneed) is constantly buying all kinds of weird drugs from a dealer. But they’re not for him, per se, they are for his mutant penis. He is constantly injecting needles into himself down there and trying to tame the beast that is attached to him.
Jennifer is also a kind of artsy fashion photographer. She’s always doing weird photo spreads like one where the models wear masks that look like vaginas! Her magazine editor boss yells at her and says he can’t use any of her photos (“I said edgy, but this is so over the line”). All she seems to think about is sex.
When her assistant (Tom Kohut), finds a weird old yellow house, he suggests it would be the perfect place for Jennifer’s next photo shoot. He offers Batz a hundred dollars (“I could really use five”) to use his house for a day. When Jennifer and her models come over, Batz stays hidden for the most part, until one of the models finds him peeking at her when she’s changing.
Jennifer is intrigued by this weirdo and explores the house. She finds Batz’s bedroom upstairs with tons of empty medication bottles, and steals his keys. Later, she goes back to his house to spy on him.
During her spying, she finds out that Batz has a monstrous penis with a mind of its own. When he has sex with a prostitute (Jennifer watches from a closet), the woman goes into orgasmic convulsions for hours, and Batz eventually carries the woman out to an alley and leaves her there. Jennifer decides this is the man who can finally meet her needs.
FREAKS: YAY! HER NEEDS ARE MET!
LS: Well, it’s a lot more complicated than that. But the movie has a twist ending that had me laughing out loud. Before she gets her chance to find out, though, there are some crazy scenes where Batz’s penis is able to detach itself from him and go on the prowl. These scenes are pretty wacky, and almost always involve some hot-looking girl reading on a couch, or about to take a bath, when the killer penis emerges from the floor, crashing through the floorboards, to have its way with these girls. I’d say they are rape scenes, but not really. The girls are horrified at first, but seem to have a good time when the monster does its thing.
All in all, BAD BIOLOGY is one extremely weird movie, and it’s not going to appeal to everyone.
FREAKS: WE WANNA SEE IT!
LS: For those who aren’t familiar with Henenlotter, he’s a one-of-a-kind director. His first film, BASKET CASE (1982) was about Duane Bradley (Kevin Van Hentenryck), who had a conjoined twin named Belial growing out of his stomach. When doctors separate them – against their will – somehow the deformed brother survives, and the normal one carries him around in a wicker basket! The monster one wants to get revenge on the doctors who separated them. This little doozy spawned two sequels, BASKET CASE 2 (1990) and BASKET CASE 3: THE PROGENY (1992). All three were directed by Henenlotter, and all are pretty deranged.
(A lumpy looking creature in the corner raises his hand)
BELIAL: I’m here!
LS: Some of his other great films include BRAIN DAMAGE (1988), about a guy who has a symbiotic relationship with a worm-like alien parasite who talks to him, named Aylmer.
(A worm-like creature on someone’s shoulder wriggles)
AYLMER: I am here as well!
LS: And, of course, there’s FRANKENHOOKER (1990), about a scientist who stitches together body parts from hookers to create the girl of his dreams.
(A woman whose skin looks like a quilt stitched together stands up)
FRANKENHOOKER: I’m here, too!
LS: Nice to see so many celebrities in the audience! All of Henenlotter’s movies are entertaining mixtures of horror and comedy, and they’re strange as hell. He almost always has a miniscule budget to work with, but he does the best with what he has, and if you can get past the often laughable special effects (which, no matter how crude, are at least original), you’re going to enjoy his work.
This one was kind of a big deal, because Henenlotter hasn’t directed a new movie since BASKET CASE 3 (1992), so there were a lot of fans waiting for this one, including me. I don’t know if it was worth an 18-year wait, but I did enjoy it. And it shows that Henenlotter certainly hasn’t mellowed with time. This one’s just as insane as his other films.
LS: Henenlotter is also something of a historian when it comes to exploitation cinema (you might also know these kinds of movies as “grindhouse” flicks) , and he has done a lot of work with SOMETHING WEIRD VIDEO, a company that has been putting out strange and obscure movies on video (and now DVD) for a long time now. Henenlotter is kind of hero in the cult film community, because he has helped save so many films that would have been lost to obscurity.
But it was about time he returned to directing. While this film was made in 2008, it has only played in film festivals until now, and it only recently got released on DVD (and it’s, thankfully, unrated). People who are into weird flicks should check this one out!
(LS goes over to a television and turns it on. MICHAEL ARRUDA pops up on the screen)
LS: There you are!
MA: You seem to be doing just fine without me. But, seriously, can’t you come up with anything negative to say about this movie?
LS: Well, the acting isn’t always top-notch. For example, there are scenes where lead actress Charlee Danielson seems kinda stiff, and she’s one of the better actors in this film. And she does some narration early on that sounds like it’s read in a monotone. She’s sexy though, and has real screen presence when she relaxes. It looks like Henenlotter likes to use amateur actors a lot. But, if anything, this contributes to the film’s camp value.
And of course, there’s the low budget. The monster penis certainly doesn’t look very realistic. It looks kind of like a big, veiny puppet.
MA: Something tells me, based on your description of the movie, they weren’t going for realism here. Well, I’m glad I didn’t see it.
LS: (Shuts off the television) Oh go away! I forgot that you abandoned me here, you creep.
LS: Well, that’s it for me. I hope you enjoyed my little review.
FREAK IN THE BACK: Yeah, your review was okay, but you were hired to entertain us. Do some juggling! Do a magic act.
LS: I’m sorry to disappoint you fine creatures, but I don’t juggle. And I don’t do magic. Michael’s the one who handles those things.
FREAKS (in unison): BOOOOOOO!
FREAK IN THE BACK: Well, then it looks like we’re going to have to play “Smash the Piñata.” With you as the piñata!
LS (Looks at watch): Well, it looks like my time is up. Gotta go. (He kicks off his giant clown shoes)
(The FREAKS chase him out of the house and across the lawn. A clown car pulls up, with 100 clowns squeezed together inside, and LS jumps in. The car pulls away)
LS (Stick his head out the window as the car drives away): I hope you enjoyed this new Cinema Knife Fight.
(FREAKS throw rocks and bottles)
FADE TO BLACK as car horn plays calliope music.
© Copyright 2010 by L.L. Soares