Friday, February 19, 2010

Bad Biology

From time to time, I like to consider horror movies that just need to be made... a decent zombie western for example (We already have a lot of indians dying out upon the sudden introduction of strange new disease; you couldn't ask for a better zombie setup!).

I know that at some point I considered some sort of "zombie genitals" idea (I think this one of the possible ways I thought Flesh Eating Mothers might have been saved), but couldn't really see how it could work all that well. Luckily for all of us, Frank Henenlotter is a lot more creative with this sort of premise than I am.

Actually, "zombie genitals" is a little oversimplified for what's going on here. It's got a sort of Jekyll and Hyde feel to it too. Both main characters lead somewhat normal public lives, but with mutant self-aware genitals that happen to take over their hosts from time to time when they're feeling a little bloodlust (literally).

I'm always impressed with Henenlotter's characters. It seems like they're written to fail horribly, but somehow they just seem to work. Like Brian in Brain Damage, Duane in Basket Case, and Jeffrey Franken in Frankenhooker, the leads here communicate almost the entire plot through monologue.

It's hard to imagine a case where that sort of thing would actually work , yet Henenlotter seems to always give his characters some sort of barely masked mental instability that allows them to awkwardly mumble strings of soliloquy without seeming unnatural. On top of that feat, the monologue lines are great! Almost everyone of his films is hilariously quotable, and the great lines all come from these ridiculous monologues.

Of course, the monologue is only half of his winning formula here. Henenlotter always impresses me with his ability to find unknown actors that can actually pull off these odd characters so well.

Charlee Danielson does a great job as Jennifer ("Garden of Eden, Sodom and Gomorrah, Armageddon and all the disciples in my pussy at once!"), I can't wait to see her in more.

Anthony Sneed does just fine as Batz ("I got a drug-addicted dick with a mind of its own!"), owner of the raging rapenis. Bad Biology is his only credited movie role showing on IMDB, and if that's really the case, I'm even more impressed. I don't know where Henenlotter finds these people for his low-budget masterpieces, but I hope other low-budget filmmakers start looking there too.

One last thing that's significant here is that Henenlotter actually does use a little CG in this film. He doesn't stray from his favored stop-motion monster effects totally however, and usually just uses a little CG to patch a few things in the physical effects. Still, on one or two occasions we are treated to some purely CG effects like this.

Overall, I've got to say that I loved Bad Biology. It's great to see that after the 16 years that have passed since the last Basket Case movie, Frank Henenlotter is able to pick up right where he left off.

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