Media Blasters // 2008 // 86 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis // March 5th, 2010
A god-awful love story.
If you're unfamiliar with the name of Frank Henenlotter (Brain Damage), it's no surprise; if you can't legally smoke, the director hasn't made a movie in your lifetime. In the days where many were trying to up the splatter ante, nobody could touch his brand of disturbingly hilarious horror, but he had not been seen since his trio of films in 1992, and I sadly thought he'd fallen off the face of the Earth. Not so! Bad Biology proves a great return for the director. It's hard to call it a horror movie, but never fear, Henenlotter has lost none of his power to create a sloppy, schlocky masterpiece.
It turns out that writing a safe-for-work synopsis of Bad Biology is not so easy, but we're going to keep this nice and clinical.
Jennifer (Charlee Danielson) and Batz (Anthony Sneed) are built for each other. They haven't met, but they're a perfect match. Jennifer was born with seven clitorises and an aggressively hyper-accelerated reproductive system. Batz had his penis cut off along with his umbilical cord and, while the doctor successfully reattached it, it never worked properly. In order to achieve an erectile state, he must inject steroids directly into his penis. As a result, it has become massive, sentient and has developed an addiction to the 'roids.
Jennifer, a fashion photographer, has a photo shoot at Baz's Brooklyn mansion. When she happens to catch Baz in the act of restraining his angry member, she is aghast. She must have him, and when she does, it will be a true carnal abomination.
Frank Henenlotter really knows how to bring the gross. This is as true today as it was in 1982. Most people soften in their autumn years, but it appears the director spent the last two decades stocking up all the most disgusting ideas he could think of, and unleashing his best material onto us in one all-out schlock assault. Bad Biology may not be better than his early work, but it's sloppier, more sexual, and just as much delirious fun as anything he's made. If there was a second of the film to take seriously, it would be wickedly offensive. Like all of Henenlotter's work though, the comedy sits right in front, and there's no way to see the film as anything but a huge, disgusting joke. Whether it's a funny joke will depend on each individual's tolerance level, but I love this kind of thing, and nobody does it better than him.
The joke isn't all about shock and disgust. That would be far too easy; this isn't a Troma picture, after all. It's the lead actors that really make it work. These are no award-winning performances, mind you; far from it. They're really quite terrible, but Charlee Danielson and Anthony Sneed, both starring in their first film, sell the film like there's nothing weird about this situation. When they finally meet, their conversation about their shared biological plight is so angst-ridden, and is said with such conviction, that it's a wonder they don't break down laughing.
For Baz, life is just so hard with a 'roided up unit, his constant frustration with it makes him look so weary. He cares about his penis like a son, and his disappointment when it won't listen to him is hilarious. Jennifer, on the other hand, has a God complex about her vagina. After years of thinking of herself as a monster, she has finally come to accept what she is and, more than that, believes that God has made her like this so she can have his child. This acceptance comes with a price, however. Her condition has made her somewhat bipolar, as any perceived slight against her turns her into a violent maniac. Not only that, but she's likely to conceive and have a baby within two hours of intercourse. She leaves the babies where she delivers them, but she assures us that everything is okay; these are babies that nobody would want. Don't worry, we get to see them. Yes, they are disgusting.
I have purposefully eliminated nearly any mention of the ridiculous things we actually see in Bad Biology. A movie like this warrants an element of surprise, and you will see some unexpected things. Whether that scars or delights depends on your temperament. I can only barely call it horror; it has much more of a psycho-sexual tone than the director's earlier work. It has just as small a budget, though, with set dressing from the dollar store and a cast of producer/rapper R.A. the Rugged Man's friends and family. This film has just about everything you'll want to see in B-grade splatter.
Bad Biology comes to us from Media Blasters, under their Shriek Show label, and is up to their usual moderate standard of quality. The image is flat and grainy, but looks good for a film of its budget. The deeply saturated reds and purples all look good in the transfer, and it has few transfer errors. The sound is also pretty good, if not great. There's some separation in the channels, but not a lot, and the rear speakers get a little work. It's never that great but, like the movie in general, the effort is there. For extras, we start with an audio commentary with Henenlotter and R.A. the Rugged Man. They discuss the often harrowing shoot, which began with a diagnosis of cancer for the director and culminated with a fire at the mansion that, because they had no running water on set, was extinguished with diet soda. Henelotter's a good storyteller and R.A. is pretty entertaining; it's worth a listen. A short featurette on the photography in the film and a series of additional Shriek Show trailers finish us off.
If you have seen a Frank Henenlotter film before, you already have a good idea of what to expect from Bad Biology. If you liked the experience, then I can heartily recommend this film. Fair warning if you've never seen one; this is B-grade splatter in all its stomach-churning glory.
It wouldn't be a Frank Henenlotter film if it wasn't guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Media Blasters
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated