Bad Biology Review

Beginning with the line, "I was born with seven clits!", Bad Biology feels like a homecoming for fans of Frank Henenlotter, a small but very dedicated group of people who have waited sixteen years for their man to make a comeback. Bad Biology is the story of Jennifer (Charlee Danielson), a nymphomaniac whose seven clitorises (clitori?) demand to be almost constantly stimulated. This hypersexuality leads to a string of one-night-stands and other sexual encounters. Jennifer takes sex wherever she can get it. Unfortunately, this increase in sexual desire has led to an acceleration of her reproductive cycle. Within hours of having sex, she gives birth to a child, who, unwanted, she dumps wherever it lies...in a bath, an abandoned car or anywhere. But she never finds true satisfaction in any of these encounters.

Across town lives Batz (Anthony Sneed), a young man whose penis was cut off during an unfortunate accident in the delivery room when the blade intended to cut the umbilical cord missed. Taking a combination of growth hormones and steroids as a teenager, Batz found that his penis began to grow. And grow it did. Now he's in possession of a 24" cock. But when his dealer fails to source human steroids and hands him drugs intended for farm animals instead, Batz's penis becomes uncontrollable. He keeps injecting it and it eventually develops a mind of its own with a constant need for sex. On the night that Jennifer sneaks into Batz's apartment, she watches as he has sex with a prostitute. A mere minute of sex leaves the girl with a never ending orgasm. Jennifer wants Batz but are they destined to be together?

Of course they're not. The Frank Henenlotter tradition, if there is such a thing, is to warn against meddling with drugs, sex and monsters. That's an odd thing indeed given that his no-budget classics play out in all-night horror shows that attract the very people most likely to indulge in sex, drugs and, depending on how ugly one must be to be considered monstrous, monsters. And probably do so while his movies play on the silver screen. Henenlotter's short series of films, made in an icky run between 1982 (Basket Case) and 1992 (Basket Case 3: The Progeny), always find something nasty lurking in the family, in the bed or down someone's trousers. That might be Belial, the hideously deformed conjoined twin who takes bloody revenge on the doctors who separated him and his brother. Or it might be Elmer, the penis-shaped worm that rewards being fed fresh brains with a powerful hallucinogenic drug. In Bad Biology, it's an unusually sensitive set of female sex organs and a two-foot-long penis with a mind of its own.

That sixteen years elapsed between Basket Case 3 and Bad Biology might lead the viewer to think that this film might somehow be different from those that preceded it. On the contrary, Bad Biology looks as those it was made not long after Henenlotter wrapped on Brain Damage. The acting and dialogue are not much better than the, "You're cute when you slobber!" of Basket Case and Henenlotter doesn't appear to have grown any as a director but that's what makes it all the better. His script might have been terrible had anyone else's name been on it but you suspect Henenlotter was laughing as he wrote it. Similarly, the penis and vagina effects of Bad Biology are no better than was Elmer in Brain Damage but, again, that's part of the film's charm, not least when Henenlotter positions his camera inside Jennifer's vagina and peers out at her boyfriend or lets his penis-creature run riot in an apartment block entirely populated by attractive young ladies lounging about in their underwear or fondling themselves in the shower. The sight of a very veiny twenty-four-inch penis breaking through wooden skirting boards and up through wooden floors, panting breathlessly as it goes, is not a sight that you would see anywhere else.

So much is Bad Biology a Henenlotter film that the director pays homage to certain scenes from his earlier films. Just as Belial escaped from Duane in search of romance, or rather his rape of Duane's girlfriend, so Batz's penis says farewell to Batz and sets off on sexual adventures all its own. We even get the penis-eye view of its leaving Batz as we did with Belial. Elsewhere, the bright blue steroids that Batz uses on his own penis are very similar to the psychedelic drugs secreted by Elmer. He even finds time for a cameo appearance from Beverly Bonner. But Henenlotter has probably gotten little reward for his efforts over the years so it would be bad sport to complain about him drawing on past efforts now. Fair play to Henenlotter for realising what he does well and for not straying far from

The difficulty with Henenlotter is that while there's plenty of nudity and a lot of blood, Bad Biology is neither erotic nor particularly frightening. Instead, it's sleazy, grimy and silly. It's too daft to be sexy and too funny to be frightening. And with its cast of characters being as convincing as a bloom of pantomime dames, Bad Biology is close to real life as the Bash Street Kids. But it's vintage Henenlotter and if you have, or once had, a liking or Basket Case (and its sequels), then you will feel equally happy with Bad Biology. He's a Peter Jackson who never moved on to Heavenly Creatures and Lord of the Rings and nor does he ever show any desire to do so. Henenlotter is happiest in the gutter. I, for one, am perfectly happy to be there with him and it's great to have him back.



Transfer

Anamorphically presented in 1.78:1 but interlaced rather than progressive, the picture is slightly soft, appears cheap and will never be a contender for one of the best-looking film of the year. The encoding isn't very strong either and should you pause the film, the artefacts are visible. Bad Biology is often harshly-lit, while, at other times, is sometimes barely lit at all. The colours aren't particularly impressive, the special effects are not special at all and it seems as though the film was shot on the sleazier end of the street. But it suits the film well. Revolver probably didn't need to do very much with the film and while it suffers on a larger screen, it looks fair on a smaller television. Still, if you approach Bad Biology not expecting a great deal, it won't disappoint.

There is a choice of DD2.0 Stereo and DD5.1 Surround and while the latter might be everyone's first choice, it's the stereo track that's the best of the two. The problem with the surround track is that all it does is drag some part of the soundtrack onto the rear channels without any concern for how this might actually sound. Jennifer's opening monologue is completely inaudible in the surround track, drowned out by the increased emphasis on the background music. Later, the hip-hop score threatens to do much the same for the dialogue. There are also some lip-synch issues but they're often par for the course in low-budget horror. There are no subtitles.



Extras

There are no extras on this DVD.

Film
6 out of 10
Video
5 out of 10
Audio
4 out of 10
Extras
0 out of 10
Overall

6

out of 10

Last updated: 07/05/2018 14:50:37

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