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Bad Biology

tn_badbiologyThere was a time in our cultural history, or in our life’s journey or whatever, when the freaky grossout shit seemed real interesting. The odd top shelf Troma, the young and hungry Peter Jackson, the works of Frank Henenlotter. These are home made labors of love obsessed with bodily fuction and dumb humor, trying hard to disgust you but not really to scare you, and not to be taken very seriously. For a while it’s fun, but you can only go so far with that. It gets old after a while, or you get old after a while.

Still, I gotta admit, I had some fun with Henenlotter’s new one, BAD BIOLOGY, which is about a monstrous 7-clitorised vagina on a collision course with a detachable superdick that the vagina-possessor believes is God’s penis. (I know, I know… yet another movie about that. But bear with me.) The clean-cut-looking Charlee Danielson plays Jennifer, the woman whose orgasms are so intense she tends to accidentally beat her lovers to death in the process. You know, it’s about sex and relationships from a woman’s point of view, like Sex & the City.

Not trying to be mean but I feel like they coulda done better than this poster
Not trying to be mean but I feel like a movie about a girl with 7-clitorises and a boy with a giant dick that separates from his body could have a more interesting poster than this. In my opinion.

But the movie isn’t just about fearing vaginas. Penises are also demonized. This guy Batz (Anthony Sneed) gets in arguments with his 3 foot flailing monster. He had to build a machine to jerk it off and shoots it up with rare animal tranquilizers to keep it under control. There’s an obscene conversation in the movie where some young ladies discuss penis size and John Holmes, and argue whether a dick like that is desirable or scary. But they have no idea.

Both parties spend their lives in search of solutions, and of course their parts are destined to meet. I guess it’s kind of like AMERICAN GANGSTER the way these two characters spend most of the movie unaware of each other but we know they’re gonna eventually come head-to-head. You can decide if it’s Denzel or Russell that’s the vagina.

Anyway, the rendezvous happens when the guy’s dick gets loose and goes on the prowl. You know how it is. She ends up having to give it CPR, then cuddles it like her pet. It’s a long story. He tries to get it back and they play tug-of-war with it.

If this doesn’t sound like something you’d be into then trust me, it’s way classier than I’m making it sound. Nah, just kidding. It’s exactly what it sounds like. I mean, most of the nastiness is out of the frame, but there’s an occasional stop motion penis or inside-the-vagina POV shot. Don’t bring it to your church group, probly.

It’s been years since I’ve seen a Henenlotter movie. Maybe I’ll watch BASKET CASE again soon. What struck me about this one is that he has both progressed and stayed exactly the same. For example, there’s a really cool looking effect for the bath tub babies, then later there’s a terrible stop motion dick. A nice combination of skill levels going on here.

I think part of what makes it interesting is a weird crossbreeding of subcultures. The movie is co-written and produced by R.A. The Rugged Man, an obscure NYC rapper who did a song named after Stanley Kubrick on the classic ‘Soundbombing 2’ compilation. I guess this is his BARRY LYNDON. R.A. appears in the movie, filmed part of it in his dingy apartment, got Kool G Rap on the soundtrack and populated the cast with little known rappers and even a Prince Paul cameo. Most importantly he put a rapper’s love of slang and wordplay into the dialogue that distinguishes it from, say, Troma’s brand of dialogue. The scene with the drug dealer explaining that he’s never heard of the drugs this guy is asking for is especially enjoyable for its language. You rarely get that in these types of movies, if ever. So it’s refreshing.

The other secret weapon is Charlee Danielson, who is pretty but a little dorky looking, more Chelsea Clinton than Sasha Grey. But she approaches this obscene character with such abandon that it’s scary.

Yeah, it’s a silly movie about out of control genitals. But as far as those things go, kind of fun. Happy Valentine’s Day.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Sunday, February 14th, 2010 at 11:43 pm and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

24 Responses to “Bad Biology”

  1. it’d be interesting to see what you think of TEETH, Vern, now that you’ve waded into the monstrous-genital genre.

  2. Good old Henenlotter , I love Basket Case . It’s a mistery to me why he’s not a big time director right now . If you think about it a lot of horror directors ( like Jackson , Raimi , Cronenberg ) , now are some of the best around . Maybe Henenlotter is just too weird , but it’s also true that the aforementioned directors are doing less and less horror and more “normal” movies . He just didn’t stop doing weird shit , and I respect him for that . I saw the trailer for this a while ago , and , maybe I don’t remember it well , but I think a saw a girl with a vagina like face . Is that in the movie ? I can’t find the trailer right now , but that’s some fucked up , old school , Cronenberg stuff right there. I just finished Le Dernier Combat and A Boy and His Dog , and I’m looking for movies like this right now , understandably after an all silent , black-and-white French movie.My favorite Troma movie ( but I still have to see Poultrygeist) is Class of Nuke ‘Em High 2: Subhumanoid Meltdown (man , that movie is amazing ) , and I was thinking about re-watching it , but I will see if I can find Bad Biology first .

  3. And now it’s time for some useless CMK Italian Trivia : Speaking of Peter Jackson , one of my all time favorite movies is Brain Dead ( Splatters , here in Italy ) and not only for the movie itself , but also for the Italian dubbing . With dubbing it’s always a mixed bag , it can be done rigth and with some talented actors , or it can be a complete mess with changed names ( like Teen Wolf ) and poor performances. But sometimes you can find the perfect blend of dubbing crew and movie , and Brain Dead is the perfect example . You can just feel that they were having fun. Remember the line ” I kick ass for the Lord !”(amazing)? Well in Italian that line is “This is a job for……The God’s Ninja !” , and then every single attack by the God’s Ninja ( the Priest ) is named something like Mystical Kick or Angelic Punch . And that’s fucking amazing . Also one of the zombies introduces himself with the line ” I’m good looking , and an amazing dancer !”! How cool is that ?

  4. That’s pretty fucking cool.

  5. Yeah , The God’s Ninja is pretty famous with Italian Horror fans , and for that single scene , the movie sometimes is included in “Top Ten Ninja Movies ” lists ! You can even find it on Youtube :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6q3_mtD3Nw

    “Ninja di Dio” in the title means God’s Ninja and the names of the attacks are : 1 – ” For Aharon , for Noah , I’m going to fuck you in the ass !” 2-” Rotating Arms !” 3 -” Mystical Attack!” 4-“Angelic Kick!” 5-“And at last , Anointing of the Sick !”.

  6. I think I crossed a line somewhere between the second and third BASKET CASE movies, I got old, or maybe I just filled my quota.

    But I have fond memories of FRANKENHOOKER. For my money, Henenlotter is much funnier and more inventive than Peter Jackson. I wonder how well that one holds up.

  7. FRANKENHOOKER is as good as it ever was. As Bill Murray said on the original VHS box: “If you only see one movie this year, see FRANKENHOOKER.” I’m a little partial, though, because that’s the movie that fucked me up for life and instilled in me the need to see the weirdest fucking movies ever made, no matter the cost. I was 12 or 13, and Joe Bob Briggs was playing it on his show on TMC. I just couldn’t believe that there was actually a movie called FRANKENHOOKER and that it was actually about what it sounded like it was about. I’d never seen a movie so grungy and strange and full of so many exploding tits. I was never quite the same afterward, and that time I met Joe Bob I thanked him for warping my fragile little mind. If I ever got the chance to meet Henenlotter I would do the same.

    Also, BAD BIOLOGY is awesome. It’s the only movie I’ve ever seen that really feels like it takes place in the New York I live in (minus the killer genitalia, of course). It’s also the only movie I’ve ever seen where the producer performs a rap song over the end credits about how much it sucked making the movie.

    Kermit: I would say POULTRYGEIST is Troma’s second best movie, behind TERROR FIRMER. I saw it twice in the theater. The second time Lloyd was there and he gave me a free soundtrack CD. He also grabbed my friend’s boob. I was honored, she less so.

  8. Mr. Majestyk : Now that’s just awesome , man . Lloyd Kaufman must be one of the funniest men ever , and of the 5 cinema books I still need to read , 4 are his books . I remember listening to part of the Poultrygeist soundtrack and liking it , but he gave it to you as a gift! Then randomly grabbed a tit ! As I said , fucking awesome .

  9. So many of these kinds of movies rely on an outrageous title that the film never lives up to. FRANKENHOOKER, on the other hand, makes you feel like the title is an understatement. Somewhere around the scene with the supercrack drug you realize that there’s no turning back and that the director is gloriously insane. It’s that unpredictability I find lacking in similar films like MACHINE GIRL.

    “… the producer performs a rap song over the end credits about how much it sucked making the movie.”

    Okay, that sealed the deal.

  10. It wasn’t just random. I ran into him in the lobby before the show (it’s a very small theater where Larry Fessenden often premieres his movies) and told him that I had already seen the film and that I had brought some Troma virgins along for this special extended engagement. He thanked me, grabbed a handful of sweater meat, and then during the Q&A before the showing made sure that I got one of few CDs that were handed out. It was a sweet gesture, although he seemed to be flummoxed when I kept reminding him that the movie is not about zombie chickens, as he stated, but chicken zombies. Zombie chickens would be undead poultry, but the movie clearly features humanoid zombies with some chicken attributes. I suspect I’d thought a little more about it than he had.

  11. For me BRAIN DAMAGE remains Henenlotter’s masterpiece.

  12. I salute Frank Henelotter not only for his films, but for his shepherding of Something Weird video and it’s influence on all those ladies who were nice enough to bring Burlesque back.

  13. Yea, RA is the shit. I didn’t know G Rap was on the soundtrack either.

  14. I’m surprised you didn’t mention that writer/producer/actor RA the Rugged Man raps about the troubled production of the film over the end credits. I wonder if Clint Eastwood is just going to take that, or if he’ll have to step up his game now. I thought this movie suffered more for its budget than some of Henenlotter’s other trash classics. The cinematography was a bit uninteresting. His old stuff benefits from the dirty film stock I think. Also I actually listen/have listened to a lot of the obscure rappers in this movie, it was kind of weird seeing J-Zone (who had to be ad-libbing most of his dialogue) and Vinnie Paz (idiot) acting and whatnot. Also I thought the lead girl’s voice-over was pretty cringeworthy. But otherwise I agree with this assessment there Vern, AMERICAN GANGSTER except with a 7 clitoris’ed vagina and detachable junkie penis is a concept that can withstand the lowest of production values.

  15. as far as Henenlotter goes, i’ll take Brain Damage and Frankenhooker over the rest. not that he’s made a movie i didn’t enjoy. Basket Case 2 in particular was a lot of fun.

  16. If only ever movie could be silly and about out of control genitals. *sigh*

  17. Basket Case was some seminal stuff for me too. It seems this sort of stuff (the comedic horror of the bizarre) has kind of gone away. Anyone remember “Society”. It just seems impossible that something like that could be released in theaters now. Good to know that somewhere, it abides.

  18. brain damage had copious amounts of men in undies, no amout of bj ready slut punk girls make up for that.

  19. Would be even better if The Mr. Move made a cameo. Sounds fun.

  20. I was so excited when this came today from Netflix. Then I opened the envelope and discovered it was broken in half. I should have a replacement by Saturday but it totally took the winds out of my sails. Henenlotter is a fucking genius and I can’t wait to see it.

  21. Just got round to this one. It was definitely different. Worth it for introducing me to this phrase: “You dig me, Pygmy?” Rest assured I will be crowbarring this into conversations whenever possible.

    Very funny visual punchline Henenlotter ended the film with too.

  22. Hey Vern. Have you seen basket case 2? Because, that’s some next level shit.

  23. I didn’t like it years ago but maybe it’s been long enough to retry.

  24. It’s been a while since I’ve seen them, but I thought BASKET CASE 2 and 3 were okay with some funny special effects but a step down from the original. The first movie strikes that sweet spot between serious and goofy, but the sequels got less serious and more cartoony.

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