Monday, March 22, 2010

Bad Biology (Frank Henenlotter, 2008)

The epitome of unsavoury and vile, Bad Biology is a film that will cause you to look at your genitals with an air of distrust by the time it's over. The long awaited return of writer-director Frank Henenlotter (Basket Case, Brain Damage), this sebaceous cyst masquerading as cinema repeatedly tests one's tolerance for things that secrete an unconventional brand of ooze. Teaming up with rapper turned writer-producer R.A. Thorburn (a.k.a. The Rugged Man), the wily filmmaker has dragged his wonderfully disgusting outlook kicking and screaming into the 21st century. It's true, the campy effects, unprofessional acting and gritty locations of his past movies are well represented in this outing, but they don't quite feel at home in this starkly modern universe. (Hip Hop and Henenlotter is a dicey combination.) While not as aesthetically pleasing as his previous films, the outrageous premise and twisted humour more than make up for its lack of flair. Outrageous premise? Really? I mean, Mr. Henenlotter's previous films involve a murderous mound of flesh who gets around via a wicker basket, a parasitic worm who shoots hallucinogenic blue liquid through a straw located in its mouth, and an amateur mad scientist who reanimates his dead girlfriend with spare hooker parts, so how outrageous can it be? Blessed/cursed with having seven clitorises, Jennifer (played by gorgeous newcomer Charlee Danielson) is the world's only true nymphomaniac. You see, the crass term, which according to her, was invented to make women feel guilty about wanting to have sex with anyone besides their husbands. Well, in Jennifer's case, her complicated genitalia has a genuine craving for the sturdy relief that only a hard and properly motivated cock can provide.

Most of the men who enter the oceanic discomfort of Jennifer's vaginal expanse have no idea what they're getting into when they penetrate the unruly quagmire that is her squishy petunia. And since some of them become acutely aware of what's going on down there the moment they approach her from a strictly oral sex point-of-view (the pronounced throbbing alone will cause even the most seasoned pussy lickers to run for less dewy ground), Jennifer has limited herself to engaging in unsatisfactory one night stands. You know, because cunnilingus is rarely on the menu; particularly when it comes to impromptu junkyard fornication.

The only problem (actually, there are plenty of problems, but let's focus on them one at a time, okay?) is that Jennifer's orgasm is so intense, that she usually ends ups killing the man in an outburst of gratifying passion (much like a female praying mantis will bite the head off its male counterpart after copulation has been completed). These post-coital dispatches have an upside, however, in that she takes photos of her victims and passes them off as ghoulish erotica.

The downside to having so many clits is that her metabolism is a tad erratic. Meaning, she usually gives birth within a few minutes of having intercourse. The fact the she leaves the babies where they come out or puts them in the trash may shock some people. But, as Jennifer points out, the babies are mutant babies, and therefore, not worthy of our sympathy. While their cries do sound human, the shot of that one baby writhing in the bathtub makes it abundantly clear that they're grotesque monstrosities.

Still, it makes you think about all the mutant babies that must be out there twitching and fidgeting without a mommy.

While boasting the most receptive hatchet wound in all of New York City may seem like a blush-coloured happy place filled with a constant profusion of strange and fantastic delights, her cock-possessing counterpart is living in a hellish nightmare where his unstable junk is ruining his life. While most men will be able to relate to a man whose day-to-day existence is completely dominated by the unquenchable thirst of his one-eyed trouser snake, the extreme situation a guy named Batz (Anthony Sneed) finds himself in will no doubt alarm the majority of the penis owners in the audience.

Injected with every kind of drug there is, Batz's headstrong member has grown a mind of its own. Placating it with an industrial-style masturbating machine, lulling it with farm animal narcotics, and keeping it under wraps via the magic of duct tape have all begun to lose their effectiveness, as his penis is starting to literally getting away from him.

One day while doing a photo shoot featuring vagina-faced models in a yellow house in Brooklyn, Jennifer sees Batz yelling at his penis. Curious about the romantic possibilities that might blossom between a woman with a lively vagina and a man with an autonomous penis, Jennifer shows up later that night in the hope that she may have found her ideal partner. Of course, with Batz and his penis not exactly on speaking terms, Jennifer may have found him too late. That's right, his cock has decided to take a walk.

You haven't lived until you have seen a self-governing penis bust through a hardwood floor and attack a half-naked woman lounging in her penthouse.

There were moments during Bad Biology where I felt like I was watching a low budget porno. The "actresses" used during the pecker assaults had a real scruffy and cheap vibe about them. However, the sheer gusto that Charlee Danielson and Anthony Sneed display as Mr. and Mrs. Bizarre Crotch repeatedly save the film from being a distasteful mess with no redeeming values. You have to admire the manner in which the two actors were able to express themselves in a coherent fashion, especially in the scenes where the freaks living between their legs carried on like a couple of junkie sleaze-bags.

The sadness on Sneed's face after his penis leaves him had a hint of Brando about it, while the deadpan way he bemoaned the fact that his penis didn't even say good by was pure Henenlotter. And having the luminous Charlee Danielson wear stockings that were attached to a garter belt throughout the film was a surprising and bold choice (her shapely legs are always tightly encased in nylons, and I couldn't have been more pleased), as they not only did enhanced her performance, but they gave Bad Biology a much needed touch of class.

While not as satisfying as his previous films, it is still comforting to know that there is someone out there willing to take chances when it comes to making disgusting and subversive horror films.



  1. I just watched this last night and really liked it. You're spot on about the acting in the film, but I never expect much from Henenlotter's cast choices. Plus the amateurishness of cast just makes his films all the more grimy. Sneed I thought was good, but Charlee Danielson--while she gave a good performance, the narration was a little irritating--it felt like she was just reading the lines and too quickly. Minor quibbles though--overall I thought the film was great.

  2. "(the pronounced throbbing alone will cause even the most seasoned pussy lickers to run for less dewy ground)"

    i will have your babies :)

    I totally forgot about this movie. Thanks again for another stellar outpouring of thoughts and recalls!

  3. Am eagerly awaiting my DVD to arrive in the mail!

  4. I tried to love this picture, but I felt pretty dirty afterward. I almost resorted to a Disney Animated film by settled with a Haley Mills British thriller from the 60s. In a lot of regards, Henenlotter really is an auteur of trash.

    Frank's a real good guy. I actually was trying to get him a main location for BIOLOGY but that fell through since my Boss had the property he was interested in. Oh how Bosses suck... Basket Case forever!

  5. @Rev. Phantom: I don't remember any problems with the narration. But now that I think about it, the vagina-faces fashion shoot scene did seem to lack that certain pizazz

    @Scandy Tangerine Man: Mutant babies? I'm not a big fan of regular babies.

    @Nick Cato: I like where your head is at. :)

    @Cinema Du Meep: I have to admit, I felt a little dirty as well.

  6. I have no words, Yummy. Speechless. Sprachlos.

  7. Sprachlos is the German word for "speechless."

    Don't tell anyone, but the trailer for Letters to Juliet (the new Amanda Seyfried movie) made my eyes slightly moist.

    Not to brag, but I remember liking Modest Mouse back in 1996; their stuff was played quite a lot on CBC Radio's Brave New Waves.

    I know you're still playing catch up, but a guy from Chucktown (is it cool that I call it that?) was on Jeopardy! on Monday or Tuesday; I think he said he was a writer.

  8. Haven't seen that trailer, but I know that "I have something in my eye" feeling.

    Chucktown is what I always call The Holy City, so yeah, it's cool! We did see that episode--we were almost caught up, but now we're behind again.

    Not to brag, but I ran the Canadian capitals category.

    While I was watching last night's South Park, I kept thinking about Henry Fool. Turns out the guy who writes the South Park recap on AV Club had the SAME thoughts! Three O'Clock High, Henry Fool...what's next?

  9. I heard they canceled "At the Movies." :( I wonder if anyone will notice; it airs at 2:10AM in my area.

    Congrats on your Canadian capitals category dominance.

    What's next? Uh... Jump Tomorrow? Return Of Swamp Thing? Ooooh, how about, The Match Factory Girl?