Bad Biology (2008) Movie Review
Movie Review: Bad Biology (2008)
Reviewer: Scott Shoyer
Frank Henenlotter returns to the horror scene in top-notch form and with guns blazing!! Two questions for Mr. Henenlotter: Where the hell have you been; and why did it take you so long to come back? If you’ve read my review of Henenlotter’s Basket Case you already know that I love not only his movies but Henenlotter himself. Henenlotter is a no-holds-barred filmmaker who hasn’t compromised his vision or style over the years. He’s a throwback to the “grindhouse/42nd Street” guerilla-style filmmaking that has all but vanished in today’s CGI landscape filled with “safe” scripts that are more insulting to the view’s intelligence than entertaining. Henenlotter himself will be the first to tell you that he’s not really making horror films but exploitation films: “I never felt that I made ‘horror films’. I always felt that I made exploitation films. Exploitation films have an attitude more than anything – an attitude that you don’t find with mainstream Hollywood productions. They’re a little ruder, a little raunchier, they deal with material people don’t usually touch on, whether it’s sex or drugs or rock and roll.” Well put. And as we’ll see below, Bad Biology is definitely an exploitation film!!
Henenlotter’s last major film was 1992’s Basket Case 3: The Progeny. Not only did he give us the amazing Basket Case but he also gave us two sequels that are just as strong. After BC3 Henenlotter went on to pursue another of his passions. He got deeply involved with the specialty label Something Weird Video and with rescuing exploitation and sexploitation movies that would have otherwise disappeared forever into obscurity. Instead of continuing his own career he helped rescue tons of exploitation flicks from other directors (many have been released from Something Weird Video under the tag “Frank Henenlotter’s Sexy Shockers”). During his 16 year hiatus from filmmaking Henenlotter did mess around with some experimental short films. IMDB.com lists Lurid Women (2005) and Son of Psycho (2004) in his credits but it is difficult to find info on these shorts. Best I can tell these were two experimental films he made on 8mm before the first Basket Case. Perhaps he was revisiting those older films with the possibility of doing remakes.
Then in 2006 Henenlotter announced he was back and working on a project in collaboration with R. A. the Rugged Man (a NYC hip-hop artist) titled, Sick in the Head (R.A. and Henenlotter collaborated on a total of three scripts. Look for cameos in Bad Biology of R.A. and Vinnie Paz). Sick was going to be made under the Fangoria moniker but the economy started going tits up and the project was abandoned. So R.A. and Henenlotter wrote Bad Biology intending it to be an unrated, low budget flick that would have a very limited theatrical run. The plan was to get some buzz during the limited run and then make up the money once released onto DVD. It seems their plan has worked. Bad Biology is a hugely entertaining balls-to-the-wall exploitation flick that will have you disgusted at what you’re seeing, but you won’t be able to take you eyes off the screen. And best thing yet; this movie completely fits into my “Females in Horror” theme month.
I’m almost hesitant to give a plot summary here. There’s a few SPOILER’s here so if you don’t want to know anything about the plot then stop reading, go see the movie, and then come back and finish this review. As Jennifer (played by the beautiful, sexy, and sensual Charlee Danielson) tells us in the first line of the movie: “I was born with seven clits.” Jennifer does indeed have seven clits. Actress Danielson does a fantastic job with the role of Jennifer, who has a hyper-metabolism, is hyper-emotional, and hyper-sexual. She in fact has a sex drive that cannot be satisfied. By day she is a cutting-edge photographer capturing the off-beat side of sexuality, and by night she goes around looking for guys to fuck her. She knows she’ll never be satisfied, but she needs sex. Almost immediately Jen breaks “the fourth wall” and talks directly to the audience about her “mutant pussy” (her words, not mine). She started menstruating at age five and thought all girls could cum several times a day by “simply crossing their legs in a certain way.”
Charlee Danielson is a huge part of why this movie succeeds and kicks ass. It never feels as though you’re watching an actress in a role; you think you’re watching a real-life woman talking about her seven clits. This is Danielson’s first starring role and you’ll be amazed at how great a job she does. I know it sounds like an odd, off-beat character, but the character of Jennifer was actually a very deep portrayal of a woman who has been forced to be independent and strong. She is alone in the world and she knows it. At one point she tells us that she’s so unique with her seven clits that she thinks she’s “a new species.” She can’t relate to any other woman in the world, and certainly no other woman in the world could relate to her. She’s the only one with her condition and she knows it. She’s completely alone and a stranger in the world she lives in. Her role is also demanding in that she plays a very sexual woman who is naked and screwing for the better part of the movie. Danielson does a fantastic job and I can’t wait for her next role!!
We’ve only scratched the surface of weird: Because of her hyper-metabolism each time she has sex with a guy (some of whom she kills on accident because the sensations “down there” are so intense), two hours later she gives birth to mutant babies. She doesn’t keep them but abandons them all over the city to die. According to her they are mutant and freak babies that God never intended to live. “A normal woman gives birth after nine months; I give birth after two hours.” By her logic they just aren’t meant to be.
Her endless anonymous sexual encounters are solely for the purpose of feeding her “mutant pussy.” But she doesn’t just wallow around in self-pity the entire movie. She’s not only come to accept her abnormality but believes she has a much higher purpose: “God has been building and designing my body for one purpose and one purpose only. God wants to fuck me.” WOW … did she really just say that?? The character of Jennifer is one of the best written female roles I’ve seen in a long time. The later part of the previous decade saw some really great female roles: the casts of The Descent, Inside, and Martyrs immediately comes to mind. For a “simple” exploitation flick, the role of Jennifer is a very deep, disturbing, violent, sensual, and intelligent one. Its one of the most unique and exciting female characters I’ve seen in quite some time.
But there’s more … Meet Batz (played by a cool reserved Anthony Sneed). At birth he had his penis accidently cut off and although it was reattached he was unable to get a hard-on all his life. That is until he started injecting some pretty powerful steroids directly into his cock. He was just trying to make it grow so he could get hard, and it worked a little too well. Now he has a monstrous-sized schwanzt; it developed self-consciousness; AND it’s addicted to steroids. As Batz says, “I got a drug-addicted dick with a mind of its own.” (Just wait until you see how he jerks off!!!). We don’t follow around Batz as much as we do Jennifer; clearly the focus here is on her story. They of course end up meeting and when she discovers his unique monster cock she is determined to screw him. The results are horrifying, hilarious, and jaw-dropping. It took me about three hours to watch this 85 minute movie because I kept replaying certain scenes over and over. It’s a wild fucking flick people that reaffirms Henenlotter’s status as a Master of the Genre!!!
The f/x are very well done (as in all of Henenlotter’s flicks), and there doesn’t seem to be one case of CGI here. It’s not as gory as his other films but you won’t notice. You’ll be preoccupied with all the mutant babies, head smashings, a huge mutant cock detaching itself and going on a killing spree, and views from inside Jennifer’s pussy where we can see all seven of her clits as well as the people she’s about to fuck. Henenlotter is fucking brilliant!! When she finally gets banged by Batz’s elephant trunk it’s like a religious experience for her. Just check out her speech (in part) as she’s getting railed by the mutant trouser trout:
I finally feel God deep inside me … this is Rapture … I can feel it all inside me; the Garden of Eden … Armageddon … deep inside my vagina … This is a miracle; I am a living miracle. Our Father who art in Jennifer, hallow be thy name. God is finally fucking me and all I now want is to feel myself flooded with his holy seed.
Again; WOW. I LOVE it. That speech is enough to get the religious folks in an uproar. But me; I do love me some blasphemy in my exploitation flicks!! And like all her sexual encounters, this one too ends in a birth. But just wait until you see what she gives birth too.
Henenlotter made his first movie in 1982 and since then has only made (including Bad Biology) six flicks. But how many other directors out there can say that every film they made is a certified classic destined to be watched for decades to come? Not many. Bad Biology is an instant classic. If you’re easily offended (and if you are then you most likely won’t be visiting this blog) then it’s not for you. But if you want a strongly acted, extremely well written exploitation flick that transports you back to the good old grindhouse days of the 60’s and 70’s then this is for you. I love everything about this flick. Definitely check it out.
Director: Frank Henenlotter (and writer)
Plot: 5 out of 5 stars
Gore: 6 out of 10 skulls (mainly visual f/x)