Bad Biology


Mar 19, 2009

The Plot: Bad Biology tells the story of a young woman born with seven clits. That’s right, she has seven clitoris’, making her the world’s most easily stimulated woman. Able to get off from an early age without even trying, she has been stuck with this deformity and has felt a great deal of shame for her extraordinary circumstances. However, after losing her virginity she becomes a sexual creature that lives almost exclusively to feed the needs of her vagina. She shacks up with men on a nightly basis and has unprotected sex, which sometimes culminates in the homicide of her lover. She simply can’t help it as she finds herself writhing in sexual ecstasy. Immediately after intercourse however, she begins going through the process of pregnancy and within two hours goes into full labor – birthing out a blood covered freak-baby. Her life has become a bit repetitive as of late as she desperately feeds her need for love, but things change when she (while doing her job as a photographer) is shooting on location at a local mansion with a few hip hop artists. She meets with the owner of the house who at first seems like your average geek – but harbors a dark secret: his penis, quite literally, has a mind of its own. When a girl with seven clits finds a gentleman with a two foot penis with it’s own brain – what else is she to do? It’s love, but will these two be able to share their deformities with one another in time?

The Review: For well over a decade now, for a growing number of horror fans out there one question has loomed over us: where is Frank Henenlotter and when is he making a new movie? It has been so long since his last feature, could this one great pioneer of New York sleaze and horror have lost his touch? Will this be some kind of new “mature” take on the horror genre that will alienate fans of his previous work? Well, when your first line of dialogue in a film is “I was born with seven clits” , I’d say you still have the whole “edgy” thing going in your favor. As Bad Biology plays out it becomes obvious that so much of Henenlotter’s familiar themes and style is back, but at the same time there actually has been growth within the artist. Henenlotter hasn’t always been known for performances that try their best to take the material seriously, but of the first few things noticed, this seems to be a difference that stands out in Bad Biology. Although some performances are as over the top as anything from Frankenhooker, you get the feel that star Charlee Danielson actually takes her role seriously and isn’t just here to provide ample T&A… which of course she does provide, but that’s beside the point. At times very similar to the good old Frank Henenlotter we’ve all grown to love but for the most part a sexual tour de force unlike anything the director has ever tackled – Bad Biology is his brave new welcome to the world of cult cinema.

Henenlotter has been pushing through boundaries and shoving around taboos since his directorial debut in Basket Case which featured way more full frontal male nudity than a lot of horror geeks were willing to handle at the time. However, with Bad Biology there’s a strange bold new take on the sexual issue as Henenlotter attacks it straight on while also continuing to convey his message of biological freaks who have a chance to find solace in one another. Whether it was the involvement of hip hop musician and co-author of the film R.A. The Rugged Man or not I cannot say, but to see Henenlotter come back with so much confidence is truly a beautiful thing. Although whether his fanbase will react to these new directions and themes or not has yet to be seen but Henenlotter has almost always attracted some pretty intelligent fans so I have faith that the film will certainly find its audience. Henenlotter finds himself revisiting some territory that his two previous Basket Case sequels covered in some manner, as his lead characters are once again freaks against nature who can for the most part hide this from the rest of humanity. Harking back deeply to that series, as these two are in their own ways searching for their own ill-fated love affair. However the infusion of our sexual appetite’s gone berserk throws something completely new into the picture and ultimately creates a film that wholly superior than those two sequels and creates what might be the director’s best work since Brain Damage and Frankenhooker.

The intense sexual nature of the film won’t be for all audiences however. The sex scenes are often quite graphic and the nudity level really puts anything Frank has made in the past to shame. Prudish sensibilities simply won’t survive a viewing of the film. The sex is rough, kinky and is followed by several birth sequences where our lead heroine abandons her freak-babies wherever she might have them. So many issues are toyed with by Henenlotter and the buttons of his audience are almost always pushed. Although featuring some light violence, the majority of the strange and perverse functions of the film are related to the sexual kinks involved in the story. The rampaging penis scene in the final chapter of the film simply has to be seen. It is… so strange and so bizarre it takes on a humorous annotation with very little outright comedy. The penis in the curtains bit really tops the whole sequence off however and permits the audience to burst out laughing at that point. Although played completely straight, the film is still much in the director’s style and with the above average performances (judging up against some of Henenlotter’s work, best known for using first time actors) from much of the cast, one can’t help but get excited at the prospect of Henenlotter making more films. It’s also great to see Beverly Bonner back on-screen once again (Casey from the Basket Case series who has had a cameo in all of Henenlotter’s films since then), even if it’s only for a minute or so!

Although still firmly rooted in the b-movie territory that Henenlotter has always worked within, his ideas have been honed to a fine art in this come-back feature. His fans are sure to find something so perversely unique that they simply have to love it, and new fans might be intrigued enough by this outlandish and insane feature that hopefully they’ll search out more from this maestro of the low budget horror. Usually when great directors take breaks or make “come back” films, they more often than not disappoint (Romero and Argento), however I am thankful to report that such is not the case with Henenlotter who is apparently getting better with age. The film isn’t perfect, not even by Henenlotter’s standards. There are some technical issues in the film that hinder it, such as the audio which is at times mixed far too harshly. Still, the film stands up well against Henenlotter’s previous works and should keep the fans excited. I know it made this one happy, that’s for sure.

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