Bad Biology Review
Written by: deadhorse13
Writer/director/film historian Frank Henenlotter has to be one of horrordom's most unconventional voices. His wonderfully over the top features are few, but they have all been inventive, subversive, and highly comical to say the least. Basket Case, Henenlotter's first feature, earned well deserved cult status and later warranted two sequels. Brain Damage, his uniquely twisted comment on drug addiction during the Reagan Era, came at a time when others were playing safe, and it stands as one of the most deviant works of the late 80's. With Frankenhooker, he protracted more laughs than shocks, but his trash aesthetic and extreme tendencies still made it a camp classic. Silent since 1992, Henenlotter finally returns to the scene with this inspired bit of lunacy that insures that the old fart hasn't lost his edge. In a time of slick productions and high falootin' concepts, Henenlotter gets it done the independent way, and most importantly, he has a lot of fun doing it. We, the appreciative viewer, follow in kind.
Bad Biology's premise is typically bizarre in keeping with the director's exaggerated inclinations. Jennifer, a photographer, is born with seven clits. You read that right, not one, but seven. She struggles through life with enhanced sensitivity and an insatiable sexual appetite which cannot be quenched. This always leads to the killing of her chosen partners in a violent frenzy during copulation. Her advanced chemistry also enables her to give birth to deformed babies within thirty minutes of coitus, and she thinks nothing of discarding them like used candy wrappers. Jennifer frequently addresses the audience as she struggles to find the ultimate orgasm in a series of deadly amusing encounters. I must also mention that she photographs her victims in their final death throes in a novel work in progress she coins "Fuck Face".
We also meet Batz, another sexual oddity. To compensate for penis size ridicule as a youth he injected steroids into his member to a frightening degree of success. His manhood now has a mind of its own and is of tremendous proportion, causing many an awkward moment. The ladies who are on the receiving end of his freaky phallus experience endless orgasms which render each lover useless. In lieu of a mate, Batz gets by with a monstrous metal masturbation machine when the pressure becomes too much. He often sedates the wacky willy to keep it under control, but its tolerance to the chemicals has gotten out of hand.
These two should be unnaturally perfect for each other, don't you think? Unfortunately you won't find out until almost the end, but there's enough zany things going on to keep your mind firmly in the gutter in the meantime. And that is definitely where it belongs to enjoy a story of this mold, I assure you.
Bad Biology might be Henenlotter's most accomplished film stylistically. His direction and production values are a little more polished than previous efforts, but are still well below the standard of the mainstream. The visual effects are somewhat crude (think Troma) but put to creative use, sometimes bordering on the surreal. In addition there are plenty of what-the-fuck moments to keep you delightfully disturbed. The acting is typically amatuerish, but really nothing to complain about - this isn't exactly high art. Bad Biology is not as gore drenched as past adventures, and it does try too hard at times, but it succeeds in being both edgy and fun.
Frank Henenlotter proves once again that bad taste and comedic sensibilities can work well within the genre if done cleverly. Good natured, yet inherently perverse, Bad Biology thankfully approaches its absurd subject matter with its tongue tucked firmly in cheek. I'll admit it actually seems tempered when held up against earlier Henenlotter entries, but it still feels like a breath of fresh air in an all too formulaic climate. If you are already a fan of the director then it is a no-brainer - it does for sex precisely what his Brain Damage did for drugs. Bravo for brazen bravura!