Returning to feature directing after a decade and a half of absence, Frank Henenlotter is back to screw up whatever ideas you had about where horror could go. Mixing loads of gore, sexual allegories that would make a young Cronenberg blush and a sense of humour that’s so tongue in cheek it will make your gums bleed, Bad Biology marks a peak in a career of high points.
Henenlotter has joined forces with white rapper extraordinaire R.A. The Rugged Man to produce a movie that basically stars a vagina and a penis, both of them murderous misfits, that are bound to find each other. The main players of this “godawful love story” happen to be attached to young Jennifer – a photographer with a raging metabolism that makes her kill lovers at the peak of orgasm and give birth to mutant babies within two hours of conception – and Batz – a man who’s entire existence revolves around getting drugs for his junkie penis and trying to keep it under control.
Joining acting debutants Charlee Danielson and Anthony Sneed are an array of the producer’s hip hop friends, including Prince Paul who made most of the impressive soundtrack (don’t worry about this being some stupid Snoop Dogg horror movie. The music works and helps), and a host of porn stars who use every single opportunity to get naked. Not surprisingly, considering we’re talking Henenlotter, the movie is neither as stupid, nor as messy as it sounds. Instead the wonderfully ridiculous premise is used as offset for a bizarre, ironic and extremely funny film that comments post-modern sexuality and delivers gore and nudity in spades. Hell yeah, it’s exploitation cinema, but with equal emphasis on both words.
It’s a flare for storytelling and rhythm, as well as technical understanding that sets Henenlotter’s work apart from most of the American low-budget horror-scene. Shooting in glorious 35mm (with the understanding that shooting on film means you have to light your set – take that Nick Palumbo) and making good use of locations, Henenlotter weaves his story with a confidence and professionalism that you normally wouldn’t associate with a film that features vagina-masks and heavy masturbation-machinery. The result is a film that’s as way out as they come, as ridiculously entertaining and imaginative as you could ever hope for and with a window open for analysis.
Following Mitchell Lichtensteins Teeth, but taking the premise and the irony to outrageous new levels, this is a film that works on all levels. As a serious scholar, you can call this an allegory on modern day sexual predators, a comment on post-feminism or even a film about puberty (ok, that last one’s a bit far fetched) – point is, Henenlotter leaves it open for interpretation. Even the religious jokes are well thought out and result in a brilliant ending that I’m still laughing just thinking about. On a more down to earth level, Bad Biology is simply the most entertaining gore film I’ve seen in a very long time. It’s Teeth on steroids, The Necro Files with a budget (and a point), Shivers with a very wicked sense of humour. In other words, it’s a must see.