Title: Bad Biology (2010)
Director: Frank Henenlotter
Written by: Frank Henenlotter, R.A. The Rugged Man Thorburn
Frank Henenlotter films are a guilty pleasure of mine; I enjoy them for their sleazy nature, their often times disturbing situations and their whacked out stories. It’s a sure fire bet that a Frank Henenlotter film will shock you in one way or another. I mean, take the Basket Case movies for example! Who the heck makes a movie about a man who was born with a deformed brother attached to his torso? Not weird enough for ya? Well, how about Brain Damage? A movie about a century’s old slimy slug creature called “Elmer” who injects blue hallucinogenic fluid into your brain and turns you into a junkie? And what about Frankenhooker? A movie about a guy who reconstructs his dead girlfriend with parts of whores who exploded by using super crack? Who the hell makes that movie? Frank Henenlotter that’s who!
Henenlotter’s latest freak fest is Bad Biology; It tells the story of Jennifer and Batz, two human beings with extremely strange sexual disorders. Jennifer’s disorder involves being “born with seven clits” as she so bluntly puts it in the first lines of the film. She likes taking pictures of her numerous lovers, some of whom die during sex with her. Things get worse when we find out that every time she has sex, she gives birth to a mutant baby two hours after; a mutant baby that she quickly either discards or abandons, like a piece of garbage. Jennifer is looking for that one perfect guy who will satisfy her demanding sexual needs, but so far, nada. Batz is a guy who had a bit of trouble when he was born, when his circumcision was performed, they also snipped off his package! It was sewn back on, but it’s never worked the same since. He now has a penis that’s addicted to drugs in order to get a hard on. It’s a penis that literally has a mind of its own! Will he ever keep it under control? And will Jennifer and Batz ever find each other?
Getting rid of her mutant babies aint a big deal for Jennifer
So that’s the basic premise of this movie, but trust me it gets crazier then that! Which is really something to be expected from a film by Henenlotter. Truth be told, this film holds a lot of similarities with previous Henenlotter films. One thing that Henenlotters films have always been about is freaks! His films are a celebration of freakdom! I mean, the Basket Case films were about two freak brothers going on a revenge spree, killing the doctors that brought them apart. But the sequels (Basket Case 2 and 3) brought in a whole other group of freakazoids into the mix! Brain Damage had a man who lived with a slug attached to his head for most of the film! Bad Biology is no different, the two main characters are freaks of nature; there is no doubt about that. One scene has Jennifer about to have sex with her new boyfriend, until he gets a glimpse of her mutant clits! Another scene that fully displays the freaky nature of this film has Jennifer opening a door to find Batz battling with his humongoid monster penis! Batz can even hear his thing talking to him! Freak territory in deed!
Getting sexual pleasure is something of a task for Batz
There is one difference though, between old Henenlotter and new Henenlotter. The old Henenlotter felt grimier. This has to be his slickest looking picture yet, production values apparently went up a bit with this feature. I mean, its still low budget territory, but it looks good in terms of colors and picture quality. Also, on this film he used attractive looking people, which is something I wasn’t used to seeing in his films. Some of the people in the first Basket Case movie for example looked like real bums, drug addicts and whores that Henenlotter might have picked up from the New York City streets. But not on Bad Biology. Bad Biology has good looking people all over. One scene that lets you know this is when a detached penis (yeah, you read that right!) goes on a screwing spree across the city, effectively screwing every beautiful girl in the city! I mean, Henenlotter chose some beautiful actresses for these scenes! So that’s one difference as well. Excessiveness of sexuality is something that was never present in any previous Henenlotter films. Bad Biology has somebody having an orgasm or being involved in some sexual act in one way or another every other five minutes. Also, there is a huge amount of nudity on this one as well. So if you can’t take films that are overtly sexual, don’t even go near this one! If on the other hand you don't mind that sort of thing, then this movie's for you.
Its not that sexuality is something new in Henenlotters films. He had addressed sexuality in previous films, but never as openly and as abundantly as he did in Bad Biology. For some reason, the sexual act is always something frustrating in a Henenlotter film. I remember one scene in Brain Damage in which the slimy creature that lives with the protagonist pretends to be his penis! Pretty shocking scene! Actually, I read somewhere that part of the crew that was filming that scene walked out on it cause they considered it so schocking. So this is something that happens a lot in Henenlotters films, the mixing of the sexual with the freaky. In Basket Case 2, Dwayne is about to have sex with a girl, when suddenly, a creature emerges from her stomach and freaks the hell out of him, effectively changing the perfect image he had of this girl he liked! So frustrating sexual acts have always been a part of Henenlotter films, but Bad Biology takes it to another level, it takes it up a notch.
This movie was partially produced by The Rugged Man, an underground rapper from New York; so this is probably why we hear rap music through out most of the film. Jennifer, the main character in the film is a photographer, and she has a photo shoot with a bunch of rappers, this is the only way in which rap figures into the story, so the use of rap music through out most of the film doesn’t make much sense, except when we remember that The Rugged Man produced it, then it makes perfect sense. But hey, if it wasn’t for The Rugged Man, Henenlotter would probably not have gotten the chance to make this flick, so I guess certain sacrifices had to be made to make this movie. It didn’t really bother me though; some movies have a rock and roll soundtrack for not reason whatsoever, so why not hip-hop? No big deal. I would have preferred a score, rather then rap songs through out the whole movie, but whatever. It wasn’t a big issue for me. The only other negative point is that they used some stop motion animation in one scene, where we see a disembodied penis slithering around like a snake or something. Henenlotter has used stop motion animation in his films since day one, with Basket Case. Some of you out there might let the stop motion animation in Bad Biology pass as part of the charms of watching a b-movie like this one, but others will undoutedly think the effect wasnt achieved very well. You be the judge.
So my final take on this movie is that it’s exactly what you can come to expect from a director like Henenlotter. It dives a bit deeper into the sexual side of things, almost to the point of going overboard. Scratch that, it does go overboard with the kinky stuff. But what the hell, I gotta hand it to the film for sticking so persistently to its themes, even if they are so over the top freaky and sexual. Plus, I’m just glad to see Henenlotter back to making movies after a 16 year hiatus! Welcome back Frank! What's next?!
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5