Directed by Dario Argento
Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment
We’ve all heard the bad jokes.
Anonymous horny male: “Man! She has got a Butterface”
Anonymous horny male’s horny friend: “What’s a Butterface?”
Anonymous horny male waiting for a rim-shot: “Everything is fine as hell . . . But her face!”
*Insert forty-five minutes of supposed knee-slapping hilarity here*
Okay, so maybe it wasn’t that funny, but you get the idea. In Dario Argento’s entry into the Masters of Horror series, the Butterface in question is Jenifer. She has a killer bod, a killer instinct, and a grill that looks as if it was killed several times already.
When an overworked detective (Steven Weber, who also wrote the screenplay) stops a cleaver-wielding loony from offing a chick who’s been tied up and bent over, his life takes a turn for the worse. Sure, he was just doing his job, but what to do when you save a snaggle-toothed mutant isn’t exactly in the old Detective’s Handbook. This is uncharted territory.
The mutant whom he comes to know as Jenifer (Fleming) is incapable of speech and has absolutely nowhere to go. Pity is taken on the poor thing, but pity later turns into attraction despite Jenifer’s unique looks, and before you know it, Jenifer is shacking up with the detective and his horrified wife.
From there, our favorite mutant-saving dick starts thinking with his dick, thus causing his family life to go to shit while a body count starts piling up. I swear, we men will never learn. Even the ugliest chick is fair game as long as she has a nice rack.
“Jenifer” is far and away one of the highlights of Masters of Horror Season One. Argento crafts a tale of ghastly beauty that will have you looking away in disgust and questioning whether or not you’re just a little bit turned on, all at the same time. The limits are pushed just about as far as you can go here in the States, and as you might expect, there were a few things that ended up not getting into the final product. For instance, to Argento Jenifer is an alien that was dropped off here, not a deformed human. To illustrate that fact he had the F/X wizards of KNB craft an alien vagina out of parts of chicken. Nope. That didn’t get filmed. Also, Dario was infatuated with the idea of Jenifer’s monstrous mouth administering oral sex to her male playmates. These scenes were filmed and are actually included in the episode’s featurettes. Strange crotch-aching stuff. Fear not, even without those sequences included, “Jenifer” still packs enough punch to keep the viewer squealing.
From the moment I started watching “Jenifer,” I knew there was something familiar about it that I could not put my finger on. Thank god for supplemental material because I finally have my answer. According to the DVD’s featurettes, the story of “Jenifer” was adapted from an old comic magazine from the Seventies that I adopted my pen name of Uncle Creepy from titled CREEPY. The tale was penned by Bruce Jones and drawn by the legendary Bernie Wrightson. Finally my deja vu made sense! CREEPY was and still is my favorite magazine. I am positive that I have read this story before.
By now you all know that Anchor Bay’s DVD releases of the Masters of Horror series are brimming with extras. Of particular note here are the interview featurettes, which shine a light on the extraordinary way that “Jenifer” began production — on the Internet via e-mail. Man, how things have changed. Scripts were polished, locations scouted, and actors were hired all while Argento was in Rome working post-production on one of his other films. Pretty damned fascinating.
Also included are the usual extras we’ve become accustomed to like a commentary (this time with writer/actor Steven Weber), behind-the-scenes footage, still galleries, etc.
The Masters of Horror DVD’s kind of spoil us as fans. There’s so much on these single-disc releases that I find myself laughing when other DVD’s come out in double-disc form with only an hour-long featurette on the second disc. The Bay has class and knows how to treat fans. Make room on your shelves, folks; “Jenifer” is yet another keeper.
Commentary by writer/actor Steven Weber and DVD producer Perry Martin
So Hideous My Love – An Interview with Dario Argento featurette
Working With a Master: Dario Argento featurette
Behind The Scenes: The Making of Jenifer featurette
Howard Berger and The Make-Up of Jenifer featurette
On Set: An Interview with Steven Weber
On Set: An Interview with Carrie Anne Fleming
Script To Screen: Jenifer
Dario Argento text bio
Collectible trading card
5 out of 5