Bad Biology (2008)

Bad Biology (click for larger image)Reviewed by Evil Andy

Starring Charlee Danielson, Tom Kohut, Krista Ayne, Anthony Sneed

Directed by Frank Henenlotter

Imagine if you will that you’re Frank Henenlotter, director of cult classics like Basket Case and Brain Damage. You’ve been saving up all the twisted filth and dirty jokes you can since your last film sixteen years ago. Along comes a producer in the form of notorious rapper R.A. “The Rugged Man” Thorburn, who offers to put up the majority of the cash to make your new film, with no punches pulled. What do you do? You make a big ass withdrawl, clean out all that crud you’ve been accruing and you put it all up on screen. Bad Biology may not be the best Henenlotter film, but after this many years, the fact that there even is a new Henenlotter film, never mind one that still feels like the stuff he was putting out twenty years ago is pretty incredible. Make no mistake folks, after a hiatus long enough to pop out a progeny of your own, and have them drive you to the mall, Frank Henenlotter is back and in badder taste than ever!

Bad Biology tells the porno-romantic tale of Jen, born with seven clits and a libido to match, and Glen, born with a non-functional penis that he whips back into monstrous shape via a lifetime series of steroid injections. Jen seems to kill every regular dick she sleeps with, and Glen’s afraid to even let his jumbo worm out of the can. There’s a certain lack of tension in the film since it’s clear from the start that the point of the movie is to get them in bed together, but, even then Henenlotter pulls a No Country For Old Men and intentionally robs the audience of some of payoff they were expecting. Best monster cock in a supporting role goes to…

Bad Biology (click for larger image)Some might complain that the film is overlit, too bright, and lacks the dingy New York feel of Henenlotter’s older films. Certainly, despite a bunch of self referencing sight gags (the blue liquid and puple veiny monsters of Brain Damage, an unlucky prostitute in Frankenhooker wear, etc), the cinematography is surprisingly clean and bright for a Henenlotter flick. But hey, have you been to New York lately? Times Square is dead! If Bad Biology is Henenlotter’s Disney film, you’ve got Giuliani to blame!

Other notable departures from the typical Henenlotter vibe come courtesy of R.A. Thorburn’s influence. The soundtrack is almost all hip hop, and numerous supporting actor roles are filled by Thorburn’s rapper friends and associates. Bad Biology is also more preoccupied with sex than violence, and certainly more interested with bursting the condom of good taste than it is with developing characters and story. In some ways Bad Biology is a greatest hits loop of Henenlotter moments, but it does lack a little of the narrative cohesion and character motivation of his best films.

Small complaints aside, fans of Frank Henenlotter should definitely seek Bad Biology out. If you squint and wish in some ways it feels like it could be a sequel to Frankenhooker or a prequel to Brain Damage. Oftentimes legendary directors making comeback films result in major disappointment. Not so in this case. It’s commendable, and damn amazing that Henenlotter has been able to craft a film that could so easily fit alongside movies he made twenty years ago. It’s even more incredible that at nearly sixty, he’s been able to maintain his zeal and talent for the sleazy and offensive. Bravo sir!

3 1/2 out of 5

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