Like most Love & Pop readers (well, the older ones anyway) I first encountered the legend of Frank Henenlotter through the pages of Fangoria magazine. His 1982 film Basket Case was getting loads of press and the gory stills certainly piqued the interest and the film was certainly worth the wait. I mean it had 42nd st flophouses, porn cinemas, winos, prostitutes and, best of all, a demented killer being carried around New York in a basket by his brother.
Later Henenlotter films were also unique with Brain Damage and Frankenhooker most noteworthy. I wasn’t a great fan of the Basket Case sequels but they had their moments. Needless to say legions of gorehounds have been long awaiting the return of this maverick filmmaker and Bad Biology has all the trademarks of a Henenlotter film.
The story follows the two aforementioned sexual freaks, one created by nature, one created by misadventure and steroid abuse, destined to collide in a sexual Hiroshima.
Charlee Danielson plays Jennifer, an aspiring photographer born with the aforementioned seven clits. This proves problematic in her everyday love-life as her sexual trysts become so intense that she literally fucks her paramours to death. Another bizarre side effect of her freakish condition is a minute gestation period, resulting in deformed offspring being born mere hours after her latest coupling.
Batz (Anthony Sneed) is grappling (literally) with problems of his own. After a mishap at birth he was left with short-comings in the penis department. His answer to this problem is to inject all kinds of pharmaceuticals into his once flaccid doodle and create a cock that would make John Holmes envious. It’s not a perfect solution though. This cock becomes as demanding as the plant in Little Shop of Horrors, needing satisfaction and gratification and, along the way, deciding maybe it’d be better off on its own. This leads to one of the film’s most memorable sequences as the penis detaches and goes on a rape spree, breaking through walls and climbing up legs till it enters the warm and moist surrounds of fuzzy town.
Along the way we meet all kinds of patented weird Henenlotter characters including porn models, a crackwhore (brilliantly portrayed by Eleonore Hendricks, surely a shoe-in to play Nancy Spungen if they remake the “Sid and Nancy” story!), vagina-faced models, scream-queen Tina Krause playing herself and there’s even a cameo by grindhouse favourite James (The Exterminator) Glickenhaus. And only a select few filmmakers would show the view from inside a vagina looking out.
The film rolls along at a good pace and, like all of Frank’s films, is never boring or predictable. The only fault I can find would be in the (thankfully) short stop-motion sequence, it may be a tribute to the early stop-motion work in films like Basket Case (or not) but it’s decidedly clunky. Given that the leads have to date only ever appeared in this film they both do an admirable job carrying the movie.
Welcome back Frank, it’s nice to see you haven’t mellowed over the years.