"That's a nice-a donut."

Monday, September 05, 2005

Parts: The Clonus Horror (1979)

In Parts: The Clonus Horror, America is a magical, happy place that masses of people aspire to be able to go to. It is a place where dreams can come true, and in a small community in the middle of anywhere people leap at the opportunity and hope that they will soon be qualified and accepted into America. It is a strange, unusual place where many of the people wear what look to be earrings and each person has a distant and unfettered air about them. But we soon learn that this small community is living in a secure encampment and that, well, they already are in America. In fact they are located within sight of the greater Los Angeles region.

Richard (Tim Donnelly) is one of the residents of the community, who gradually becomes suspicious of his surroundings. He finds a foreign object but receives a lame explanation from the leaders about what it is, and the shady doctor (Dick Sargent, the second Darrin on Bewitched) only helps to fuel his wonder. Richard eventually learns the horrifying truth that he is a clone, leading to a wild chase and a threat on his life. What he doesn't know is that the people after him are more powerful than he could ever imagine, and have truly sinister uses in mind for him and his companions.

The Clonus Horror, though a low budget affair, has some original ideas and clearly set its sights on being a broad, sweeping entry into the science fiction pantheon. It attempts to preach about the ethics and morality of cloning, and tries to infuse a love story, but misses the mark on both by lapsing into a second-rate drama lacking any suspense, emotion or identity. The scripting is also sometimes lazy, as characters seemingly speak out their internal monologues, instead of the action or plot being visually evident. There are generally very low production values all around; in many places the pacing and structure felt like a typical late 1970s or early 80s television show like CHiPs or The A-Team, for example.

Of special note is that the recent Michael Bay film The Island has some strong similarities to the plot of this movie. In fact, the makers of Clonus have filed a lawsuit which seeks damages and attempts to block The Island from being released further. After all, in America it is better to stop the clones before it's too late.

The Verdict: C-.


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