Monday, February 9, 2009

Progeny (USA, 1999)

(Trailer) Some bad movies are simply lousy, others are so bad as to be good, and others are unbelievably putrid. Guess what Progeny is. Unbelievably enough, this piece of unforgivable crap was not only directed by Brian Yuzna, the man who gave us such splatter classics as Society (1989/trailer), The Bride of Re-Animator (1990/trailer) and The Dentist (1996/trailer), but the story was also supplied by the one and only Stuart Gorden. Could it be that neither actually had anything to do with this movie, but simply sold the right to use their names? My mom could do better than this, and she’s been dead for five years.....
Basically, the infertile Dr Craig Burton (Arnold Vosloo) has sex with his wife Sherry (Jillian McWhirter) and suddenly hours have slipped by — many too many hours for anyone other than the most practiced tantric guru or Jamie Gillis to have kept an erection. Suddenly wifey is pregnant, and the baby seems malignantly evil. Could it be that while they were screwing aliens came down, sedated the couple and impregnated Sherry? Could it be that Dr. Burton is merely a bit psycho and is having problems coming to terms that he’s gonna be a daddy? Could Sherry be delusional? Do we care? The special effects are laughable in this film, the aliens looking and moving like the blow up dolls one can buy in every tourist trash shop in the world. The impregnation scenes mildly disturbing, but dulled by repetitious showings — though, oddly enough, each alien insemination scene, all seemingly of the same event, is completely different (maybe the aliens aren’t too fertile either — but perhaps it is an attempt by the filmmakers to cast doubt on the veracity of the lead character’s sanity). The aspect of Burton’s sanity verses possible delusional tendencies is poorly presented, the events happening all being too literal for anyone (but other characters in the film who don’t witness the events) to doubt Burton’s sanity. Wilford Brimley is totally miscast as Dr. David Wetherly, Sherry’s gynecologist and Burton’s coworker and friend — most women have something against their gynecologist kissing them hello when they lie there with their legs hiked and spread, their beaver for the world to see. (Likewise, co-workers and professionals or not, most men who don’t have that special kink tend to dislike having a friend get too close to the lovebox of their wives.)
Progeny might be a good film to show your girlfriend when her biological clock starts ticking too loudly, but in general it is a bleak and boring film, full of illogical holes and terribly acted. True, as always Brad Dourif does a good job, his acting abilities contradicting his present position as B-movie & video-fodder character actor, a position forever ununderstandable considering his stellar beginnings in such films as One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975/trailer), Eyes of Laura Mars (1978) and Wise Blood (1979). But one decent acting job can’t save a boring, badly conceived and terribly made film.

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