An ultra-low budget exercise in bodily mutation horror that should
please cult movie fans…provided they’re in a very forgiving mood!
The super 8mm COLONY, from debuting
writer-producer-director Thomas Berna, first appeared in 1995, and
received surprisingly positive reviews in cult movie ‘zines like
Alternative Cinema and Shock Cinema--and even a multi-page
spread in Fangoria. It was released on VHS (under the title
COLONY MUTATION) by E.I Independent Video in 1996, and on DVD by
Apprehensive Films in 2007, and appears to have disappeared in the years
Jim is a married sales rep for a genetic design firm
who’s romancing his secretary. The affair has been ongoing for some
time, but Jim’s wife only finds out about it when she notices some
suspicious charges on her credit card bill. She confronts Jim and the
two get into a fight, which ends with Jim getting doused with an
experimental serum. Jim’s wife, you see, works in the same laboratory
that employs her husband, and has been cultivating a parasitic
colony--and it’s that very colony with which she splashes Jim.
This causes all sorts of scary changes in Jim’s DNA. He
falls prey to hallucinations and weird bodily mutations; among other
things, his arms have an irritating penchant for detaching themselves
from his torso and slithering off on their own.
In this unsettled state Jim becomes a cannibalistic
killer, picking up needy women, bedding and devouring them. But he
eventually meets his match in the form of Jenny’s gun-toting sister, who
after resisting his advances ends up in an all-out fight to the death
with Jim, his arms, his (flying) penis and even his severed head!
When viewing a film like this one, which appears to
have been made for around $100, one has to be charitable. As a longtime
cult movie enthusiast I’m willing to make allowances when viewing
budget-lite films, but COLONY severely taxed my devotion! I certainly
enjoyed the Cronenbergian mutation scenes, but wasn’t nearly as enamored
with the wooden dialogue, uneventful narrative, inconsistent pacing,
stilted acting, scratchy sound, rubbery special effects, grainy
photography, scratched-up film stock, substandard lighting and tone-deaf
Even the imaginatively conceived
body-parts-running-amok climax is marred by the crudeness of the
enterprise, with hopelessly mismatched special effects shots (including
an animated flying penis that looks like it was filched from an entirely
different movie). There’s plenty of trashy fun to be had from this film,
but again, you’ll need to overlook an awful lot of cruddiness.
COLONY (COLONY MUTATION)
Tyger Brand Productions, Inc.
Director: Thomas Berna
Producer: Thomas Berna
Screenplay: “Robert Gursha” (Thomas Berna)Cinematography: Steven R.
Editing: Brad Snowball
Cast: John Dinco, David Rommel, Anna Zizzo, Susan Cane, Bill Olsen,
Clayton Simchick, Tammy Andersen, Raymond Bradford, Nancy Brown, Steven
F.L. Dompke, Tom Fugina, Gregor Hernandez, Carri Krehl, J. Elizabeth
Marhal, Yeng Monroe