Metamorphosis (1990)

APRIL 25, 2007


“You promised me there would be no strings attached!”
"No one wants to attach strings.”

Dialogue exchanges like that run abound in Metamorphosis, to the point where I began to think that the script was run through a babelizer for a while before filming began.

This one could almost count as a remake, since it copies Cronenberg’s The Fly almost verbatim at times. The Eric Bana-y scientist/monster kicks some ass at a bar, there’s an ex-lover/scientific rival (a guy who looks like Billy Crystal) who the main girl goes back and forth with, a final transformation complete with the “Don’t look at me!” theatrics, etc. David should sue, but I’m sure he’s got better things to do, like appear in Jason X.

Yes, once again, a visionary scientist is in danger of losing his funding, and thus tries his highly experimental (and so far completely unsuccessful) serum on himself. Do these people live in cities without homeless people? “Spare some change?” “No, but look: I’ll give you a hundred bucks if you stick this needle in your eye.” Done and done.

However, some of the low-budget charm is… charming (wow, lazy). The university is clearly a high school (maybe even grade school), the dean’s office looks like a receptionist’s cubicle, and the final stage of monster makeup… well, look.

Awww, he’s cute. And there’s even some admirable attempts at levity (such as when a guard is seen reading Crichton’s "Terminal Man", in a scene that would have been better if it had included a drum sting). The film also features the most aggressive college slut in film history. Whores are always good for a laugh!

But perhaps the writer thought the film may have been getting too light, as the poor lass is beaten and raped later on in a “Monster does something he can’t remember the next morning” sequence (and upon figuring it out, Bana II goes nuts and beats her again. See? Not EVERY part of the movie is quite so “charming”). Actually, now that I think about it, it’s also a lot like Track of the Moon Beast, except there’s no Johnny Longbone character to teach us how to make stew.

It’s kind of sad when a needlessly mean-spirited attack on an innocent slut is pretty much the most exciting part of the film. But it seems most of the movie is designed to hide the fact that they didn’t have any money. They don’t even kill anyone! Such as the bar scene: the one woman in the place (OK?) turns out to be a woman that our “hero” raped and beat the night before (not the slut mentioned earlier; apparently, he only blacks out and attacks women). Um, shouldn’t she be dead, like this stock character from a million other monster movies usually is? Oh well.

In addition, some of the plotting doesn’t really make any goddamn sense, such as when we are treated to a scene of him playing racquetball. “Let’s show how strong he’s gotten by having the ball rip through his racquet as he hits it!”, the writer said to himself. Well, in thoughtless theory, that’s fine, but if you think about it, all this really does is let the audience know that the BALL is stronger than before. Or that his racquet kind of sucks.

It also strangely reminds me of Devil Fish for some reason. That, if you weren’t sure, is not a compliment.

What say you?


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