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COLONY

An ultra-low budget exercise in bodily mutation horror that should please cult movie fans…provided they’re in a very forgiving mood!

The Package
     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 since.

The Story
     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!

The Direction
     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 synthesizer score.
     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.

 
Vital Statistics

COLONY (COLONY MUTATION)
Tyger Brand Productions, Inc.

Director: Thomas Berna
Producer: Thomas Berna
Screenplay: “Robert Gursha” (Thomas Berna)Cinematography: Steven R. Gatewood
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
 

     

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