Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
They took actor Michael Caine's advice you see.  Mr. Caine once mused as to why don't filmmakers just remake the crappy movies he's made, instead of the good ones like 'Alfie' or 'Get Carter' or 'Sleuth'.  Of course why anyone would remake 'The Swarm' or 'Jaws Revenge' is beyond me, but I see where the old dude was going with this.  That brings us to today's movie 'The Clonus Horror', a movie from the late seventies, more famous for being lampooned by MST3K than anything else, but Dreamworks went ahead and remade it anyway and called their version 'The Island'.  But be it a good movie or a crappy movie, Dreamworks… you still need permission.  That's what the courts said, not me.  The truth of the matter is that 'The Clonus Horror' isn't really all that bad, even though it's really light on the horror part of its title.

Today is a big day for the oafish George (Frank Ashmore).  He has passed all of the necessary physical tests and finally, after years of training, he's going to America!  A place where everybody is happy and all of your dreams can come true.  The most awesomest place ever!  Unfortunately, when George is wheeled into the operating room lorded by Darren #2 (Dick Sargent), he's actually going to be embalmed alive, placed in a plastic bag and put in the frozen attic with the rest of his dead clone buddies who have been organ harvested in one way or another.  Poor George.

Unlike George though, Clone Richard (Tim Donnelly) isn't quite so slow.  Whereas most of the clones are genetically designed to be idiots, Richard and his control group are allowed to keep a large portion of their cognitive thinking abilities, for testing purposes, which in retrospect was really stupid.  This has led to Richard being very curious about a lot of stuff
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going on around him that makes very little sense.  Then Richard meets the voluptuous Lena (Paulette Breen), a woman who has turned the simple act of bike riding into a front row spectator sport.  Lena is  also on the smart side, and thus when these the two put their heads together, as well other body parts, they come to the conclusion that there are questions that need answers and those answers lie outside their compound and out somewhere in this place called America.

So Richard enacts a daring info gathering assault on headquarters, and an even more daring escape mission, and soon he's out in the world, along with a couple of gunshots to the back.  He's found by a kindly old dude (Keenan Wynn) who happens to be a reporter who takes Richard to the original Richard Knight (David Hooks), a kindly philosophy professor.  There's a strange thing about this scene however.  Lounging in the pool in a tiny Speedo is Ricky Knight (James Mantell), Richards adult son.  Now when we see an old man in a bathrobe by a pool and a young stud in the pool damn near naked, we automatically think the worst.  We apologize to the Knights for this, that is until Ricky started interacting with his dad's clone.  Because we think, according to the way this was presented, that Ricky loves his dad.  I mean he really loves his dad in a way you shouldn't love your dad.  That's just what we got out of that. 

Anyway, original Richard needs to find out what's going on so he consults his baby brother and presidential nominee Jeff (Peter Graves) who gives him the whole low down.  At first original Richard is appalled at the concept of mining humans for spare parts, until Jeff told him that the people behind this will kill his ass if he says anything.  Now Richard is all compliant and stuff.  The problem for the Clone company is that Clone Richard also stole a video tape which details everything about the clone process and the evil cloners need this back.  Why they made this video is beyond me, but who knows about evil cloners?

Now that Clone Richard knows that America is some bullshit, metaphorically speaking, he has to get back home to save his girl, who is being tortured by Darren #2.  Also, the evil cloners have arrived at original Richard's home, with his brother Jeff by their side, to find out where the videotape is.  Now original Richard knows how bad this stinks and he's not having any of it.  Bad move old man.  For your whole bloodline.  Let's just say Clone Richard won't be giving his parts to his original self.  But can Clone Richard save his buxom clone girlfriend before they lobotomize her?  And will Evil Clone Corp. get theirs?

Robert S. Fiveson's 'The Clonus Horror' isn't really near bad enough to deserve the MST3K treatment, plus it possesses some borderline brilliant concepts wrapped around a very low budget and some questionable acting.  And it has the underlying concept of being gay for your cloned dad, which is freaking mind blowing.  Maybe.  I might've made that up.

But a son being gay for his dad aside, there is something oddly involving about this movie.  Again, it just could be the way it handled the cloning concepts, or Tim Donnelly's rather unique approach to the craft of acting, or Paulette Breen's figure, or Peter Graves hair, or Fiveson's desperate attempts to keep his low budget film in constant motion.  And there is something inherently evil about the late Dick Sargent.  This is why Dick York was always preferred because Darren #2 looked like an asshole just waiting to happen.  That totally worked here. 

Despite the flaws of 'The Clonus Horror', of which there are many… overall poor acting, non-existent set design, a great concept somewhat under developed as it tried to veer more towards an action movie… I ultimately enjoyed this movie. 
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