Sunday, January 29, 2012

Syngenor (1990)

By 1990, horror was not in the best of shape. The slasher movie had run it's course, much of Italy had moved on from zombies and cannibals, and since the Grindhouses of old were gone, fans had to turn to movie rentals for a fix. A key example of the kind of thing you saw on VHS was George Elanjian Jr.'s "Syngenor", which was actually a sorta sequel to William Malone's debut "Scared to Death" in that it kept the monster design, but did away with everything else.

At Norton Cyberdyne, scientists are hard at work with a new super soldier-a creature called a "Syngenor", or "Synthesized Genetic Organism" that doesn't need water and can reproduce asexually. Well, the critters get loose, and it's up to reporters Nick Cary (Mitchell Lawrence) and Susan Valentine (Star Andreeff) to blow the lid on it all. To make matters worse, company CEO Carter Brown ("Re-Animator's" David Gale) is not only addicted to a strange green drug (reference!), but is losing his mind.

In all honesty, "Syngenor" is not a particularly good movie. Most of the acting is bad, it's a bit slow, it's not as gory as it should be, and it feels kind of redundant at times. That out of the way, it's hardly an awful movie either. That's largely because there's a certain charm to it, be it the rubber-suit monsters (provided by guys who worked on "Aliens" and "The Abyss"), cheap optical effects, dated-but-fun score, over the top weaponry, security that dresses like "Q: Are We Not Men?" era Devo, brief but welcome female nudity, and a few fun kills. Also, the fact that the Syngenor monsters are meant to fight in the Middle East is kind of interesting, considering the fact that we were in the middle of the Gulf War at the time, and those wars that would happen years later...

Best of all though, is David Gale, who delivers a wonderful, scenery chewing performance. In short, he undergoes one of the most bizarre meltdowns in horror history, as he yelps, yells, kills and even wears a bunny mask backwards. He's the main reason to bother with this, and makes up for many of the movie's flaws.

Is "Syngenor" worth a watch? Well, if you crave straight-to-video garbage from the late 80's/early 90's, then this is reasonable enough garbage. Far from a classic, but it could have been much worse.

Rating: 6/10

This is the sole feature length credit for George Elanjian Jr., who also directed videos for Playboy, and lots of television work-including "Wild and Crazy Kids."

Writer Brent V. Freidman also served as a writer for Dan O'Bannon's "The Resurrected", "Infested", the Chuck Norris movie "Hellbound" and "Necronomicon: The Book of the Dead." His most well known credit though, is the "classic" sequel "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation."

1 comment:

  1. Good review, I think I enjoyed the movie a little more than you did though. I think David Gale makes it worth seeing.