Friday, February 18, 2011

Canon MST3K Review: Parts: The Clonus Horror

Episode 811 of Mystery Science Theater 3000 featured the 1979 movie Parts: The Clonus Horror. Directed by Robert Fiveson, who did not direct another feature film before or since, Parts: The Clonus Horror stars Peter Graves, Dick Sargent (Bewitched), Keenan Wynn (Nashville, Dr. Strangelove), and Tim Donnelly (Emergency!). In this film, a group of scientists run a clone farm known as Clonus, in which the clones are brainwashed and are put through numerous exercises in order to keep in shape. When the time is right, the clones are eventually chosen to be sent to the great land known as America. In actuality, the clones are killed off and harvested for organs so that those fortunate enough to be cloned (i.e. rich white people) can live longer. However, a clone named Richard (Donnelly) discovers an empty Old Milwaukee beer can in the river and starts to get curious about where this great beer can came from. Also, Richard meets up with a girl named Lena, and they both have some tag implanted in their ears which I guess signifies that they haven't been lobotomized, although judging by the blank stares on their faces for most of the movie you sure couldn't tell. Anyway, a few notes about this movie, and there are SPOILERS about this and possibly another film, so read carefully.

- The film's biggest star is probably Peter Graves, and to say that he phoned in his performance would be too kind. According to, Graves did all of his scenes in one day, and after seeing this movie I definitely believe that. Graves plays a presidential candidate named Jeff Knight who makes an appearance at the beginning of the movie then disappears for an hour, only to come back as one of the head men behind Clonus. Not only that, but he's a client, as he had a heart transplant two years prior to the events of this film. Say what you want about the moral implications of Clonus, it is successful, provided of course that you have the money to have a clone.

- The men behind Clonus may know a lot about cloning, but they sure as hell don't know anything about security. When Richard attempts his breakout into America, he is not only able to get into a room with highly confidential material because the door was wide open, but he has time to dig through all the files and even watch half of a video tape while he's at it. Then when he makes his run for it, the guards chasing him only land a glancing blow to the arm despite firing multiple shots, and then for the grand finale, Richard is able to climb over a four-foot fence at the edge of the grounds into 'America'. Um, not to judge or anything, but shouldn't they have built a bigger fence? While they're at it, they could have put barbed wire around it or electrified it or something instead of putting up a fence even Hornswoggle can climb with ease.

- I must applaud the producers for their use of product placement in this film. Not only was there Old Milwaukee mentioned in the film, but the entire student body of Clonus were decked out in Adidas gear. Heck, the beginning of the film might as well been an Adidas commercial as there are countless shots of people running and biking and coaches barking orders all while wearing Adidas clothing. Of course, in the final credits the company name was misspelled as Addidas, but I'm sure everyone got the idea.

- The strangest part of this movie was probably all the clones being drained of blood and stored in vac-dry bags, but a close second would be what took place after Richard broke out and met up with his clone (who just happened to be Senator Knight's brother Richard). After Richard the original leaves the room, his son Rick tries to put the clone at ease and offers him some clothes, but with all the touching and massaging you would think he was trying to seduce him or something. A few minutes later, Richard tries to run out, but Rick catches him, and he ends up just holding the clone against the car while seemingly looking longingly in his eyes. I almost thought they were going to start making out right then and there. Personally, I chalk that one up to bad acting as the actor that played Rick never had another role in anything since, but if they were really trying to put in a homosexual subtext in those scenes then that would just be weird. Not because of the male being attracted to another male part, but rather that the man was attracted to a clone OF HIS OWN FATHER. I mean, that's some Freudian stuff right there. Then again, I may be too tired and just reading too much into some bad acting.

- While Parts: The Clonus Horror wasn't a popular or well-received film, it did have one fan in particular, a Michael Bay. Bay liked the movie so much that he made his own version of it, the 2005 film The Island. This did not sit well with the Clonus producers, so they sued Bay and Dreamworks Entertainment for copyright infringement, citing over 100 similarities between the two films. Personally, I've never seen The Island, and now that I've seen Parts: The Clonus Horror, I guess I don't have to.

- Normally, the host segments in MST3K are some of the best parts of any episode. In this episode, that wasn't really the case, as each segment had Pearl and her gang of misfits entertaining some evil orphan children from space. At first, it was kind of funny, but after the fourth segment or so it just got old. Except for the part where the one kid played by Mike kept throwing balls at Bobo's crotch. I must say that was pretty funny.

- In 1979, short shorts were the style, and this movie had a lot of short shorts. This was not a good thing for the most part, and reached ridiculous proportions once they had Peter Graves sitting down in some mid-thigh shorts. I did not care for that at all.

Overall, Parts, The Clonus Horror actually didn't seem like too bad a concept on paper. However, it's execution is lacking as the movie suffered from poor pacing (You could skip the first 45 minutes or so and not really miss anything important) and a lack of acting talent. Perhaps a more experienced director and crew could have made Parts: The Clonus Horror a good movie that makes the viewer think about such issues like the morality of cloning and the rich-poor themes illustrated in this film, but instead the film comes across as a mediocre sci-fi film that looks like a TV movie of the week. Overall, I'd give the movie a 3 out of 10, and the episode a 5.5 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you any ideas for future posts, or thoughts about this post, than either leave a comment on the blog or send them to me at e-mail at

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