Parts: The Clonus Horror (1979) (part 7 of 7)

It’s nighttime now, and a bunch of goons are pulling up to Older Richard’s house. Among them is Jeff Knight. Jeff confronts Richard, wanting to talk, and all the men file inside.

Jeff wants to know where the clone is and where the tape is, but Richard claims to have no idea about either. Jeff doesn’t buy it, so Richard responds that they might as well kill him then. But first, he attempts to confuse them by speaking in babble: “Besides, if you kill me, you’re only out a few new parts. Can you do that? Then reprogram my mind so I won’t cause you so much trouble? Maybe even dance at your inauguration?” If you have any clue what he’s talking about, please let me know.

Jeff insists that he “will be president!” One goon holds Richard down while another takes out a hypodermic needle. At this, another Bad Movie staple rears its ugly head as Richard starts referencing the Bible. “Cain raised up, and slew Abel…” Yadda, yadda. After wearing out that cliché, he switches tacks, saying the whole Clonus setup is “clean, simple, neat… Just like Auschwitz!” Yep, I sure can’t get enough references to the Holocaust in bad sci-fi movies, can you?

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At this, Senator Knight goes ballistic and grabs Richard by the collar. Before Goon #2 can inject Richard, Rick walks in. The goons grab him and start pummeling him, which I must admit is a most welcome sight. Then they drag him out to the pool and start dunking his head in the water, demanding to know where the videotape is. Oh, how I’ve longed to see this.

Caption contributed by Albert

Oh, yes. Yes! Yes!

Meanwhile, a brawl breaks out in the living room between Jeff and Richard. Their physical sparring turns out to be just as impressive as their mental sparring back on Jeff’s sailboat. Richard grabs a poker from the fireplace and swings it at Jeff. One guess where this is going.

Meanwhile, Rick is either dead or unconscious. Personally, I don’t care, as long as he’s not delivering any lines. The goons dump him in the pool.

There’s more grappling in the living room as Jeff and Richard both go tumbling to the floor. By pure chance, the senator has impaled himself on the poker, which has now passed cleanly through his chest and out of his back. Gosh, what were the odds of that happening?

Caption contributed by Albert

That’s gotta hurt.

The goons grab Richard and toss him in the pool along with Rick. One goon switches on a nearby radio and throws it in the pool, too. “Electricity” noises are foleyed in, and a small cloud of smoke emerges from the radio. This lets us know that Something Bad has happened to Rick and Richard. Either that, or the radio has self-destructed due to the dreadful easy listening station the goons tuned it to.

We cut to Mr. Walker on the phone again (Nope, we still don’t get to see his face). He’s happy that the “professor and the boy” (that 28 year old “boy”) are dead, but he still wants the videotape. He learns that the tape is at Jake’s house, so he tells his flunky, “Do what you have to do.”

Back to Jake and Anna (remember them?) sitting obliviously in their living room. “Well,” Jake says, “That’s that. Clones, or schmones, whatever the hell they’re called. That whole thing’ll soon be over, I made sure of that!”

Anna, rather underwhelmed by this “uncovering illegal government activities” business, says, “You know, I’ve been sitting here thinking about that young man. If everything they say about how he was born is true… that sure takes the fun out of it!” At this, Jake gets all revved up, if you know what I mean, even referring to Anna as a “salty old lady”. (Meanwhile, throughout this entire scene, we hear ticking in the background. Hmm, can you guess where this is going?) Unfortunately, Anna deflates (ahem) the mood by bringing up Younger Richard again, and prattling on and on about whether or not he’ll be safe.

Jake instantly gets royally pissed that he won’t be getting any. He brushes her off and starts reading the sports page. Meanwhile, that ticking noise gets louder and louder.

Caption contributed by Albert

Jake tells Anna to “talk to the hand”.

They argue for a couple more seconds, until finally, out of nowhere, we cut to some completely unrelated footage of a house exploding, with some dubbed-in screams. This is apparently supposed to be Jake and Anna’s house being blown to bits by Walker’s goons, but the effect is so shoddy that a viewer might believe for a second that some other house somewhere in the world just spontaneously exploded.

Caption contributed by Albert

Next on FOX: When Good Houses Go Boom 3.

Meanwhile at Clonus, Richard has snuck back in. He emerges from the shadows and sees Lena standing in her bedroom window. Ecstatic, he heads up to see her.

Richard walks into her room and calls out her name. Just then, two guides (still in their customary Adidas running suits, of course) jump out of nowhere and start pummeling him. I will give the filmmakers this, they sure do love a good pummeling. Richard falls to the ground and looks up at Lena. She turns around and she’s got a big blank smile on her face, and a scar above her eyebrow. Yep, they did the old R.P. McMurphy number on her. Richard sighs, and frowns a little bit. He may be somewhat bummed out by this turn of events, but it’s hard to tell.

Nelson and Jameson suddenly materialize in Lena’s room, still wearing their white coats. Apparently the two of them had nothing better to do than hang out here in the middle of the night waiting for Richard to come back. Jameson asks Richard if he liked America, just as the guides drag him out of the room. We get another long goofy shot of Lena, cross-eyed and frazzle-haired, looking very much like a rock groupie who just got shared by every member of Motley Crüe.

2005 Comments: And quite amusingly, Lena is very deliberately displaying the “clone blink” here.

Caption contributed by Albert

“I’m a goddamn marvel of modern science!”

Cut to some time later, and some stock footage of a political convention that’s significantly granier than the rest of the film. Delegates are cheering and waving around those tall signs with the names of their states on them. An announcer informs the stock footage delegates that the “nominee” will be out in just a few minutes. Correct me if I’m wrong, but earlier it was established that all of these events were taking place two weeks before the election. Do political parties usually wait until then to have their conventions? Just curious.

We then cut to a podium, but where this exists in relation to the cheering crowds is left a mystery. An aged hand is holding the podium, which we immediately recognize as belonging to “Mr. Walker”. As we finally get a good look at the guy’s face, we see that he’s played by Frank Ashmore, the same actor who played Richard’s friend George earlier in the movie. Yes, that’s right, “Mr. Walker” is actually George Walker, and Younger George is his clone. I have no idea why this revelation was held back until the end of the movie, because it’s not even remotely shocking.

Besides the poorly done old age makeup on George, there’s something else about this that’s completely idiotic to anyone who knows anything about the nature of cloning. If someone cloned you, yes, your clone would be your genetic equal, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to look exactly like you. Sure, there are identical twins who are indistinguishable from one another, but those are the ones who grow up and age in similar environments. That’s because your physical attributes are determined just as much by your environment (how active you are, what you eat, your climate, etc.) as by your genes. You can’t have yourself cloned and expect it to be an exact duplicate of yourself when you were younger.

But I will say this: The one place where this movie almost got it right was in the casting of Younger Richard and Older Richard. Instead of putting old age makeup on Richard, and doing some horrific split-screen effect, they found an actor that looks just enough like him to the point where they could conceivably be related. That’s more or less how things will turn out in real life if cloning ever becomes a reality. So, other than the fact that neither one of them can act, they did a good job in casting these two roles.

2005 Comments: I’ve been corrected on this point many times since this review was posted. Not the point that neither one of them can act, because no one’s disputed that; I’m referring to the cloning thing. Apparently, based on all the current available evidence, there’s nothing to suggest that a clone would have a different facial structure than the original person. The clone might have a different build, different intelligence, and different behavioral characteristics, but for the most part, your genes pretty much determine what you look like. I still think it’s pushing it to say that I could have a clone twenty years younger than me, who could walk into a room and make me immediately stand up and cry, “That’s me!” But, it looks like that’s not quite as impossible as I originally thought. I’m far from being an expert on this particular subject, so thanks to everyone who wrote in over the years to set me straight on the matter.

At the podium, Older George is wearing a button that says “I LIKE KNIGHT”. That’s clever. Also, among all the microphones on the podium, two of them are from NBC. Why would NBC need two microphones?

In addition, it appears Older George wears an eye patch [!]. No, it won’t switch sides like the villain in Firewalker, but at the same time, the film never bothers to explain how he lost an eye. Or, for that matter, why he’s important to the story in the first place.

Caption contributed by Albert

Okay, I’ll go for the easy joke: “Thar he blows!”

Older George introduces Jeff Knight. Jeff is still alive, apparently thanks to Clonus (I guess I misunderstood that earlier line when he said his second clone was “just a baby”). We pull back and see that this room is full of reporters. Again, we’re given no indication of where this is happening in relation to the convention hall we saw earlier. In fact, this turns out to be a rather small press conference. Is it normal practice for a party’s nominee to give a press conference right before he addresses the convention delegates?

We also see that, for no apparent reason, the front of the podium has a sign on it reading “Walker Industries”. I mean, why waste valuable advertising space with a sign that said something as prosaic as “Knight for President”? In addition, our old friend the “heartbeat” sound effect has found its way back on the soundtrack.

Jeff decides to go right for the questions, while the scene is intercut with shots of the frozen clones in the basement at Clonus. This is “ironic”, because the first question for Jeff is about his position on human rights. As he answers, the movie cuts to a close-up of frozen Younger George, who’s missing an eye. This is to help out the total morons in the audience who were wondering why Older George was wearing an eye patch.

In any case, Senator Knight has taken yet another controversial stance, arguing that “any suppression of rights, or infringement of basic liberties, are contrary to the foundations of this country, and as such, cannot and will not be tolerated!” Well, that settles it, he’s getting my vote, that’s for sure!

He calls on a guy in the back who identifies himself as “Birney, Daily Sun.” Birney pulls out a videotape, which is supposed to be the same tape Richard smuggled out of Clonus. Birney wants Senator Knight to “tell us about Clonus.” We zoom in on Jeff and Older George shooting nervous looks at each other. The thumping heartbeat noises on the soundtrack get louder as we cut back to one of the frozen bodies. We pan up and find that, yes, it’s Richard. Shocking! With that, the movie ends.

Caption contributed by Albert

“But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished.”

By the way, among the people thanked in the closing credits are: “Addidas [sic], Huffy Bicycles, Joseph Schultz Brewing Co., Lotus Automobiles, Dr. Pepper, Moorpark College, California, Lutheran College, Yale University [!], Indiana University.” Pity each and every one of these entities, particularly Adidas, whose name the filmmakers couldn’t even be bothered to spell correctly.

2005 Comments: Thanks to the DVD, and in particular to its better picture quality, I was able to make a lot more sense of this ending. On my crappy VHS copy, I was completely unable to see the big gaping wound in Richard’s chest, which lets us know Senator Knight used Richard’s heart as his replacement organ. While not a perfect match, the Senator’s body would probably be far less likely to reject a transplanted heart from a close relative (or his clone) than someone else. And in real life, people get heart transplants from total strangers all the time, so this particular plot point isn’t much of a stretch. It also helps to explain why they put Richard in deep freeze even though Older Richard is dead and can no longer take advantage of his clone’s spare parts. Apparently, poor Richard is going to be used as an organ bank for the Senator and possibly anyone else in the Knight family who happens to need a transplant.

I hope you enjoyed these new comments on Parts: The Clonus Horror. Despite the sarcastic nature of this site, I strive to be as fair as possible to the filmmakers, and I hope these new comments have helped me edge a little bit closer to that goal. To be honest, I still don’t consider this a good movie—the low budget is a serious problem, but not the only problem with this movie—but I have a lot more respect for the filmmakers now that I know about all their various trials and travails. And it’s been said before, but most people would rather watch a memorably bad movie than a movie that’s simply mediocre and forgettable. And in that respect, the filmmakers of Parts: The Clonus Horror succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

Multi-Part Article: Parts: The Clonus Horror (1979)
Tag: Clonus v. DreamWorks

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