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DNA

Cabin Fever

Slogan: Don’t Mess With Mother Nature.

In the Philippines, DNA from the bones of a space monster is mixed with a smushed-up tropical insect to create a superfighter creature in this “A William Mesa Film.” With Das Boot’s Jürgen Prochnow scowling villainously, things begin à la Raiders, then become Jurassic Park, then Alien, then Predator, then Rambo, then Predator again, all to a soundtrack reminiscent of Batman. Plus: The cute tyke gets killed. Minus: Not until the end. EJECT.

HYBRID

Crowd Pleasers

Slogan: An Experiment Gone Haywire.

In the future, DNA from an alien is mixed with snake and cockroach DNA and injected into humans in order to make superfighter creatures. The close-ups of the plastic monster head kinda minimize the fright factor. How futuristic is it? Scientists are still using VHS tape. Grant the film an Oscar for most inventively forced shower scene, which features scream queen Brinke Stevens, and give another one for gall to the blonde obviously reading her lines off cue cards. John Barrymore III is no John Barrymore II, however. EJECT.

HABITAT

A-Pix

Slogan: Welcome to a Living Hell.

After the ozone layer has been destroyed, a renegade scientist discovers “accelerated evolution,” but an accident turns his house into a living thing and him into a superevolved Tinkerbell light show within it. The rain-forest sets are keen, and Balthazar Getty is a convincing “Young Charlie Sheen,” but while this Canada-Netherlands co-production of “A René Daalder Film” is visually stylish—especially when the house is eating people—it is also utterly insane in its apocalyptic dystopian vision. The haunting theme song begins thusly: “In the garden of our love, many things may grow.” EJECT.

JACK FROST

A-Pix

Slogan: He’s Chillin’…And Killin’.

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A serial killer is caught in a blast of “genetic research material” and his, yes, DNA, becomes one with the snow. That means he turns, literally, into Frosty. Director Michael Cooney displays flashes of dark wit, and before he has to put on the costume, Scott MacDonald is pretty good. But who can be scary with a carrot nose and an old top hat? The costume is right out of an elementary-school pageant, and choking scenes only reveal Frosty’s fuzzy mittens. I probably should have reviewed this last month, but the holidays are hard enough. Nice 3-D box art, though. Because it must be seen to be believed: PLAY.

SANTA WITH MUSCLES

Cabin Fever

In America, steroids are injected into professional wrestlers in order to make superfighter creatures. I’m guessing that Hulk Hogan’s DNA now resembles the outline for this script: curly, crazy, and indecipherable without a microscope. Ed Begley Jr. is no John Barrymore I, but neither is Clint Howard nor Garrett Morris. All of them, however, should perhaps emulate the career savvy of Drew Barrymore (not that we need to see any of them naked). I probably should have reviewed this last month, but it’s really for children who don’t believe in Santa. Or much of anything. “Being Santa opened my eyes. And I didn’t like what I saw,” emotes the Hulkster. Substitute “watching” for “being” and I couldn’t agree more. EJECT.

THE MILLIONAIRES EXPRESS

Tai Seng

Slogan: A Slap-Stick Western Romp With Kung Fu Kick.

Take Buster Keaton’s The General, set it in China, add kung fu and about 18,000 subplots—new characters and stories pop up every couple of minutes, the scenes ranging in tone from Love, American Style style to Three Stooges slapstick—and you still may not have an accurate description of this Sammo Hong wide-screen rice-noodle western. Competing gangs vie for a train filled with rich people, and everything—and I mean everything—comes to a head in a small frontier town. Blink and you’ll miss Cynthia Rothrock and Richard Norton. And several subplots. But there are enough outrageous stunts to give one PAUSE.

GALAXY GIRLS

MTI

“Fast-forward until we find some space aliens, ’cause I’m getting tired of this,” said my friend Patty. She was right, “this” being tedious dialogue and a leaden plot. Then suddenly, and arbitrarily, the monster was upon us. “Kick-ass alien!” Patty exclaimed, and I had to smile. She was probably unfamiliar with the old trick of renting a surfer’s wet suit and adding a bulbous rubber monster head to achieve an otherworldly lifeform effect that is quite stunning in its glaring fraudulence. Patty undoubtedly hasn’t seen as many films by 13-year-olds as I have. But co-producer/star Gail Harris is an adult, a veteran of many “women’s erotica” films, and the fact that the producer-directors share the same last name may explain the one perfunctory “love” scene. There’s a cameo by veteran B-director Fred Olen Ray, who has made slightly better films, and while Gail has a certain Aussie charm, the girl on the box is not in the movie. EJECT.

—Dave Nuttycombe

Next month: Oh, that’s gotta hurt!