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Movies Kelly Parks

Review by
Kelly Parks

Embryo
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EMBRYO - 1976
MGM
Rating: USA - PG

Sometimes a movie opens with a cool quote, which can be a good thing as long as they don't treat the audience like illiterate morons by having a narrator read the quote to you (they didn't). And sometimes the movie can be just as cool and insightful as the quote promises. Sometimes.

First, the quote:

"The film you are about to see is not all science fiction. It is based upon medical technology which currently exists for fetal growth outside the womb. It could be a possibility tomorrow…or today."

- Charles R. Brinkmen III, M.D.

Now, the movie:

Ralph Nelson (CHARLY, TWILIGHT ZONE [TV]) directed EMBRYO and Anita Doohan (WHISPERS, SECOND TO DIE) wrote it. It stars Rock Hudson (SECONDS, PRETTY MAIDS ALL IN A ROW) as Dr. Paul Holliston, a researcher in embryology. Paul is driving in the rain when a Doberman chooses the wrong moment to cross the street. Paul takes the injured dog home, where he and Martha (Diane Ladd: CHINATOWN, SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES), his sister-in-law, bring the dog to Paul's medical lab. We find out that Paul is a researcher as well as an M.D., but he hasn't been in the mood to do much work since the tragic death of his wife several months ago.

Paul calls his son Gordon (John Elerick: EARTHQUAKE) in the middle of the night and tells him to bring medical supplies. Gordon eagerly complies. He and his father haven't spoken much since the tragedy. Gordon's pregnant wife Helen comes along and everyone seems to get along great. They see that Paul is uncertain if he can save the dog. He's surgically removed her puppies so that at least they will survive. The puppy fetuses float in watery beakers, moving ever so slightly.

The poor mother dog and most of the fetuses go to doggy heaven. In a desperate attempt to save the last puppy, Paul decides to use an experimental fetal growth hormone he and his wife were working on before her death. The drug works better than expected and in a few days the puppy is a full-grown adult Doberman.

Paul passes off the dog to his sister-in-law (who apparently moved in after the death of her sister) by saying the dog is the one he hit, all better now.

The dog is more than healthy. Side effects of the growth hormone appear to include super intelligence. Paul simply can't resist. He must try it with a human infant. He asks a doctor friend at the local hospital to let him know of any unwanted infants that are certain to die. Soon enough, one becomes available.

The result of this experiment is Victoria (Barbara Carrera: NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN), a beautiful, super intelligent woman who seems perfect in every way. But then…

Gah! Enough lies! I've been trying to make this sound interesting but the truth is this is a horrifically dull movie. It's about 70% exposition as Paul endlessly narrates. Time and again I was very tempted by the fast forward button, but as your humble movie critic, I knew it was my duty to take the bullet for you, gentle reader.

One good thing that did come from the experience, of course, is a

!!!SCIENCE MOMENT!!!:
The growth hormone is pure drivel, but the concept of an artificial womb is sound. It has turned out to be more difficult than scientists thought but it is coming. Imagine the implications: No more premature infants or miscarriages. No more painful, medically risky childbirth. Total control over when and where babies are born. No more women lording it over men about the "pain" they go through!

Two more things must be mentioned here. First, the lighting director needs to be strung up by his bulbs. Almost every scene was so poorly lit you could hardly see the bad acting. And second, when you're done with the lighting director you need to apply the same treatment to whoever transferred this film to DVD. The quality is very low.

Barbara Carrera's nude scene helps, but even so EMBRYO gets one negative shriek girl.

Shriek Girls
This review copyright 2004 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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Okay, so Kelly gave this flick a poor rating, but I can still think of at least two good reasons why you should buy it.

#1. It helps to support this site!
#2. Barbara Carrera nekkid!


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