811. Parts: The Clonus Horror (1979)

Michael Bay remade this? Isolated Compound? Check. Clones farmed as spares? Check. The rich and powerful benefit? Check. The replicas are kept separate from society? Check. “Lucky” winners disappear? Check. Not to be seen again? Check. Our hero discovers the truth? Check. And runs off? Check. Only to meet himself? Check. DreamWorks Pictures settles out of court compensating Clonus writers and producers a seven figure sum? Check. Literally. Mike’s Mustache, Space Children, Public Kids Shows, The Birds and The Bees, Crow’s Nose Job. “Mike, I think the voices in my head are a little louder than usual”, “Hey a supermodel factory!”, “Bag your own people and save at SuperValu.” “Julia Child’s Secret Freezer” or “Hooray for the 70s!!!”?

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811 Promos.

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Coming To America.

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Such a '70s movies. Nihilistic, dystopic, no record of it actually being released…

Wikipedia says only this:

Box office gross for the film in the United Kingdom at the end of 1979 ended at £1,680,000.[7] By November 1979, the film grossed nearly $3,000,000.[3]

This very odd construction makes it seem as though Clonus caused the UK to change their currency from Pounds to Dollars. But if we look at the box office for 1979 domestically:

We’ll see no mention of it, even though the #40 entry The Passage grossed only about a million.

The Passage is a mostly forgotten star-studded WWII film that probably inspired Tarantino along with Fred Williamson’s Inglorious Bastards from that very same year.

Also, how cool is it that Star Wars made $6M in 1979 in its 3rd year of release?

The worldwide chart also does not show any mention of this movie.

Does it even exist? Or is it like…women?

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SOL TV.

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Mike’s Mustache.

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The lead clone guy in the movie has the best sad sack face I’ve ever seen.

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America party!!

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I stand by my earlier opinion that Graves is better as villain than hero. Same with Clu Gulager. Both of them have this constant vibe of white-bread chilly detachment which suits evildoing more than heroism.

And once more: a big raspberry to the writers for doing a mean-spirited lol!ugly mustache skit in two different episodes separated by one season.

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One of the last pessimistic science fiction movies of the 1970s. It occurred to me some time ago that the setup is rather like the anime series The Promised Neverland, which is quite good so long as you don’t follow up with the horrible second season. Should you decide to check it out yourself, I ought to warn you that the character Krone has all sorts of Unfortunate Implications (though I believe these were done out of ignorance rather than malice).

It’s this close to being a good movie. Unfortunately, one of the most pivotal scenes also happens to be the most contrived, as Richard uncovers the Department of Backstory, a lightly guarded facility where he has little trouble learning details about the Clonus Project and his own origin. Looking at it, there really was no graceful way to accomplish this necessary piece of narrative. A shame, because otherwise it could be considered a quality film. The ending is kind of weird, as if it wants to be downbeat but is unable to fully commit.

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I actually like the mini-surprise at the end. See also: Watchmen (the original story. I have no idea about the movie).

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Would love to see this movie redistributed in a steelcase edition that comes with a hat that looks like a muffin. Over.

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You actually feel sorry for him. Specially that last shot.

image

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Today?

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Some day I’ll have the perfect setup to tell someone “Go eat a mushroom, Mario,” and my life will be complete.

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Obligatory depressing 70s sci-fi movie ending clip.

This film’s not so bad. It’s got an interesting premise that it doesn’t really seem to know what to do with and it’s depressing, but that’s what we’ve got Mike and the bots for!

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Were there ever this many Biography references in any other experiment?

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Not even Beginning of the End!

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Must be his white hair in this one. He looks like he does on A&E.

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There are episodes you love right from the start, but this falls under a more interesting banner: the boomerang experience.

That is, I had trouble with this one at first. There were great riffs and jokes, but the movie? Hoo boy. A really downbeat sour experience. We’ve had MST3K episodes with down endings before - The Girl in Lovers Lane, anyone? - but this one felt particularly stark with all our likeable (well… non-villainous, at the least) characters meeting some really bad ends.

It’s weird with MST3K, because there are episodes that have movies with dark endings that I especially love/champion, and there are movies with dark endings that I don’t champion quite as vigorously. I don’t know why that is. I guess it’s just the sum total of things, you know?

On the whole for me, I’m more likely to put an episode into frequent rotation that don’t leave me bummed out. Yeah, The Incredibly Strange Creatures doesn’t end well, but it’s all so silly and ridiculous that that ending doesn’t register. You pick up what I’m throwing down?

Anyways, I’ve blabbed long enough to say this: the episode plays a lot better for me now than it did once upon a time. Not exactly sure why that is, but it hits as a stronger episode these days, and another reason why Season 8 is so damn good.

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