If you look at the promo art for the 1995 movie Colony Mutation, then you might be fooled. It kind of looks like the Gigeresque nightmares from the Alien movies, right? But that’s where you’d be fooled. The movie is about something a lot closer to home.
Okay, So’s What the 1995 Movie Colony Mutation About, Then?
Jim Matthews (David Rommel) is a hot-shot sales representative at a company that does genetic engineering. He and coworker Jenny Dole (Joan Dinco) are having an affair. That would be a bad idea all on its own, but it’s even worse for Jim. His wife, Meredith Weaver (Anna Zizzo) also works at the company.
And as if that isn’t bad enough already, then hold on to your limbs, because things can always get worse. You see, Meredith isn’t a sales rep like her husband or a secretary like his side piece. Instead, she’s a scientist, one of the folks that does the actual genetic designing. Once she finds out that Jim can’t keep his chromosomes to himself, she wants revenge.
So she splashes him with a failed serum. Instead of promoting limb regeneration like it’s supposed to do, this serum disconnects limbs and creates a symbiotic relationship with them. In other words, Jim’s limbs are a colony unto themselves, and they’re hungry for blood. Jim then starts stalking young women. Great plan, Meredith. Couldn’t you have just gotten a divorce? Then again, she found out about the affair because Jim charged a motel room to their joint credit card. How do you two work at a genetic engineering firm?
One and Done: Behind the Scenes of This Colony
Colony Mutation is director Tom Berna’s one and only movie. Not only did he direct it, but he also wrote it, under the pseudonym Robert Gursha. However, Berna’s film work is largely in sound editing. In addition, he’s also done some acting.
Surprisingly, though, that’s the same situation for the actors. Besides David Rommel, who appeared in Downer (which also featured a young Dan Harmon), none of the three main actors ever acted in anything before or after this movie. As this movie was shot on location in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, though, it’s entirely possible that Zizzo and Dinco were Milwaukee locals.
Colony Critics: The Viewers’ Response
Overall, viewers were disappointed in the movie. While they thought the premise was good–body horror a la David Cronenberg–the execution left a lot to be desired. Perhaps that’s an unfortunate consequence of a low budget, though. From the descriptions of some of the effects–an eyeball with wings, another body part that evokes King Missile’s biggest hit song, etc.–it doesn’t sound like the filmmakers were lacking in creativity. Maybe if they’ve had more money to play with, then they could have carried off their ideas. As it is, many viewers describe the sound as awful and the picture isn’t much better–the word “grainy” comes up a lot. However, even viewers who acknowledge that the film quality leaves a lot to be desired like the idea of the story.
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featured image via Wild Eye Releasing
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Salomé Gonstad is a freelance writer who grew up in the swampy wilds of south Alabama. She now splits her time between the Appalachian wilds (of Alabama) and the considerably more refined streets of New York City. When she's not yelling about pop culture on the internet, she's working on a supernatural thriller about her hometown. Also, we're pretty sure she's a werewolf. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.