Thursday, April 30, 2020

Short Shear Terror: Biotherapy (1986)

Biotherapy (Japan, 1986 Short)
Rating: ***
Starring: Jun'ichi Haruta, Yumiko Ishikawa, Hirohisa Nakata

Experimenting on growth serums made from glutamyltransferase (or just GT serum to make things less pretentious) extracted from meteors, a group of scientists see themselves in a deadly situation as a masked alien garbed in a coat and fedora suddenly appears and starts demanding the completed GT serum from them. Should they fail to comply, the hostile visitor has no problem butchering them one by one, prompting one of these scientists and his girlfriend to race against time and find the completed serum first, as well as understand why exactly this alien is after it.

Released direct to VHS back in the days and running for less than an hour, Biotherapy (1986) is more of an exercise on low-budget ultraviolence, giving up the likes of a developed story and characters in favor of dishing out as many messy kills as a short film can fit in itself. There are ideas, more or less science talk about what the serum can do and its side effects (and too blabberings of time travel and alien life just to complicate things) but these were so underdeveloped that there are holes on the details and the plot surrounding it fails to be consistent. Thankfully, given its short time, pacing runs quickly and is hardly boring as there's always something going on, may it be cheesy dialogue for unconventional humor or sloppily edited yet effectively brutal killings to satisfy our inner gore hounds.

In fact, the special effects used here definitely cost the movie most of its budget since all of the murders are done with detailed practical work, with a splatter flick aesthetic that borderlines to cartoonish for how much blood gushing out or how absurd the slayings can get. (Seriously, that eye gouge in the beginning looked close to being real!) The killer's concept and design do drop the film down to cheesier territories, however; to emphasize their otherworldly-ness, their lines were overdubbed with an echoplexed demonic voice and the actor is filmed to have a trippy blue glow effect around him. Once unmasked, the creature make-up just looks rubbery, kinda reminding me of those Power Rangers bad guys only, well, more homicidal-ish, and I can't help but snicker at that.

Oh, and did I mention this slasher also have telekinesis and is impervious to bullets? Touched once in a scene or two, never to be brought up again in the rest...

Frankly, this movie is just a delight. It's nothing big or grand, but as a simple underrated flawed gem that's just begging to have an audience, especially those of the splatter-appreciative kind, its a bit of a worthwhile rarity. Should you find yourself looking at a copy of this anywhere, in anyhow, then grab a chance to see it and enjoy the nonsensical alien violence that is Biotherapy (1986)!

1 male had his neck crushed, eye plucked out
1 female repeatedly stabbed with broken test tubes, tongue ripped off
1 male found slaughtered
1 male shot through the mouth
1 male repeatedly beaten against a wall
1 male disemboweled
1 alien doused with experimental component, dissolves
Total: 7

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