Friday, July 17

The Rejuvenator (1988)

A.K.A. Rejuvenatrix
Directed by Brian Thomas Jones
86 Minutes / Pack-In-Video VHS (Japan) / Cropped from 1.85:1 to full screen (w/ small white Japanese subtitles)

Funded by a vain aging actress (Jessica Dublin/Vivian Lanko), a doctor (John MacKay) develops a serum to reverse natural aging by altering a unique DNA chain that controls the process. The only problem is the serum needs to be constantly administered and it's derived from grey brain matter. The actress hastily demands the operation and it's a success, but building tolerance resulting in increasing dosage places extra strain on that pesky brain-gathering issue. Elated, the now youthful looking actress starts catting around with strange men despite horrific relapses of growing severity that demand huge serum doses. With the good doctor becoming ever-beleaguered trying to develop a synthetic serum and the mutant actress resorting to killing for brains, how will this grotesque cycle end?

This film is said to be a riff on Corman's Wasp Woman, and despite not seeing that particular film, by the looks of it I'd say that rings very true. The Rejuvenator is a bit Stuart Gordon and Frank Henenlotter with a lite dash of Peter Jackson. Though the creative aplomb that enlivens the gooier works of those directors is all but missing here. There's little laughs, either intended or not, despite the goofy premise. Jones and cast quickly settle into the motions and the story's resolution is pretty much telegraphed long before its arrival. Gore is quick being mostly relegated to bloody slashes and a few head-shattering decaps by the altered actress's crustacean-like hands. Disappointingly, we never get to see her transformation on-screen, just some pulsing bladders blooming on her face. Also we're treated to what's basically a music-video-in-movie from the all-girl hair metal band Poison Dollys. Why? You got me on that one. Watchable, but certainly not essential.

gonna rock it till it strikes thee owwwRRR

VHS Picture: 5/10
VHS Sound: 4/10

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