A bad movie that somehow manages to command attention for most of its running time, at least for viewers susceptible to the charms of vintage cautionary sci-fi tales, Parts: The Clonus Horror deals with the sensationalistic subject of black-market organ trading, with the concept of cloning thrown in for good measure. In many ways, the story is incredibly silly, and the movie suffers from generic direction, mediocre acting, and rotten dialogue. Yet the film’s basic contrivance, of a hidden colony populated by clones whose overlords harvest the clones for organs, is colorful and loopy. Moreover, the picture has abundant late-’70s flavor, a couple of memorably gruesome scenes, and fleeting appearances by familiar actors. All told, Parts: The Clonus Horror is roughly the equivalent of a tasty made-for-TV sci-fi thriller.
After a perfunctory bit set in the outside world that introduces U.S. presidential candidate Jeff Knight (Peter Graves), the picture shifts focus to a remote installation called Clonus, where simple-minded young people enjoy a controlled but peaceful existence under the supervision of friendly Dr. Jameson (Dick Sargent). One of the young people, fresh-faced Richard (Tim Donnelly), senses that all is not right in Clonus, so he begins a covert investigation. Echoing the ’70s sci-fi classic Logan’s Run (1976), Parts shows how overlords who create an idyllic lie are asking for trouble. Instead of the “renewal” concept in Logan’s Run, the baddies behind Clonus tell residents that once they complete their educations, they will be sent to “America,” which the villains portray as a magical place where everyone is happy and healthy. In reality, villains sedate and then murder residents who “graduate” from Clonus, harvesting their organs for use by the people from whose DNA the clones were created. Naturally, presidential candidate Knight is one of the visionaries behind Clonus, a megalomaniac with dreams of living forever thanks to a steady supply of replacement “parts.”
Revealing the story’s twists does not perform a disservice to Parts: The Clonus Horror, since the film has zero suspense, instead generating minor thrills during chase scenes and/or horrific operating-room vignettes. The plotting is weak, with Richard effortlessly discovering important clues, and once Richard reaches the outside world, he immediately stumbles onto people with close connections to the conspiracy. The name actors in the cast do what they can with bargain-basement dialogue, thereby treating viewers to the spectacle of grizzled Kennan Wynn awkwardly issuing hippie-era lingo: “Hey, fella—looks like you’ve been through some really heavy scenes!” Sorry, Keenan—you Wynn some, you lose some. Interestingly, even though Parts seems to borrow liberally from Michael Crichton’s Coma (1978), the makers of Parts cried foul upon the release of the Michael Bay picture The Island (2005), suing for copyright infringement and winning a private settlement.
Parts: The Clonus Horror: FUNKY