Metamorphosis (1990)

metamorphosis1990

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A scientist takes drastic measures to keep the funding for his project but ends up with something far more dangerous in the only credited directorial debut for giallo screenwriter and actor Luigi Montefiori, using the pseudonym “G.L. Eastman”.

Dr. Peter Houseman is a professor whose excelled in genetics. He has been working on a major project in which he hopes will be the cure of all diseases as well as stop human aging. However, with no results so far, he is feeling the pressure from investor Sally Donnelly as well as some fellow professors, who don’t believe Peter is capable of succeeding. In an attempt to prove his findings, he tries the serum he has created on a monkey, but the result does not bode well.

A desperate Peter decides to try the serum on himself. He not only makes nice with Sally, but soon the two are involved in a relationship. As Peter continues to try the serum, he begins to feel a change. His internal instincts begin to take effect as he gains strength, but suffers a bit of memory loss. However, he tries the serum again and undergoes a physical change, and slowly begins to go on a killing spree, not even remembering what had happened. What is Peter becoming and is there any way to stop it?

Italian actor and writer Luigi Montefiori, known as George Eastman in front of the screens, came up with a film that delves into the Jekyll-Hyde motif of a scientist who tries his own experimental serum and ends up with horrific results. Yes, this has been done to death throughout cinematic history. Montefiori had even mentioned in an interview in the book “Spaghetti Nightmares” that he had been promised a good cast and a nice laboratory to shoot in. When he didn’t get what had expected, he made the most of it but it is clear that making the film made him never want to direct a film again.

That isn’t to say that the film is a complete mess, because for a good portion, the film is not totally bad. Gene LeBrock makes the most of his role as our Jekyll, Dr. Houseman, who undergoes the radical changes both inside and out. Catharine Baranov goes through three phases herself, starting with the annoying investor involved in the funding of the project to love interest of Dr. Houseman to the very concerned not so much damsel-in-distress. Even Italian exploitation film actress Laura Gemser makes an appearance as a prostitute in the film. The other professors are a bit of an annoyance and don’t hold well with Dr. Houseman.

So why is this considered a pretty bad film amongst film fans? Well, let’s face it, it is what Dr. Houseman eventually turns into by the film’s finale that is just ridiculous. One would think he would become some sort of Hyde-like monster (because of the yellow eyes, the first of the physical changes) or even a caveman. After all, we are talking about primal instincts and a physical change. No, it is something far worse…and not in a good way either. And it is this final stage of metamorphosis that you will either laugh at tremendously or leave a complete bad taste in your mouth. For the longest time in this reviewer’s case, it was the former. It just made this reviewer just laugh out loud and after re-watching it, it still is laugh out loud ridiculous.

Metamorphosis starts off promising despite the cliched Jekyll-Hyde riff, but the final stage is just very bad. However, it does have its cult value and should only be seen and collected by fans who love the very cheesy as well as fans of Luigi Montefiori as this would be his only credited film as director.

WFG RATING: C-

A Filmirage s.r.l. production. Director: Luigi Montefiori. Producer: Donatella Donati. Writer: Luigi Montefiori. Cinematography: Lorenzo Battaglia. Editing: Kathleen Stratton.

Cast: Gene LeBrock, Catharine Baranov, Harry Cason, David Wicker, Jason Arnold, Stephen Brown, Tom Story, Anna Colona.

 

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