The Immortalizer (1989)

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Tagline: If you’ve been thinking about plastic surgery, Dr Devine would like to change your mind.

Director: Joel Bender

Writer: Mark M. Nelson (screenplay)

Starring: Ron Ray, Chris Crone, Clark Lindsley, Melody Patterson, Steve Jamieson, Greg Joujon-Roche, Rebekka Armstrong, Cynthia Chase, Bob Verne, Terry Miller, Brian David Zola, Elmarie Wendel

18 | 96 min | Horror

Budget: Unknown


Review

Move over, Dr Frankenstein, there’s a new re-animator in town.

His name is Dr Devine, and in his business a mishmash of body parts will not suffice. Everybody has dreamed of eternal youth, but for those who are uninterested in being turned into a plastic zombie, our crazed innovator has dreamed up a mind-boggling alternative – providing you are hideously wealthy and bereft of all human emotion.

His modus operandi is thus: 1) find a lithe, nubile specimen 2) send enslaved mutant wrestlers to kidnap and sedate said specimens before injecting them with neon-green ooze 3) present a catalogue of specimens to the ageing elite 4) transfer brain of aged elite into the body of lithe, nubile specimen. Brilliant, right?

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Fine! She’ll do!

Well, no actually.

Neon-based scientific ingenuity aside, Devine’s business model is rather flawed. Firstly, as owner and operator of the Seaview Ageing Therapy Clinic you would have to advertise kidnapping and murder as your primary services. One botched surgery or moralistic disagreement and the cops would be kicking down your door, particularly since your practice is located in the middle of an everyday suburban community and surrounded by potential witnesses, some of whom stare blatantly at proceedings through giant binoculars. Before you could say ‘scalpel’ you would be up to your neck in lies, forced to commit one murder after another in a ceaseless attempt to cover your morbid tracks. Soon you would be killing friends and family, limo drivers, yapping little terriers – the treachery would never end.

Then there is the matter of your employees to consider – you know, those people whose trust your entire business depends on. Call me cynical, but I don’t remember being particularly fond of any of my previous bosses, and even those who I kind of liked I would inevitably find a problem with. So what if one of them didn’t appreciate the way you were treating them? Soon they’d be turning up late for work or running their mouths and demanding raises in return for their silence. And then there is the personal ad to consider. I mean, what on earth would the application form entail?

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The cast of ER had bitten off more than they could chew.

Nevertheless, Devine’s business seems to be thriving by the time the sleazy Dr Timmons (Jamieson) arrives to fill the position. Timmons has had a recent brush with the medical board and seems to be entirely motivated by greed – just the kind of dirtbag Devine can exploit to the whims of his insanity. Meanwhile, a fresh batch of teens are kidnapped and brought to the prep room for transformation, but Greg (Crone) manages to avoid the sedative-laced claws of their mutant captors, and wisely plays dead until left alone and presented with the chance to escape.

After diving through a windowpane in the dead of night and disturbing absolutely no one, Greg goes straight to the sheriff, who in typical horror fashion dismisses everything the poor lad throws at him. Spending a night in the slammer, our clean-cut hero harbours hopes that some late night detective work might clear his name, but when the sheriff returns with news of a missing cop Gregg soon graduates from petty drunk to suspected murderer. His only hope of evading the ‘hot seat’ lies in their fruitless investigation of the suburban horror house, but fortunately for Gregg there is a shed nearby, and after slipping the sheriff’s grasp he manages to hide in it, totally bamboozling the number one cop in town.

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Where in the hell did he go?

Worse luck befalls Gregg’s friend Darrell, who after experiencing an allergic reaction to the dubious neon gook is transformed into one of Dr Devine’s hideous mutants. Meanwhile, Gregg convinces suspicious neighbour Agnes (Wendel) to masquerade as a customer in the hope of infiltrating her psychotic neighbours. Suspicion rears its ugly head when her walkie-talkie is discovered however, leading to a treacherous love triangle between Dr Devine, Dr Price (Lindsley) and insatiable harlot Nurse Blaine (Patterson), whose obsession with the body of a beautiful young redhead threatens to unravel the whole sordid scheme.

From thereon in everything gets a little confusing as the ever-growing cast bound around the place like a pinball machine, but I won’t spoil what little joy there is to be had. All I’ll say is, prepare yourself for one hell of a body-swapping finale!



Best Kill

Ostensibly dead having had his guts splattered against a wall with a shotgun, mutant hero Darrell returns to save his friends from the conniving Dr Price, picking him up and stuffing his body into a giant garbage disposal.

Most Absurd Moment

Vaguely remembering the college friend he once loved, emotionally conflicted mutant Darrell comes to the aid of Gregg after football tackling two other mutants through a cardboard wall. And to think they could have simply tore their way to freedom this whole time!

Most Absurd Dialogue

Inspecting her nubile new carriage, ruthless old Mrs Peabody has a query.

Mrs Peabody: Oh, she’s beautiful! Who is she?

Dr. Price: She’s Phi Beta Kappa – a model student.

Mrs Peabody: I’m not buying her brain!


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rtape rtape btape btape btape

A concept which could have made Bad Movie history, but which doesn’t bear the fruit of its considerable labour. This is a badly staged and increasingly humdrum affair which exceeds the limits of its potential while dancing around the edges like so many lost actors looking for their cue. The movie’s crux is its lack of self-awareness. Everything about it screams tongue-in-cheek, but what little humour there is seems accidental, and the lack of gore points to a budget that no horror flick should ever be subjected to.

Cedric Smarts


 

2 responses to “The Immortalizer (1989)

  1. Hi, Susan.

    Good luck with that one. I first saw this on the Sci-Fi channel about twenty years ago and spent years trying to find out its name. Once I overcame that decade-long obstacle I then had the problem of finding it to watch again.

    Failing in my attempts to buy it I searched for a download and found one, only to realise it was no longer downloadable and up only in name. However, it is now on the web. They must have released it on DVD at some point but I really couldn’t locate it anywhere.

    Hopefully you’ll be able to see it.

    Like

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