Friday, March 20, 2020


Fred Olen Ray

A group of soldiers and scientists gather at a remote location to witness a “psychic materialization” courtesy of a scientist and his subject, Lisa Martyn (Angelique Pettyjohn), who has been given a drug to stimulate her psychic powers. She manages to make a small box appear out of nowhere. The military takes the box for study. On the way to a base, the box opens to reveal a small blue monster that embarks on a murder spree. Mitchell Carter (William Fair) teams up with Lisa to try and figure out where the monster is and how to stop it before it kills more people.

Among Biohazard’s many charms is its monster, credited as The Bio Monster and played by director Fred Olen Ray’s son Christopher Ray who was 8 at the time. So, while the cover might convince you that a hulking beast will be stalking its prey the reality is that it's a kid doing his best ‘arms out monster acting.’ I can even imagine him saying “rawr” as he attacks. The counterpoint to this is that actual attacks are quite gruesome with plenty of blood and slime. If the blood and gore don’t keep this from being a goofy family monster movie, there is also some nudity thrown in from Angelique Pettyjohn and Carroll Borland.

"Ask if I can just show the delivery driver my tits instead of paying them a tip."
Plotwise, Biohazard doesn’t have much going on. Initially, the idea of a psychic pulling an object from another dimension is interesting and the opening does have some fun parallels to Terror from the Year 5000 (1958), but after that, the story is largely dropped for some traditional stalk and slash scenes. The plot is finally picked up again in the finale but it is a little too late to have much narrative impact (or least the kind you might expect, see below for further details.)

I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about my favorite thing about Biohazard which is its final moment. If you don’t wish to be spoiled, just stop here and go watch it. It is a breezy and silly science-fiction horror film that encapsulates the great things about the home video boom of the 1980s.

So cute!
The final scene of Biohazard sees Lisa reveal she is a being from another dimension there to test out one of their race's soldiers on a trial run before an invasion. She then rips her face off to reveal a slimy hand puppet underneath. Mitchell stands there dumbfounded and then… stops the movie. He makes a cutting motion and ends the whole film. It’s a great moment that took me by surprise and was such a fun way to short circuit the usual rote denouement in a typical alien invasion movie. It retroactively makes everything that went on before even more fun. Biohazard continues with some bloopers interspaced with the credits while a rock-a-billy song plays. Fred Olen Ray knows Biohazard is silly fun and he’s willing to play it straight until the last possible moment.

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