Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)
Clonus (1979)

This film is also known as "Parts: The Clonus Horror," and "Clonus: Welcome to America."

Think about this plot:

Somewhere in the Western United States, there is an isolated Spartan compound filled with gung-ho fitness buffs who train constantly and eat sensibly, in the hope that they will be among the few selected to leave the compound and go to a promised earthly paradise. The audience becomes aware that the trainees all seem to be slow witted or strangely childlike, despite the fact that their appearance is that of normal, healthy adults.

One of the participants does not seem to be as docile and unquestioning as the others. He is curious about the world outside the compound, and is unsatisfied with the answers provided by the trainers. He stumbles into the compound's awful secret. There is no paradise. The trainees who are ostensibly chosen to leave the compound are, in fact, harvested for spare body parts. It turns out that the trainees are all clones of very rich power brokers who pay for the upkeep and maintenance of their genetic duplicates. The reason they are kept so fit, in fact the only reason they exist at all, is to assure that their "sponsors" have a sure source of compatible body parts.

The single curious clone escapes from the compound. Although he is constantly being pursued by a security expert from the compound, he eventually manages to come face-to-face with his genetic duplicate in the outside world, hoping to persuade him of the inhumanity of the compound, and to enlist his aid.

If that plot summary sounds familiar to you, it may be because you have seen or read about Michael Bay's big budget summer action picture, The Island, or it may be because you are a major fan of MST3K, and have therefore actually seen an obscure 1979 film called Clonus.

The description above applies to both pictures.

At various times and in various essays, we have amused ourselves by trying to establish the criteria which make for a good candidate for a remake. If you believe that the essence of films should include some artistic achievement rather than being forged from pure commerce, then you could make a good case that no films should be remade at all. Perhaps that position is correct, but given the practical consideration that the supply of completely original ideas is limited, it seems that the best remake prospects are either respectable movies which are now too dated to watch in their original form, or good movies which could have been great with a few tweaks. That set of criteria sounds superficially reasonable to me, but even that apparently sensible theory seems to lead to as many bad films as good ones, and I can't immediately think of a single case where that strategy has ever produced a great film. On the good side, the first version of The Thomas Crown Affair was a pretty good film which was remade into another pretty good film, although the remake was far short of greatness and arguably no better than the first try. On the bad side, the original Rollerball was a pretty cool film which seemed like it could have been great, but the remake was an utter fiasco.

In general, I believe that great films should not be remade. What is the point of remaking Casablanca, or The Godfather Part II, or The Bridge on the River Kwai? As for bad films - well, I'm not going to present any case unless someone believes that bad films should be remade.

Why, then, did Michael Bay decide to spend more than a hundred million dollars remaking a film so bad it was selected to be ridiculed on Mystery Science Theater 3000? That seems like a reasonable question, so let's try to give it some thought.

Clonus was lampooned by Mike and the bots in one of the later seasons of MST3K, when they were running out of the truly bad films they normally feasted upon. Indeed, Clonus was one of the better films ever to be selected to get the ol' razz berry. That is not to say that Clonus is a good movie, but only that it is far better than the total wash-outs which were mocked by Mike and Joel and the bots in earlier years. Unlike Manos, the Hands of Fate, Clonus has a few strengths. It actually has an excellent premise and the script is not unredeemable,  but the entire project was lowered to the laughable level by the following elements.

  • The budget was a mere $350,000, and that included the salaries of some B-list stars like Peter Graves and one of the Darrens from TV's Bewitched. Because of the money crisis, the slap-dash effects were laughable, the atmosphere was non-existent and the sets were obviously flimsy in ways that rivaled Ed Wood's graveyard scene in Plan 9.
  • I don't know if this film can truly boast of the worst acting ever, but it has a reasonable claim.
  • Some elements of the script were clumsy. For example, there is really no attempt to keep the concept of Clonus as much a mystery to the audience as it is to the clones, thus missing out on a chance to make the plot more involving.
  • The lead character is not interesting or sympathetic, and the actor playing the part does not have the skills or the looks to create any bond with the audience, so viewers can't really identify with him. To word it another way, I just wasn't rooting for this guy, however meritorious his quest.

In other words, Clonus was not so much as bad movie, as a potentially good movie ruined by poor execution.

The 2005 version (The Island) did eliminate all the problems I noted. Michael Bay spent the money and hired the top actors necessary to make the project a first class production with futuristic atmosphere. By keeping the film within the POV of the curious clone, the 2005 script allows the audience to share in his curiosity about the true nature of his existence. Casting handsome, sympathetic, talented Ewan McGregor in the role solidified the bond between the character and the audience. Casting Steve Buscemi as an outside employee in the clone factory added some comic relief, and injected a welcome sense of everyday life. Allowing some dimension and character development from the evil security agent certified the message that humanity was capable of feeling compassion for the clones. The script also fleshed out the details of how the clones were created and raised, and what they were taught about the outside world. They were told that the world was in a post-apocalyptic condition, and that they were survivors plucked from the smoldering ruins of civilization, nursed back to health, and kept in a sort of rehab holding area until they were selected to go to the last remaining uncontaminated paradise.

Oh, I almost hate to type this sentence about a Michael Bay summer explosion-fest, but I thought The Island was a pretty good movie! It represents the rare instance when a poor film can be remade into a good one. Apart from Michael Bay's predictable decision to end the film with many large explosions, the one place where the 2005 film went completely batty was to add an unnecessary and generally incredible pseudo-scientific element about the clones somehow possessing the memories and dreams of their originals.

As for Clonus ... well ... if you are an average moviegoer, you don't really want to spend any time watching it, not even to make wisecracks, unless you have Mike and the bots wisecracking along with you. It's really just too boring and static to provide a truly pleasurable bad movie vibe. If you are truly curious about this project, however, you can't go wrong with the DVD, because Mondo Macabro has done a great job assembling it.

  • The film has been newly digitized from a negative, transferred to DVD in a anamorphic widescreen version, and looks quite fresh.
  • There is a full-length commentary by the director.
  • There is an additional interview with the director.
  • There is a gallery of posters, ads, and publicity stills.


Paulette Breen


'Caps and comments by Hankster:

Today we sucked it up, filled the tank on the ol' Time Machine and went back to 1984 to take a look at "Ellie".

A southern comedy that's not a blockbuster movie, but with a cast of characters that included George Goebel, Pat Paulsen and Shelley Winters some fun can be had.

The real reason for "Scoopers" to watch this one is Sheila Kennedy. She is ultra cute. During the course of this movie, she gives it all up, including the "George W".

Sheila Kennedy

Today we also have some bonus 'caps of Sharon Stone showing some awesome cleavage on recent "Late, Late Show" and "Leno" guest shots.

Sharon Stone

Crimson Ghost
Today's featured Skinemax babe is Jamaica Charley. Here she is baring all while gettin' it on in scenes from an episode of the late night cable series "Beverly Hills Bordello".

Jamaica Charley

'Caps and comments by Dann:

"Slim Susie"
Normally, I'd avoid a foreign comedy with subtitles, because they don't always translate well. What's funny in one language often isn't in another, but 2003's Swedish comedy Slim Susie is funny in any language, and very well done.

Erik returns to the small village where he grew up to find his baby sister Susie, who has disappeared without a trace. As he investigates, it appears Susie has become involved in stolen money and drugs, something Erik finds hard to believe.

An interesting and well done story, very funny, although the ending is fairly sad, making it somewhat a downer.

Tuva Novotny

Nicky Horn

Malin Morgan

I'm not 100% sure this is her, but the word on the street is that these pics feature "Fast and the Furious" star Michelle Rodriguez swimming topless at the Shore Club Sky Bar in South Beach.

Thanks to DeadLamb for catching "Desperate Housewives" babe Eva Longoria looking ever-so-cute (and tan) while visiting Conan O'Brien.

New on DVD! Here is Jessica Alba looking super sexy while kindly stuffing herself into leather pant and chaps in scenes from "Sin City".

DeadLamb serves up one more from the Late Night Talk Show circuit. Here is Selma Blair showing some leg on "The Tonight Show". Personally, I think someone needs to give that girl a burger or 2!

Today the Skin-man looks at the UK action/crime/thriller "Layer Cake" (2004). Sienna Miller doesn't exactly give up any goodies, but we do see several close up views of her fun bits in black undies. Kinky Kerry almost shows frontal nudity in an uncredited role.

Movie Reviews


Here are the latest movie reviews available at


  • The yellow asterisks indicate that I wrote the review, and am deluded into thinking it includes humor.
  • If there is a white asterisk, it means that there isn't any significant humor, but I inexplicably determined there might be something else of interest.
  • A blue asterisk indicates the review is written by Tuna (or Junior or Brainscan, or somebody else besides me)
  • If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too ashamed to admit it.

Other Crap

Weekly World News claims: Hookers are selling gift certificates.

Here is the trailer for No Direction Home, the Bob Dylan documentary from Martin Scorsese.

Here are all the original Simpson shorts from the Tracey Ullman show.

"Union officials are meeting with managers from the Bank of Scotland to discuss an escalating row over the use of vegetables as motivational tools."

Sheep thieves make their getaway in a taxi. They were going to hitchhike, but nobody stopped. The steep taxi bill really cut into their sheep-thievin' profits.

Lions at a safari park in the north of England are prowling after Smart cars, in the apparent belief that the boxy little two-seat European city cars are worthy prey.

The Daily Show looks at the Cindy Sheehan saga

The Daily Show asks "How did Iraq fail to resolve two millennia of religious, ethnic and cultural hatred in seven months?"

The trailer from The Cave
  • "Deep in the Romanian forest, a team of scientists stumbles upon the ruins of a 13th century Abbey. On further inspection, they make a startling discovery - the Abbey is built over the entrance to a giant underground cave system. Local biologists believe the cave could be home to an undiscovered eco-system, so they hire a group of American cave-explorers to help them investigate its depths. Jack (Cole Hauser) and his brother Tyler (Eddie Cibrian) are thrill-seeking professional cave explorers who run a team of the top divers in the world. They arrive in Romania with all the latest equipment, including a new type of scuba tank allowing a diver to remain submerged for up to 24 hours. The crack unit, which also includes Charlie (Piper Perabo) and Buchanan (Morris Chestnut), immediately begin their exploration. But what they find deep inside the caves is not just a new eco-system, but an entirely new species altogether..."

Walken Presidential Bid is a hoax

"Kelly Brook has been voted the celebrity with the best real breasts in a new U.K. poll."

Oh, the beautiful and fragile balance of nature ... Praying Mantis Eats a Hummingbird

Pat Reeder
Pat's comments in yellow...

Insert, Escape, Insert, Escape... - Guys who fantasize about sexy actress Jennifer Connelly might be disappointed in what she told Esquire about her sex life with husband Paul Bettany. She said she doesn't like doing more than one thing at a time, except "I do like to read a book while having sex. And talk on the phone. You can get so much done." She added that she also likes to surf the net during sex, but only if the room is dark enough.

  • But then, her husband can't do his crossword puzzle.
  • Guys wouldn't mind, as long as she surfed sites with naked pictures of Jennifer Connelly.
  • She loves the book she's reading now, about how to fake out reporters.

    Puff Piece - Tuesday on NBC's "Today Show," P. Diddy announced that he will be known simply as "Diddy" from now on. He said switching from Puffy to Puff Daddy to P. Diddy had confused fans, that people didn't know what to call him when they met him, and he even got confused himself. He said it was taking him too long to explain who he was on the phone. So he said to simplify things, he's now just Diddy, "One word. Five letters. Period."

  • "No, wait! Make that a semi-colon!..."
  • That's right, one word, five letters: "Doody."
  • Of course, many children will simply call him "Daddy."
  • He's right; whenever I think of names I could call him, so many come to mind.
  • NBC won't carry presidential press conferences, but this, they air live.

    Law Of No Attraction - The New York Post reports that a paparazzo is having no luck selling nude photos of Jude Law. The photos, taken while Law was vacationing in France, reportedly show him changing into his swimsuit, and female media insiders are unimpressed. One said, "He's no Tommy Lee, that's for sure." Another e-mailed them to friends with the comment, "Ha!" Others said he must've already been into the cold ocean because it's reminiscent of George Costanza's "shrinkage" claim on "Seinfeld." Law's rep replied that Law is on vacation with his kids and people should "give him a little bit of a break."

  • Just a teeny, tiny break...
  • His PR rep insists that when he's not on vacation with his kids, his penis is HUGE!
  • Yeah, I'm sure he just went into the cold ocean BEFORE he put on his swimsuit.
  • The nanny found him impressive because she's used to dealing with little ones.

  • Tuna

    Currently on disability. If you'd like to get in touch with him, his email address is

    A quick site note
    Hey gang, we invite you to check out our new affiliate program at

    If you have your own site or blog, sign up today and earn some extra cash in 2005 by promoting the Fun House!