Parts: The Clonus Horror

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Parts: The Clonus Horror
Parts The Clonus Horror (poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRobert S. Fiveson
Produced byRobert S. Fiveson
Myrl A. Schreibman
Written byBob Sullivan (story)
Bob Sullivan and
Ron Smith (screenplay)
Myrl A. Schreibman and
Robert S. Fiveson (adaptation)
StarringTim Donnelly
Paulette Breen
Dick Sargent
Peter Graves
Keenan Wynn
Frank Ashmore
Music byHod David Schudson
CinematographyMax Beaufort
Edited byRobert Gordon
Distributed byGroup 1 International Distribution Organization Ltd.
Release date
  • August 1979 (1979-08) (U.S.)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$257,000

Parts: The Clonus Horror, also known as The Clonus Horror, or simply Clonus, is a 1979 science fiction horror film directed by Robert S. Fiveson. It stars Peter Graves, Tim Donnelly, Dick Sargent, Keenan Wynn, Paulette Breen, and Frank Ashmore. The film is about an isolated community in a remote desert area, where clones are bred to serve as a source of replacement organs for the wealthy and powerful. The production cost of the movie was $257,000.[1]

Parts: The Clonus Horror was featured on the comedy television series Mystery Science Theater 3000 in 1997. In 2005, the creators of Clonus filed a lawsuit against DreamWorks Pictures for copyright infringement for their film The Island, citing numerous similarities between the two works. The two parties reached a settlement, with the amount settled being seven-figures and other specific terms being court sealed.

Plot[edit]

The film takes place in an isolated desert compound called Clonus, where clones are bred to be used as replacement parts for the elite, including a soon to be president-elect Jeffrey Knight (Peter Graves). The clones are kept isolated from the real world by workers of the colony, but are promised to be "accepted" to move to "America" after they have completed some type of physical training.

After a group of clones are chosen to go to "America", they are given a party and a farewell celebration with their fellow clones. The chosen clones are then taken to a lab where they are sedated and placed in an airtight plastic bag, and their bodies are frozen in order to preserve their organs for harvest.

The story surrounds one clone (Tim Donnelly) who begins to question the circumstances of his existence and eventually escapes the colony. Pursued by compound guards, the clone enters a nearby city. The clone is found by a retired journalist, Jake Noble (Keenan Wynn) who takes him to his sponsor, Richard, who happens to be the brother of Jeffrey Knight. Knight's brother and son argue over what to do with the clone (who is revealed to be the clone made for Richard himself).

Richard's clone returns to the colony to reunite with his newly developed love interest, Lena (Paulette Breen). To his horror, the clone finds that Lena has been lobotomized by those running the colony. They had used her for bait to trap the clone. Once they have him in custody, they kill and freeze him.

Meanwhile, Clonus completes its cover-up by having hired thugs murder both Richard and his son, and also the journalist who first discovered the clone. Knight is seemingly killed in the ensuing struggle with his brother, but reappears the next day at a press conference, where he is stunned to find that Jake Noble had before his death managed to disseminate a secret tape to the news media, exposing the Clonus project.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Parts: The Clonus Horror was written by Bob Sullivan. The idea for the script came while Sullivan was taking a screenwriting class at the University of Southern California. The class was taught by Irwin Blacker, a story editor for Bonanza.[2]

The original title Robert Fiveson intended was "Clonus". The film distributor meanwhile wanted it to be called "Parts", much to the protest of Fiveson. Eventually the two titles were combined to make it Parts: The Clonus Horror.[3] The Clonus compound was shot at the then new campus for Moorpark College in Moorpark, California.[4][5]

Release[edit]

Box office gross for the film in the United Kingdom at the end of 1979 ended at £1,680,000.[6]

The film has been released by Mondo Macabro under the title Clonus.

The Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of the film has been released by Rhino Home Video as part of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Volume 12 DVD set, featuring an exclusive interview with director Robert Fiveson.

Reception[edit]

Blockbuster Entertainment gave the film two stars, calling it an "Interesting suspenser."[7] Film critic Leonard Maltin also gave it two stars, describing it as "Watchable, but uninspired".[8] VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever by Jim Craddock gave it one and a half stars.[9]

Fangoria gave it three stars. While criticizing the acting and writing as "awkward", praise was given for its political subtext in the film.[10] Time Out called the film a "Competent and engrossing sci-fi thriller in the Coma vein", speaking positive on its ethics.[11]

In 1980, the film was nominated for the "Best Film Produced for Under $1,000,000" category at the 7th Saturn Awards, losing to Planet of Dinosaurs.[12]

Influence[edit]

In June 1997, Parts: The Clonus Horror was featured as an episode of the movie-mocking television show Mystery Science Theater 3000. Though hesitant about it for the first five minutes, director Robert Fiveson said that he felt "honored" that the film made it onto the show.[13] The DVD release of the MST3K episode includes an interview with Fiveson, who discusses the production of Clonus and the Island lawsuit.

Lawsuit[edit]

The big-budget 2005 DreamWorks production The Island, also about a colony that breeds clones to harvest organs for the elite, mirrors Clonus in a number of ways. The makers of Clonus filed suit, claiming copyright infringement.[14][15] On August 25, 2006, the court presiding over this case ruled that it could proceed to trial.[16] When asked about the similarities, former MST3K host Mike Nelson called The Island a "Pale copy of Parts: The Clonus Horror."[17]

According to a 2007 interview with Clonus screenwriter Bob Sullivan, DreamWorks and Clonus Associates reached a settlement, the specific terms of which are sealed. According to Sullivan, the amount settled on was in the seven-figure range.[2]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ ""Clonus (Parts - The Clonus Horror)" (DVD review)". DVDTalk.com. March 17, 2005. Retrieved 2007-06-05.
  2. ^ a b Walker, Albert (May 17, 2007). "An Interview with Bob Sullivan, Clonus screenwriter". AgonyBooth. Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. Retrieved June 6, 2007.
  3. ^ Walker, Albert (January 8, 2006). "An Interview with Robert Fiveson". The Agony Booth. Archived from the original on October 12, 2007.
  4. ^ Ward, Mike (October 3, 2004). "The Silent Future". Popmatters. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  5. ^ "The Clonus Horror - Movie Review". TV Guide. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  6. ^ Crawley, Tony (June 1980). "Top Fantasy Films of 1979". Starburst. No. 22. pp. 24–25.
  7. ^ Blockbuster Entertainment 1994, p. 820.
  8. ^ Maltin 2006, p. 1009.
  9. ^ Craddock 1995, p. 268.
  10. ^ Gingold, Michael; Kieran, Matthew (April 2005). "DVD Dungeon". Fangoria. No. 242. pp. 65–66.
  11. ^ "Parts: the Clonus Horror". Time Out. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  12. ^ "1979 7th Saturn Awards". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 17, 2006.
  13. ^ "Interview with Director Robert Fiveson", "Special Features", Parts: The Clonus Horror disc, Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVD Collection, Volume 12, October 2007.
  14. ^ "Copyright lawsuit claims 'The Island' cloned 'Parts: The Clonus Horror'". August 10, 2005. Retrieved 2007-06-06.
  15. ^ "Clonus' Producers File Suit". Satellite News. mst3kinfo.com. August 10, 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-03-24. Retrieved 2007-06-06.
  16. ^ "CLONUS ASSOCIATES v. DREAMWORKS, LLC | 457 F.Supp.2d 432 (2006)". Leagle.com. 2006-08-25. Retrieved 2017-05-10.
  17. ^ Berger, Arion (July 26, 2005). "Did Bay Say 'Copy That'?". The Washington Post.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]