Simplistic and sensationalized in the manner of classic 1950s Sci-fi spectacles, Syngenor is enjoyable precisely because it doesn't take itself too seriously, and neither should you. One of many sci-fi thrillers to come along after the success of Alien, this stab at militaristic society and the dangers of technology has more in common with Roger Corman's homegrown and cheaply made -- yet usually entertaining -- B-fests than Ridley Scott. Full of boobs, blood, and rubber monster suits that thrilled so many 'monster kids' in Saturday matinees, this guilty pleasure attempts to do nothing more than entertain. It succeeds with a deliciously tongue-in-cheek attitude and an abundance of enthusiasm.

While this creature feature won't ever be considered a cult classic, Syngenor sports a fast paced story crowded with inane dialogue and enough pre calculated 'jump' scares to give William Castle a run for his money (if he had ever experimented in the aliens amock sub-genre). Norton Cyberdyne, a weapons corporation, is creating a weapon that eliminates the need for human beings who require food and can die. Syngenor or SYNthesized GENetic Organism will fight the wars of tomorrow, which leaders agree will take place in desert conditions. This weapon is self reliant and deadly, capable of sustaining itself indefinitely without food or water and able to reproduce asexually. Unfortunately it is difficult to control and has the bad habit of chowing down on its victim's spinal fluid. Cyberdyne president Carter Brown is played by David Gale, who carries the entire shoulders on his hyper larger-than-life performance. Throwing aside caution, he argues that his killing machines will be controllable -- this, despite the brutal slaying of project head Ethan Valentine. Susan, the victim's niece, embarks on a quest to discover who or what killed her uncle, enlisting the aid of journalist Nick Cary. Regretfully, they succeed in penetrating the Cyberdyne building, where they become embroiled in office corruption and the Syngenor itself, reproducing merrily throughout the building and hankering for some spinal fluid!

While similar to countless other Sci-Fi programmers, with repetitive plot points and clich´┐Ż themes, Syngenor achieves a distinct voice and style, thanks primarily to Gale and the creature. Drama or serious characterization is not the focus here, exploitation is. While not satisfying on a pure story level, the film succeeds as a homage to (and modern rendition of) the aforementioned 'monster attacks' features that, we must admit, are of interest just as much for their unintentional humour as any scrap of believability they might possess. There are plenty of unbelievable character reactions, ignorant motivations, and technical goof ups here to be sure, but depending on what you're looking for, these erratic moments of absurdity can please as well as frustrate. If you're looking for serious science fiction with carefully crafted characters, dramatic plots, and believable effects, might I suggest The Day the Earth Stood Still, Event Horizon, or Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Syngenor, on the other hand, is on the same tier with Wasp Woman, Breeders, and others of its bumbling but loveable ilk.

Synapse Films lavishes love on this eccentric little cult offering, porting over extras from the previous 2005 Elite Disc. The picture itself is clean and largely grain free, presented in am anamorphic ally enhanced 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Skin tones are realistic, moody scenes carefully lit, and colors bold and vibrant. Audio is offered in English, French, and Spanish in both 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital surround.

Supplements are both informational and fun, including an Audio Commentary with actress Andreeff, writer Brent V. Friedman, and producer Jack F. Murphy. The most substantial extra in terms of background context, this chat sees the talent remembering the production, covering everything from the somewhat more lofty pretensions for the movie, its location, and the cast. A generous Stills Gallery features several enticing photos, including a bare bones look at the monster suit. Filmographies are less interesting but informational nonetheless. A handful of mini features are also included, featuring "David Gale at the Tokyo Fantastic Film Festival," which follows actor Gale around Tokyo for a screening of Syngenor, where eager Japanese fans drill him with questions. "Publicity Photo Shoot" further celebrates the monster suit, and for FX fans "Doug Beswick's Creature Shop" discusses the creature's origins from William Malone's original latex molds. Lastly, a "David Gale Audition" segment displays the thespian's penchant for chewing up the scenery with his manic personality.

Review by William Simmons

Released by Synapse Films
Region 1 - NTSC
Not Rated
Extras :
see main review