There is nothing remotely original about 1989's The Rejuvenator. The storyline will ring a bell for any studious genre junkie who has assimilated 1959's The Wasp Woman or 1987's Evil Spawn. An aging actress wants to be young again, so she strongarms a reluctant scientist until he agrees to inject an experimental serum into her vainglorious veins. I apologize. That was an exploitative witticism. It won't happen again. Anyway, I'm sure that you can guess what happens next. The agglutinoid has gruesome side effects, and our haughty anti-heroine transmutates into...well, the poster speaks for itself. Naturally, the only way to reverse the pernicious chemical reaction is to feast on brain juice.
The paint-by-numbers script is predictable to a fault. Every punch is telegraphed. And yet, I enjoyed this guileless cheese. I knew what was going to happen in the 1995 reboot of Gamera, but it still kicked my ass with authority. Fuck, that's a cool trilogy. Where was I? Oh, The Rejuvenator. It lays claim to a special something that is powerful enough to make any workaday creature feature watchable. I'm speaking of gooey, viscous practical effects. What's an 80's horror film without a payload of latex? Syrupy. Waxy. Pasty. These are buzz words for gore nerds, and they are the resin that keeps this direct-to-video quickie from imploding.
I don't want to give the impression that The Rejuvenator would be a plenary lemon without its F/X unit. The production values are satisfactory, and truth be told, the acting is rock solid (relatively speaking). It's just that I can't imagine any beggarly fanboy renting this flick in the hopes of riding an emotional rollercoaster. Heh, emotional rollercoaster. The death sequences are nice and moist. We're even treated to a smidgen of boorish nudity. Director Brian Thomas Jones has a handle on pacing, although his visual style lacks...style. I was curious to see the rest of his resume. Lo and behold, he presided over several episodes of Big Bad Beetleborgs. I'm going to give you a minute to reflect on that.
I don't have much else to report. In essence, The Rejuvenator is a modern take on The Wasp Woman. And in its defense, it's preferable to the actual remake of The Wasp Woman. May God have mercy on Roger Corman for inflicting a string of dolorous "updates" of b-classics upon Blockbuster shelves in the mid-90's. Have you experienced 1996's Humanoids From the Deep? Have you??? Until you have, don't castigate me with your judging eyes and your...your...judging ankles! You don't know what I've been through, motherfucker! Right, let's wrap this up. The Rejuvenator is derivative of past sci-fi sleaze, but it's docile fun. Lighten up, man.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 12:46 AM