The Curator of Schlock #409 by Jeff Shuster


Scientists are stupid. 

After a hearty breakfast of Honey Nut Cheerios and skim milk, the Revenging Manta handed me a gas mask. He then brought forth one grinding bowl filled with fentanyl pills, the pills we had stolen the night before after the ninja vigilante slaughtered a drug dealer named Gary. He ordered me to grind them into powder. I remember thinking one could make some killer pixie sticks with this stuff — To be continued. 


Tonight’s movie is 2009’s Splice from director Vincenzo Natali. This made it on Richard Roeper’s top ten worst movies of 2009. According to Wikipedia this film received generally positive reviews from many critics. Even Roger Ebert gave it three stars. 

Splice would make my top ten worst movies of the aughts. It’s that bad. It’s a movie about stupid characters making stupid decisions and doubling down on those stupid decisions. It’s a movie that shouldn’t exist.

Two genetic engineering scientists named Elsa (Sarah Polley) and Clive (Adrien Brody) create a couple of flesh slugs that are quite disgusting looking, but everyone is amazed at how amazing they are. One is female and one is male (not that you can tell the difference). Elsa wants to start messing around with human DNA and cloning, but the head of their company N.E.R.D. ((Nucleic Exchange Research and Development) doesn’t want any Frankenstein monsters. Elsa and Clive are to synthesize a specific protein from the slugs to cure all maladies and make the corporation bags of money.

Elsa is impatient with waiting for permission to start gene splicing so she convinces Clive to help her break the laws of nature by creating a human/animal hybrid from the DNA of an anonymous donor.  Elsa names the creature Dren which is nerd spelled backwards. Dren has a long tale with a deadly stinger at the end, cloven feet, a pointy tongue, and funky eyes that are a bit too far away from her nose. Elsa and Clive raise Dren in secret while neglecting their slug monitoring duties.

When it comes time to show the slugs off to the public, the female and male slugs attack each other because the female slug has inexplicably become a male. It’s a bloody mess and the press and investors get doused in slug guts. Meanwhile, Dren (Delphine Chanéac) has grown into a beautiful young hybrid in a matter of weeks. Elsa gives her a pretty dress to wear and some makeup, but won’t let her leave an isolated barn in the country. Dren grows wings out of her back and almost flies away until Clive says that he loves her and that sweet confession gets her to stay. 

Clive starts to develop feelings for Dren and it’s then that he realizes that the human DNA donor for Dren was none other than Elsa. After Dren stings her pet cat, Elsa takes drastic measures and surgically removes her stinger. Later, Clive visits Dren alone and the two of them bump uglies because he can’t resist her charms. The cloven feet and the tale would be red flags for me. Dren’s stinger grows back. Dren dies, Dren comes back to life as a male hybrid. Male Dren forces himself on Elsa and kills Clive. Elsa kills male Dren. The company offers Elsa a ton of money to carry her pregnancy to term. What could possibly go wrong?


Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131episode 284episode 441episode 442episode 443, episode 444episode 450, episode 477episode 491episode 492, episode 493episode 495episode 496episode 545episode 546episode 547episode 548, and episode 549) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.