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John’s Horror Corner: Aberration (1997), a surprisingly fun and gooey B-movie about a mutant lizard infestation.

March 14, 2016

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MY CALL:
I must say, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this B-movie. It’s loaded with silly action, playful humor, and rubber lizards that violate everything you learned in biology class; zaniness abounds. If you watch only the first 10, 20 or 30 minutes of this, you’d think you’d be making the right decision to stop watching. Just please keep watching. If you’ve ever loved a B movie this will probably be a pleasant surprise for you. MORE MOVIES LIKE Aberration: Mutant infestations are loads of fun. For some of my favorites featuring slugs, cockroaches and rats, try Slugs (1989), The Nest (1988) and Of Unknown Origin (1983).

This film opens with a sluggish pace as we meet Amy (Pamela Gidley; Cherry 2000) and her cat moving into her winter vacation home (?), a secluded cabin in the woods, where something is clearly (to the audience) amiss. The cat functions very much as dogs often do in horror, hesitating to enter the cabin as if it sensed an enemy and pointing out clues to the presence of “something” else.

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We encounter traces of thick, green “horror movie” monster slime in and around her cabin. What’s more is that the local elderly weirdo’s dog has disappeared and a nearby biologist is collecting samples of slimy reptilian skin sheddings in the wild. Playing the harbinger trope, the old man warns Amy to “get out while she still can” because it’s “mating season.” Evidently this guy knows something bad is coming and, for some reason, doesn’t take the time to explain. Isn’t that just always the case in horror movies, by the way? How the people who could actually save your life are too busy being vague and weird to consider explaining something.

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Observing signs of some sort of infestation, she buys some bug spray and mouse traps. But after she comes home to a mutilated cat, it’s apparent this is more than a few roaches or mice. Our know-it-all biologist reveals that they’re dealing with geckoes, mutant geckoes…with teeth! In fact, it’s an iguana-gecko hybrid that spits poison! Ridiculous! But also stupid fun.

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What follows are some pleasant surprises including a feasted upon human corpse, plenty of laughs, a gooey dissection, stupid nonsense science, rubber lizard monsters, idiotic logic, pulsating mutant lizard eggs, some unexpectedly random martial arts, communicating like velociraptors in Jurassic Park (1993), three explosions, lots of gory lizard splatters and slimy gooey egg squishing. There’s a surprising amount of bad humorous B-action here, and only a few seconds of it are CGI.

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This B-movie plays all the strings of horror tropes. The weirdo harbinger, the pet sentinel, the secluded cabin in the woods, an incoming storm, a socially awkward scientist who seems to know everything and the uncharacteristically sensual candlelit bath scene. But all these tropes are delivered with a sort of forgivable B-movie charm. This movie is surprisingly likable. The pinnacle of the eye-rolling so-bad-it’s-good moments comes when Amy drowns a lizard, that then “evolves” (complete misuse of the word evolve, by the way) gills right in front of them! They also develop an immunity to poison in hours and develop bulletproof scales!!!! Yeah, this is surely something your biology teacher never wanted you to see.

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I must say, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this B-movie. If you watch only the first 10, 20 or 30 minutes of this, you’d think you’d be making the right decision to stop watching. Just please keep watching. If you’ve ever loved a B movie this will probably be a pleasant surprise for you. There are LOADS of scenes with effects and blood and zaniness!

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