Triskaidekafiles is a love letter to cheesy cinema from the 80s and 90s, with the occasional dip into other eras.  if you're a fan of MST3K, Elvira, Joe Bob Briggs, or just bad horror movies in general, Trisk is the place for you.

Colony of the Dark (1995)


WRITER: Robert Gursha

DIRECTOR: Thomas Berna

STARRING: Joan Dinco as Jenny Dole
    David Rommel as Jim Matthews
    Anna Zizzo as Meredith Weaver
    Susan Cane as Suzanne Dole
    Steven F.L. Dompike as Security Guard

QUICK CUT: Married womanizing scientist Jim Matthews is discovered by his wife and fellow scientist.  In a fit of anger she throws an experimental serum in his face and this makes his limbs fall off and kill people.

    Jim Matthews -
Jim is a scientist at Gendes Corporation.  We never see just what he's studying, but that doesn't matter.  What does matter is that Jim is cheating on his wife with the secretary Jenny.  He's also more than willing to feed the parasite living within him with dead bodies after his wife infects him with it.  Yeah, no sympathy for this guy.

    Jenny Dole - A secretary at Gendes, who is madly in love with the married Jim.  She thinks that someone who will cheat on his wife will remain truthful and loyal to her.  Not sure what Jim sees in her, really.

    Meredith Weaver - Jim's wife who does actual science in the movie.  She's trying to create a serum to reattach limbs, but instead has discovered a parasite that takes over a host's body.  She doesn't take the news of Jim's cheating well.

It's bad when this is the best looking thing in your movie.

THE GUTS: First up, that's the only title we're given in the credits, Colony.  Not Colony of the Dark as the DVD says, or Colony Mutation as IMDB has this listed as, so fun confusing times there.  Second, the credits music sounds like it escaped my Atari 2600.  Eek.  And this is the least cringe worthy few moments of the movie.

What may be the worst looking movie of all time begins with a woman stalking through a house with a gun.  She looks quite determined, or constipated.  You know how kids look when they play at clearing a house like they see cops do on tv?  Yeah, imagine that, but with a grownup.

During a shot of the gun's shadow, there is a brief frame where there is a giant honking hair or scratch or something on the film.  Just when I thought this couldn't look any worse.  I am in for quite the ride, aren't I?

That scene ends with a gunshot, and a handy title card transports us back to the Gendes Corporation from three weeks ago.  Thanks movie, for utterly failing to build up any suspense, and blowing what little you might have done in thirty seconds!

So yeah, Gendes.  It looks like a high school chemistry lab.  Even the halls look like a high school.  Maybe a college.  But that's about as far as I'll go.  They pepper a few establishing shots with people trying to do sciency things, but I ain't buying it.

We finally see some people talking, or actually, we don't.  We see two people whose lips aren't always moving, and dubbed over with way bad ADR.  I think I can still hear the original audio underneath it.  My gods, this movie is finding new depths of bad production.  The entire movie is done like this, with none of the original dialogue kept.

Did an experiment blow up the walls?

Next we meet our star and his wife, Jim Matthews and Meredith Weaver, as they both head off to seperate experiments and try making dinner plans.  Their chemistry is non-existant, so they each find an excuse to not meet up later.

And we learn they're married by Jim actually calling his wife, "wife".  No, that's not contrived at all.  Of course, he also used the word 'yon' so he may just be weird.  Still, poor scripting.

Jim stops by the desk of Jenny to drop off forms to file and...heeeey!  He's making a lunch date with her!  But he's married!  Bad Jim, bad!

Anyways, Jenny takes her noon break, and meets Jim, telling him how much it pisses her off that he sleeps with his wife.  Yes, how dare he be intimate with the woman he married.

Noon in Alaska, maybe.

Back with Merideth's experiment, we meet fellow scientist Kelly and discover he's trying to discover the genome responsible for penis size.  I bet he wants it for personal use.  Just a guess.

They start cutting into a stuffed mouse, which looks like it is glowing thanks to the piss poor filming.  Kelly hums to fill up the dead air.  You don't have to do that.  It sounds awful with the bad ADRing, and it sounds goofy while you're hacking up the rat.

If you had actual music you wouldn't need to do this.  Heck, cutting into an experiment is interesting enough to allow for the silence.  The humming is amateurish.  I could even let it go, but he keeps doing it!

Hidden thirteen!

After hacking a limb off, they inject it with a serum and wait.  After 15 seconds something pushes out of the mouse and they're upset.  They want the serum to reattach the limb, not grow a whole new one from a new creature inside the mouse that will live in symbiosis with it.

Ok, so what they want isn't working, but still...that's a pretty big breakthrough, right?  They've essentially created new life.  That's like trying to discover cold fusion, and being depressed at how your lead keeps turning to gold.

Meredith gets home and finds the credit card bill and the charges Jim has been making to the local Holiday Inn.  So the one thing Jim said he had to do, get the mail before his wife, he utterly fails at.  Bravo!

At said Holiday Inn, Jim makes some pillowtalk with Jenny before leaving, and he gets caught on camera by some guy who pulled up.  Meredith found a private eye pretty fast.

Finally Meredith confronts Jim with the photographs.  Back in the '90s, that probably means Jim had a few more weeks of boning Jenny at the motel.

Now, the only photos we saw being taken were ones of Jim leaving the room.  There is no money shot.  We don't even know if there's photos of Jenny.  So, all she has is that Jim was at a motel.  There's actually some legitamite reasons he could be doing that.  I'm not defending him, I know what he's done, but her case is weak.

How dare you have business meetings!

Jim actually makes those sorts of excuses, and Meredith responds by throwing the dreaded serum #607 right in his face.  It's like Two-Face's origin but shot on crappy video, and without Christopher Nolan.

Next there's a pointless scene of Jenny in a parking garage with the cameraman sneaking up on her.  She pulls a gun on the guy, and then he goes running off.  Why?

Fortunately, Jim is at her home and says he can stay the night since Meredith is out of town.  She is?  Since when?  Jenny says she's glad, and you can tell she is sincere by her amazing acting ability.

Serum #607 - Colony Madness

Jim heads to the kitchen after a bad dream to get some milk, pokes at some welts on his arm, and then the sheer weight of the milk jug makes his arm fall clean off.  Or maybe it's a colony from the serum, since it then proceeds to crawl off like Thing.

He stares at his arm sitting there, and laughs it off, assuming he's dreaming.  That's an almost rational response.  He then screams as his other arm falls off.

But because that was in danger of becoming too interesting, we cut ahead to Jenny getting coffee the next morning.

As if the bad dialogue replacement wasn't bad enough, when Jim walks out of the bedroom, the foley guys made his footfalls by what I can only describe as slapping steaks against a countertop.  At least his limbs seem to be reattached.

Jim's feeling a little off his game, but I guess losing your limbs in the night will do that to a guy.  He probably spent half the night trying to catch his arms, and that would just make him more tired.

For some reason, all of a sudden Jim speaks very strangely, as if he's forgotten English and can barely find the words he wants.

I smell bacooooon!

Later at work, (after it's snowed!) Jim blows off Jenny, and it seems the bacon gave him back his language skills.  Good to know if I'm suffering from aphasia.

Jim's scours Meredith's office for any information on the serum, but finds nothing.  This is the smartest thing he's done all movie.

He finds his wife in the lab, which you know is a lab because it has the periodic table of elements on the wall, and tells Meredith he broke up with Jenny.  He says things can go back to the way they were, if she'll just cure him of whatever she did.

Meredith tells him there is no cure, and all my sympathy for Jim, which was bordering on zero anyways, flies out the window as he begins to beat the crap out of his wife.

She gives in after the beating and agrees to do whatever he says.  She tells him where the data is on the serum, and also proceeds to give him a blowjob.  And not a vaguely implied one, but very obviously that's what she's doing.

And either Jim needs to get himself checked out even further or Meredith is doing it very wrong, because blood starts to spurt everywhere.

Or is it the return of condiment bukakke?

Next we meet Jenny's sister Suzanne, talking over the phone to Jenny herself.  I'd not bring this up at all, except for the continued awful movie making.  The scene plays entirely on the sister, and we only hear Jenny over the phone.  The movie cuts between different shots of the sister, but never away from her, so the edits are terribly obvious.  It doesn't get much worse as we jump from one angle to another in the middle of a sentence.

Jim's next on the phone with Jenny while he puts his wife into a dufflebag.  His speech impediment seems to have returnd as well.  I think I get what they're going for with it, but they could have done it better and with greater consistency.  Or with a better actor.

He then heads down to the sea and wanders the streets.  Um, what about the body?  Did he toss her out to sea?  Did he just wander down there to clear his head?  Well, never mind because he heads into a coffee shop to meet another woman.  He just can't live with one, I guess.

While the new girl is in the restroom, Charlie Brown's teacher calls out from under Jim's shirt, and he shoves a roll in there to keep it happy.  And you'd be surprised how little of an exageration that sentence is.

Jim leads her out to her car, and then assaults her before she can scream too loudly.  And once again things are about to get interesting and we jump to some time later with Jim doing paperwork.  I hate you, movie.

We actually get to see a phonecall with two sides as Jenny calls Jim to make another date.  While she waits in the restaraunt, Jim is hit with a massive gas attack and has to pull over.  And I think his pants just twitched.  Oh my god, a trouser snake.

Jim heads down to the wino district and two bums fight over who gets to talk to him.  What?  They have even more random dialogue before that, but it's just babble that's useless filler.

He drops trow and the bum backs away, not wanting to do THAT for some spare change.  But instead of more blowjobs of death, Jim rips off his leg and throws it at the bum.

The stump end reaches out with a bunch of tentacles, and the leg squid crushes the guy's head.  Now, does feeding one part feed the whole?  And how much of Jim is creature?  Does he have limbs of his own anymore?  Internal organs?  Why am I bothering?

It's hilarious to watch one-legged Jim hopping to retrieve his leg.  I wanted to give you all a screencap of the leg squid crushing the guy, but the scene is way to dark and way too one colour.  Sadness.

But that's not the worst of Jim's problems, because his nightly executional made him miss his date with Jenny, and now she's all upset.  Oh no!  Whatever shall our plucky bachelor do??  Yeah, you can tell girl troubles are not the story I care about here.

The editing just totally goes on vacation once Jim sees Jenny.  They interupt lines to cut to another angle, there's weird bright flashes when people hit, the cuts are sharper than they should be, leaving out action.  It is just all over the place.

He's trying to escape the movie, stop him!

Jim gets kicked out of his mistress's apartment, and he has another nightmare when he falls asleep at the office.  Why doesn't he go home?  There's no Meredith to worry about...ah, screw it.

Although, quite why running through the woods is a nightmare, I don't know.  Maybe if they showed us what was chasing him.

He wakes up and a guard is still there too.  They chat about problems and the bacon tries to offer advice, but I'm pretty sure he doesn't have a handle on Jim's kinds of problems.  To make matters worse, Jim's stomach starts rumbling.

Jim beats the guard with his own nightstick, but we're left wondering if he feeds his colony with the guard, which is a shame.  This movie would be almost bearable if it showed more.  Or you were able to see what it did show.  It would still be awfully made, but at least the gore would be entertaining, and have some action.

There's more boring phonecalls between Jim and Jenny, and Jenny and her sister.  Her sister starts coming around to Jenny dating a married man, and insists Jenny drag him over.  She better be careful though, his arm might pop off if she pulls too hard.

I hope that's the penis enlargement serum, and not the breast enlargement one.

Oh hey, it's our favourite future spammer with his drugs to create bigger dicks.  He's coming close, but instead he's discovered a disease.  He drinks from a beaker, and is that supposed to be the disease he drank?  I hope not.  Or maybe I do.  Death by stupid would be a nice change of pace.

Jim shows up to picks Kelly's brain about serum #607, and he takes Jim to the men's room so they can chat.  This is what you get for drinking something the colour of piss, man.

Kelly has no answers, so Jim goes into a stall, and while the movie plays the most dramatic music ever for a depantsing, he takes off his shoes and slacks.

His legs launch off, much to Jim's surprise, which surprises ME because he did kinda make it easy for them to escape, no?

They kill the science dude, but it all happens half off screen.  They cropped this movie from a full frame image for widescreen, see.  While it mostly works ok, there are occasionally scenes like this where you see half a body and blood going everywhere, while missing the action entirely.

Feets don't fail me now!

Suddenly, Jim is crawling across the floor to retrieve his legs.  If you look carefuly, somewhere along the way he lost his shirt.  More oops.

While driving around, the limbs demand more food.  Why are they bothering?  They seem pretty autonomous.  They can tear themselves off and kill at will.  Why not just leave Jim and go chow down on the guys in the park?  What does Jim get out of this relationship?  Why do they need Jim?  Why am I still trying to catch up to the logic train?

Jim grabs some fresh meat from the supermarket and heads back home for his snack.  If he was in such dire need to get food for his symbiote, why did they decide they had enough time to drive home?  Ok, ok, I'll stop with the thinking.

He feeds his stomach the meat, but quickly throws it back up through his own mouth, which would raise so many questions if I wasn't deciding to ignore them.  But the creatures seem to have decided to only eat living meat from now on.  They have developed a taste for human flesh!

Meanwhile, at Jenny's sister's place, she is casually cleaning her gun.  Hooboy, she must not be expecting much from Jim's visit.  He better make the best first impression ever.

Jim randomly shows up to say hi and say everyone should get together so he can prove what an awesome guy he is.  Isn't that what everyone was trying to do already?  Why can't he do it since he's already there?  And I thought he was hungry?

Once he's back driving, the cravings return.  I guess the creatures only get hungry when he's in the car.  I get that sometimes.

He stops by a bar to pick up meals, and some girls take interest.  They hilariously check him out, and because this transfer is so godsawful, I picture that's how they really see things.  And I have to wonder how they discern that pasty glob in the grey soup is attractive.

The movie randomly cuts to black and then right back again, in its pitiful attempt to show the passage of time.  Even the dialogue drops out.  How many rookie mistakes can this movie make?  Answer: all of them.

It gets late, and the girls decide it's time to go.  Jim offers to drive one home, and she says in the most sarcastic voice possible that she'll take a ride home with Mr. Smooth.  They all agree that's fine, and I'm left stammering at the screen.  She wasn't serious!  Clearly not serious!  But even the girl who delivered the line with sarcasm thinks she was!  The mind boggles.

Holy crap, he never took off the wedding ring.

The car ride home is more boring, with more murky darkness.  They chat a bit, and surprisingly, they silence out a certain f word.  I'm oddly taken aback by that.  The movie is unrated, and not distributed by anyone outside of some guy's garage, why?  With everything else, that's almost a minor offense.

He stops the car and starts playing with the girl's hair, and the makeout session begins.  It's hard to miss thanks to the lighting, but if you look carefully, you can see his fingers have popped off.  I'm again wondering how this works, and again just choosing to ignore it.

Suddenly, the girl screams, turns to the camera, and her face is covered in teeny batwinged fingers!  It's hilarious looking!  And not helped by them having little eyeballs that make them look like a flock of penis bats!

Penis bats, I tells ya!

Over his next victim, Jim laments how he planned for a nice boring life; college, marriage, kids.  He didn't want this.  What?  Don't we all make plans to some day launch penis bats out of our hands?  I know I'm seriously considering becoming that when I grow up.

Jim heads over to Jenny's sister's, and while she's getting food ready, his friend's stomachs act up again.  She hears the noise, and Jim attacks her with more bad fight choreography.  I think I see why most of this movie was dark and murky.  It hid the flaws better.

He punches her down to the ground, and tears open his shirt, revealing what they've been teasing throughout the film; his belly button is now a mouth.  Dude, the guy's become Satannish!

And he has nipple eyes!

Jim falls to pieces, a pile of head, shoulders knees and toes (knees and toes!), and the colony scrambles across the floor attacking the poor girl.

At least we finally get to see all the little critters after all the teasing and darkness.  Woohoo.

The effects are...ok.  There's something creepy about limbs crawling around with insecty bits sticking out, but overall it's weak.  They're cheaply made, and the flailing tentacles trying to hold down the girl, well.  I just don't buy it.  They're like wet noodles trying to hold someone down.

Jim lost his head.

Why...why does he have teeny arms and legs suddenly on his head?  I know I said I'd stop but...come on!  I can roll with him not being able to breathe, no heart, and all that, but where did those come from!

Jenny's sister is no wuss though, so she's easily able to toss the wet noodles aside and grab her gun.  Jim seems pretty ok with his new lot in life, and joyfully commands himself to go after her.

But when one of the arms gets shot, the rest of the parts bug out like someone called the cops and make a run for it.

At this point, the movie catches up with it's beginning, and the scene is way better in context.  They should have just left it off the beginning and dove straight into the story.

The lights go out thanks to Jim Headroom, and the remaining arm attacks.  Suzanne beats mercilessly on the thing with the gun butt.  Careful, that thing ain't cheap!  Well, ok it is.  Have at it.

So now that Jim is disarmed, he sends the penis bats after her, and the movie randomly becomes CGI for a moment.

My god, penis bats. I love these things.

Suzanne squishes one in her hands, and runs.  She trips in the darkness, and Jim's torso somehow crawls over to her so she can get in his belly.

She shoots the torso, I think, and it too seems to die.  Do I raise the question of where these things' weak spots are?  No?  Ok.

Suddenly, one of the legs flies up and grabs her by the back of the head, trying to eat her brains.  I never thought I'd see someone dance around trying to get a leg off the back of their head.

Boot to the head!

I love that they have the fake Jim head watching all of this.  Did the actor have to go home for the day?  Did they run out of money to pay him?  Did he up and leave?  It's just so hilarious that they just shake a fake head around for Jim now.

Suzanne keeps tearing tentacles out of the leg stump until the thing is dead, and by my count that just leaves the other leg, and the head.  Jesus, he's fleshy Voltron.

Jim crawls over to the discarded gun and pushes it around with his chin.  I wonder if he can even pick it up with his teeny hands.

I guess he can't, but he found a knife somewhere.

No clue where he got the knife, but he throws it when Suzanne finds the head, and quickly misses.  No end of questions here, too.

Jim's head gets grabbed, and...

Oh my gods.

I literally just laughed for two minutes straight.  Jim's midget head just let out this loud, high pitched, girly "NOOOO!" scream.  That was more hilarious than Darth Vader's cry at the end of Episode 3.  That was right up there with Mister Bill.  Hell, it may as well have BEEN Mister Bill!  That single moment robbed this movie of what little dignity and seriousness it may have had.

And my throat hurts.

Suzanne keeps smashing the head against the floor, splattering blood overwhere.  And it sounds like she's hitting a hollow watermelon.  Which it probably is, knowing these foley artists.

And their climactic shot of the dead, departed of the fake head.  That's truly a shame.  But after that scream, I wouldn't want to be associated with this movie anymore either.

Finally, the movie tries to be clever, and falls flat on it's face, by having the phone ring and have it be a pest exterminator.  Suzanne says she no longer has a pest problem and hangs up.  As if the movie needed further insult to injury.  It should have just ended on her looking at Jim's beaten cranium, instead of grabbing the audience and yelling, "GET IT??  Do ya?!"


Video: HAHAHAHAHA.  I may decree this the worst looking movie I've seen yet.  The screencaps are actually better than the movie actually looks, since they're shrunk down to half their size, and I tweaked the contrast a little for my standards.  Seriously.  The movie looks worse than I show you.  Let that sink in.

Audio: It's all ADR, all the time.  And bad ADR, too.  Much of the original audio is left in, and it sounds like it probably was recorded from an on-camera mic.  Almost as laughable as the video.

First Kill: A hefty thirty minutes in, when Jim kills his wife Meredith with a blowjob.

Best Kill: Has to be Kelly's death, as the legs go blasting across the bathroom and stomp all over the guy.  I hate giving it to this, since the actual killing was cropped off, but the flying legs make it worth it.  And we at least can see something.

Best Line: Jim's realisation of what the colony craves, "The has to be...ALIVE."

Blood Type - C: There's some blood, and some fun effects and kills, but it's overall too hard to see, or not there at all as they cut away to other scenes.  What we can see is ok, and that's it.

Sex Appeal: Nothing to see here, unless you like penis bats and nipple eyes.

Movie Rating: This movie fails, completely.  Acting, directing, editing, sound, filming, I could go on.  There's no build up, just Jim killing things and being stopped.  It's not even clever.  It's just plain bad on every movie making level.  One out of five killer limbs.

Entertainment Rating: But as these things tend to go, the worse a movie is, the more entertaining it is.  That said, this movie is still painful to watch, even as you're pointing and laughing at every single frame.  It is fun to watch, and your jaw will be on the floor, aghast at how bad it is when you're not laughing.  If the opportunity arises, watch this.  But don't spend money on it, if you can avoid it.  Four out of five serums.


And amusingly, there was a credit at the start of the film that isn't listed at the end, so I have no idea who he played.