It's another day in this rural complex where a group of people live in apparent idyll, looked after by their "guides" and the doctors who instruct them on how to live their lives. Richard (Tim Donnelly) is one of these people, and today his best friend George (Frank Ashmore) is having a party because he is about to go to America, where all the townsfolk dream of going safe in the knowledge that this dream will come true eventually for them all. But what they are not aware of is that when George, and those who have gone before him, are innocently part of a conspiracy which needs them to survive...
If Parts: The Clonus Horror is mentioned today, it is down to its remarkable similarity to the flop Michael Bay action flick The Island - well, a flop by his standards, it still probably made far more than the creators of this could have ever envisaged for their tiny-budgeted efforts. The director Robert S. Fiveson quite rightly complained and took legal action, with the case being settled out of court, but it does mean that if you've seen them both, the temptation is to tick off the places where the would-be blockbuster matched with its comparitively impoverished inspiration. Maybe if they'd stuck even closer to it, they might have had a better film.
As it is, Clonus bore some resemblance to another film itself, and that was Coma, the Michael Crichton thriller which also took body farming as its subject, although while each used that notion as its starting point, they did go off in different directions. Here was very much the post-Watergate take on science fiction, where the powers that be are up to no good, and are willing to go as far as murder to get their way (although Richard Nixon and his cronies never went as far as that in their schemes). The mistrust of authority is evident in every frame of this, with our put upon clone hero Richard foiled at every turn as he tries to awaken from his supposedly perfect world.
As with most science fiction, if your main characters were in perfect worlds there would be something to occur that would snap them out of their reverie to jolt them into action: there's a measure of Logan's Run in this as well as Richard gets a girlfriend (Paulette Breen) and they both question their existence. The cruel aspect of this is that their doctors are well aware of this state of mind, and are using them as test subjects for their latest experiment on them (what precisely that would be, however, is somewhat muffled in the telling). This does not stop the experiment getting out of hand, and all those hidden cameras and microphones don't pick up the fact that Richard is have a game try at making a run for it.
In the course of his escape, he stumbles upon the huge refrigerated room where his old clone buddies have been hung up in plastic bags to keep them stored for whenever their body parts and organs are needed by their originals. The penny finally drops, and Richard gets away across the surrounding wilderness to end up in the big city, where he happens to meet one of the guest stars, Keenan Wynn, as a retired reporter who takes an interest when he finds the unfortunate sprawled in his garden: The Island has helicopter crashes, Clonus has a bloke falling off a bicycle. In spite of the lack of funds, here Fiveson managed to elevate his material above the handling that made it look a bit too much like a TV movie and work up a decent atmosphere of helplessness in the face of a too-powerful cabal, in spite of a punchline which offers a ray of hope. It's not a great film, but has potent and well-deployed ideas. Music by Hod David Schudson, heavy on the sinister choir.