In an unspecified future, a colony of pampered but closely monitored men and woman have spent their lives in a sealed-off complex (actually the then-new campus of California's Moorpark Community College), protected by security personnel, benevolent doctors and their complete isolation from the outside world where, they're led to believe, something terrible has happened. They wear identical clothing and are kept under constant surveillance, spending their days in pursuit of physical fitness; those who hone their flesh to peak form are qualified for a celebratory party and passage to America, the last bright spot in a blighted world. Unlike most of the other residents, Richard (Tim Donnelly) is driven by a restless curiosity about the world beyond their fitness-oriented utopia. He's also drawn to Lena (Paulette Breen), even though the colony's rules explicitly forbid romance. After finding a strange object — an Old Milwaukee beer can — drifting in a stream, Richard becomes convinced that the apparently benevolent Dr. Jameson (Dick Sargent), who runs the facility and deflects Richard's questions with the assurance that he'll be told everything in due time, is keeping something from him. Richard begins poking around restricted areas and finds a map of the United States and a file that says he's the "son" of Richard Knight (David Hooks), a famous writer. Knight's brother, Jeffrey (Peter Graves), is a senator with presidential ambitions. From there it's just a short leap to the awful truth: The colonists are all clones, created by amoral entrepreneur George Walker (Frank Ashmore) for the express purpose of supplying spare parts for the rich and powerful. One of the other clones is murdered and stashed in cold storage after his farewell party, which gives Richard the impetus to escape. But he's pursued by ruthless agents whose mandate to stop Richard before he can reveal the secrets of the Clonus project endangers everyone with whom he comes into contact. Though undermined by its small budget, ridiculed on Mystery Science Theater 3000, and derivative of THESE ARE THE DAMNED (1963), LOGAN'S RUN (1976) and COMA (1978), this movie's paranoid grasp of the bioethical dilemmas inherent in human cloning make it seem startlingly prescient. CLONUS influence on the big-budget THE ISLAND (2005) is obvious but unacknowledged.
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- Released: 1979
- Rating: R
- Review: In an unspecified future, a colony of pampered but closely monitored men and woman have spent their lives in a sealed-off complex (actually the then-new campus of California's Moorpark Community College), protected by security personnel, benevolent doctors… (more)