Trash Or Terror Tuesday: Progeny (1998)

t’s time for #TrashOrTerrorTuesday

…when I examine a film that’s been languishing in my personal library to determine if it is #Trash or #Terror

– or more importantly, if it deserves to stay in my collection.

And so, out from the dusty shelves of #VHS tapes & DVDs comes…

DVD box for Progeny (1998)Progeny (1998) by #BrianYuzna

w/#ArnoldVosloo #JillianMcWhirter #BradDourif #LindsayCrouse #WilfordBrimley

An unsuspecting woman is impregnated by aliens who are experimenting on the human population.

There Are Some Things In The Universe That We Can’t Understand

“Evil in a bottle”

#Horror #SciFi

I bought a DVD copy of Progeny (1998) a long time ago, undoubtedly because of the names Brian Yuzna and Stuart Gordon. Every horror fan on the planet knows that these two guys were behind the certified classic Re-Animator (1985), as well as From Beyond (1986), Yuzna went on to direct Bride of Re-Animator (1990) and Society (1989), which I wrote about a while back. Gordon directed Dolls (1986) and The Pit and the Pendulum (1991), both of which are personal favourites of mine.

Looking at the box for Progeny, which credits Yuzna as director and Gordon as a producer and co-creator of the story, it’s not hard to imagine why I immediately snapped it up from the bargain bin where I had found it.

In the years since I first watched Progeny, I have become aware that many people hate it. Why? I have no idea. Some blame the acting, others the direction – many of the opinions are wildly contradictory. After almost 20 years, I couldn’t remember many specific details from the movie – just that I had enjoyed it. Could I have been wrong about it? Could Yuzna and Gordon have made a movie as bad as some people say it is?

To find out, I decided to put Progeny to the #TrashOrTerrorTuesday test.

Progeny is based on the (what to call it?) urban legend, or mythology, or belief, that people are being abducted by aliens who conduct experiments on them. We’ve all heard the stories. Someone sees a bright light and then the next thing they know it’s two hours later – even though it only feels like two seconds to them. 

The experiments are often of a sexual nature – the term “anal probe” has almost become synonymous with alien abduction experiences – and Progeny does not do a lot to change that. Jillian McWhirter plays a wife who, in the midst of making love to her husband (played by Arnold Vosloo), is taken up to a spacecraft and probed and poked (in the nose among other places) and later discovers that she is pregnant. She believes it is her husbands doing, but he knows that something is wrong, as his sperm count is ridiculously low. 

Eventually they both come to realize that this thing growing inside of her may not be a human baby.

So, what’s the verdict?

Progeny (1998) is a moderate to full blown Terror. It’s legitimately suspenseful and tense – and you feel a real sense of panic, as the characters both do in their own ways. I don’t know what some of the IMDb reviews are talking about, the acting is good. Arnold Vosloo has been in over 80 things and is perhaps best known for playing Imhotep in The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001). Jillian McWhirter only has 26 credits, but they include such cool, #NotQuiteClassicCinema as Violated (1984), Nowhere to Run (1989), After Midnight (1989), Rage (1995), a couple of Bloodfist movies, The Dentist 2 (1998) and Dee Snider‘s Strangeland (1998).

Brad Dourif is excellent as a doctor who is studying the alien abduction phenomenon.

And it’s always a pleasure to see my late Twitter buddy Wilford Brimley in anything.

Progeny (1998) even delivers on the #Trash side of things, with some full frontal nudity and moderately kinky alien probing. This is in line with the kind of kinky madness that can be found in films like Re-Animator, From Beyond, and Society

In fact, one can’t help by compare Brad Dourif’s character to Herbert West, and Arnold Vosloo’s character (who is also a doctor) to Dan Cain. Together they do some questionable things to try to save the blonde love interest (Jillian McWhirter) – who isn’t unlike Barbara Crampton, in a way. 

Don’t get me wrong. Progeny is not as good as Re-Animator. But it’s good enough for this Re-Animator fan to keep it in his personal collection.