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Monday, November 19, 2012

Bio-Art: Black Sheep.

So, I've promised you all something from the famous Weta Workshop. Luckily, they've provided creatures for a film that speaks very directly to this column: 



Black Sheep was a horror-comedy creature feature made in 2007. Everything about the film screams "New Zealand," from the setting to the actors to Weta Workshop. Reception was generally positive, and if you enjoy silly horror movies that are obviously silly horror movies, you should get a kick out of it.  Plus, you get to see sheep attack people; when was the last time that made it onto a screen?

The protagonist of the film, Henry Oldfield, once worked on a farm. Certain events gave him a phobia of sheep. Eventually, he decides to take up the old family business of sheep-keeping, which means paying a visit to his brother Angus. Angus is still in the business...and is having way too much fun with his work in a number of senses.

Henry isn't the only one paying the Oldfield Farm a visit. A pair of environmentalists, one of whom is a girl named "Experience," busts into the farm and takes a fetal lamb as evidence. As they escape, the fetus is let out of its container; the surprisingly-able lamb then turns to bite the man of the pair on the ear, as well as infect every other sheep on the farm. It turns out that the farm's secret ingredient in its sheep is human DNA- and that Angus, its current owner, is too fond of sheep.

Lovely work from Weta.


For some reason, this gene splicing causes all the sheep (even a fetal lamb) to go crazy, turning them all into sadistic thrill-killers. Whoever doesn't die by the sheep's teeth becomes a terrifying weresheep. No, really, the effects on the weresheep are actually pretty good. Henry and Experience  do, of course, manage to find a cure for weresheep-ness. This is not enough to save the people who have been disemboweled by sheep, obviously.

Although clearly intended to be funny, Black Sheep addresses the growing concern of GMO's. At the same time, it makes fun of the environmentalists trying to prevent GMO's from existing (a character named "Experience" speaks volumes). In the end, however, it does side with organic farming...with the uneasy undertone that GMO's will probably always be out there. If GMO's led to man-eating sheep, would you buy them?

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