Syngenor DVD Review

Written by Peter West

DVD released by Elite Entertainment

Directed by George Elanjian Jr.
Writen by Michael Carmody (story) and Brent V. Friedman (screenplay)
1990, Region 1 (NTSC), 98 minutes, Rated R
DVD released on October 28th, 2003

Starr Andreeff as Susan Valentine
Mitchell Laurance as Nick Cary
David Gale as Carter Brown
Charles Lucia as Stan Armbrewster
Riva Spier as Paula Gorski
Jeff Doucette as David Greenwait
Bill Gratton as Lt. Leo Rosselli
Lewis Arquette as Ethan Valentine
Jon Korkes as Tim Calhoun
Melanie Shatner as Bonnie Brown

Norton Cyberdyne, a multinational corporation which produces military defense technology, has created a SYNthesized GENetic ORganism – SYNGENOR. A “Super-Soldier.” The perfect killing machine.


The movie opens with a after-hours scene at Norton Cyberdyne, a couple of executives bring a couple of bimbos back to the office for fun and games. The fun ends quickly as a Syngenor is purposely released, killing the girls and one of the execs. The Syngenor then proceeds to head to the home of it's inventor Ethan Valentine (Lewis Arquette). After killing Valentine, the Syngenor then attacks his niece Susan (Starr Andreeff), who narrowly escapes her uncle's fate by creatively finding a new use for hair spray.

Comforted by overly sensitive cop Lt. Leo Rosselli (Bill Gratton), Susan is told the investigation of her uncle's murder is being squashed by higher ups influenced by Norton Cyberdyne's powerful executives. Teaming up with news reporter Nick Cary (Mitchell Laurance), Susan starts her own investigation of the murder. Once inside the corporate headquarters, Susan and Nick find themselves deeply involved in a corporate powerplay that has little regard for rules or ethics. Norton's CEO Carter Brown (David Gale) is slipping into the depths of madness as those under him plot his corporate demise!

Once again the Syngenors are released, this time their target is the Norton Cyberdyne staff. However, when finished, will the public be next? A indestructible soldier with no known weakness, it's up to Susan and Nick to stop the Syngenor and expose the evil plans of Norton Cyberdyne.


There's two stars to this movie... Neither is the Syngenor, though... The Ambassador Hotel, famous in Los Angeles with a very rich and tragic history (RFK was assassinated there), serves as a multi purpose filming location with both the corporate and laboratory scenes being filmed there. The other star is David Gale. First becoming know as Father Mark Reddin on the daytime soap The Secret Storm, then catapulting to fame as Doctor Carl Hill in Re-Animator, Gale really delivers the performance of a lifetime in Syngenor! Gale is almost apart from the rest of the story in a way as you watch his over the top decent into madness. From the injections of green fluid in the neck to the bunny ears at the end, Gale's performance is a sight to be seen. Dying from heart complications the next year, this is Gale's last major role in a film and next to Re-Animator as his finest. The genre is much poorer without him.

As producer Jack Murphy discusses in the commentary the movie is a decent, modest budget film with a standard sci-fi script. Starr Andreeff and Mitchell Laurance deliver solid performances as the lead characters. The Syngenor is actually the same creature used in the film Scared to Death (1982). Using the same molds the Syngenors were created for this film. Overall Syngenor is a pretty average Sci-fi flick that is taken to higher levels by the performance of David Gale making it a "cult" hit that belongs in the collection of any Gale of Re-Animator fan!

Video and Audio:

The new Digital Transfer in a 1.85:1 anamorphic presentation is spectacular. Colors are sharp and vivid, very little grain throughout the film. I had seen a VHS version when it was first released and this blows any home video or television version away! Elite Entertainment has done a outstanding job bringing us this DVD, once again setting a high standard for quality.

Syngenor has a Dolby Digital 5.1, 2.0 soundtrack as well as French and Spanish dubbed tracks. While the music may be standard fare for a low budget thriller, it sounds fantastic!

Special Features:

  • Commentary Track
  • Featurette # 1: David Gale at Tokyo Fantastic Film Festival
  • Featurette # 2: Publicity Photo Shoot
  • Featurette # 3: Doug Beswick’s Creature Shop
  • Featurette # 4: David Gale Audition
  • Trailer Gallery
  • Photo and Publicity Gallery
  • Filmographies

Starting with a very interesting commentary by lead actress Starr Andreeff, producer Jack Murphy and writer Brent Friedman, Syngenor is loaded with extras. There's a trailer gallery of other ASA releases done by Elite as well as this main feature. There's five featurettes (including the Easter egg). Elite truly delivers with Syngenor!




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