Emerging just after the arid 1980s, The Borrower was one of the few horror movies to feature a black lead (and a female one at that) in quite some time, helping to bridge the gap between the Blaxploitation ’70s and the urban horror of the late ’90s. Granted, in Tiger Woods’ world, Rae Dawn Chong is technically “Cablinasian,” but I live in “one-drop” America, so I’m claiming her. Welcome aboard! Have an afro pick.
Chong stars as hard-boiled LA policewoman Diana Pierce, who, in typical Hollywood cop fashion, is burnt-out, pissed-off and in general need of copulation. On top of that, a psycho rapist criminal (Neil Giuntoli) that she just arrested has escaped and is out for revenge. Did I mention the mutating alien head snatcher? There’s that, too.
As if she doesn’t have enough shit to deal with, a bug-like alien murderer has been punished for his crimes by being “devolved” into a human being and banished to Earth. As he’s dumped off, he’s warned by the alien po-po that damage to his human body “may result in painful metamorphosis,” and as we soon find out, the fragile body morphs when coming into contact with things like alcohol, sunlight and bullets. The metamorphosis, though, seems to impact only his head, which literally explodes — thus the need to “borrow” other heads. And if you think he’s returning them, you don’t know murdering insectoid aliens very well.
The second head taken is that of local derelict Julius (Antonio “Huggy Bear” Fargas), and due to either logistic difficulty or continuity indifference, the alien’s human body — originally a white man — suddenly has black arms to match the new black head. Like, did he stop by Sunset Tan or something? Like, OMG. Like, anyway, the man-thing spends most of the movie stumbling around the city doing his Frankenstein impersonation in what’s basically an alien fish-out-of-water story much like The Hidden, although The Borrower just doesn’t have as much fun with the concept as that film — only hinting at its potential in the final 15 minutes when the alien co-opts a dog’s head. Lassie…must…kill.