A doctor (Rock Hudson) bypasses nature with growth hormones, producing a 22-year-old (Barbara Carrera) who becomes his lover.
Embryo is a 1976 science fiction horror film directed by Ralph Nelson and starring Rock Hudson alongside Barbara Carrera, with a cameo appearance by Roddy McDowall. It deals with the mental and physical consequences of growing a human embryo in an artificial uterus.
A scientist doing experiments on a human fetus discovers a method to accelerate the fetus into a mature adult in just a few days. However, the "adult" fetus turns into a homicidal psycho and looks for a new formula to prevent her from aging further.
Dr. Paul Holliston (Hudson) is a geneticist who has been living alone in his rambling clinic, which he operates out of his home, after losing his wife in a car crash. This leads to his feeling constant pangs of guilt from his sister-in-law Martha Douglas (Diane Ladd), who has become his assistant.
One night, Holliston runs over a pregnant doberman dog. The dog is fatally injured, but Holliston manages to save one of her unborn puppies by gestating it in an artificial uterus. Because the device still requires nutrients to be supplied by the mother, he must drastically shorten the gestation period: to this end, he uses an experimental growth hormone made from human placental lactogen, which speeds up the embryos growth.
The doberman grows to adult size in a few days, and Holliston passes it off as the mother to disguise his secret experiments. Thanks to the serum, it learns incredibly fast and soon becomes as good as a well-trained dog. However, Holliston fails to notice that the animals aggression is increasing commensurately: while he is out on an errand, it kills an annoying small dog and conceals the carcass.
Eager to use his discovery for the good of mankind, Holliston applies the same technique to an unborn human extracted from a suicide victim. However, the subjects cells age uncontrollably, so Holliston uses the highly addictive drug methotrexate to counter the effect. It works, and the embryo grows into a 24-year-old woman he names Victoria (Carrera).
Holliston educates Victoria, and she soon gathers encyclopedic knowledge of science and culture. He begins introducing her to his friends and coworkers as a Princeton graduate, and she wows them by beating chess champion Riley (McDowall). Holliston completes Victorias education by having sex with her.
Soon afterwards, Victoria discovers that she has become addicted to methotrexate and the rapid aging of her cells has resumed. Thanks to her connection with Holliston, she gets some time on a university computer, which informs her that she can counter the aging with pituitary gland extract from human fetuses. In addition, Martha has grown jealous of Victorias success, and finds out that Princeton has never heard of her. Before she leaves for Los Angeles, Victoria poisons her in order to keep her origin secret.
Holliston leaves to meet with Marthas coroner. Meanwhile, Victoria murders a prostitute to get her unborn child. When the autopsy reveals that Marthas death may have been a homicide, Holliston hurries home with his son Gordon to go after Victoria. He finds her, now middle-aged, gestating his daughter Helens baby, and when he attempts to capture her she stabs Gordon.
Now determined to kill Victoria, Holliston gets in a car chase after her. When a now-elderly Victoria crashes her car, Holliston pulls her out to finish her off, but paramedics intervene. As she is being carried away, she reveals that she is pregnant with his baby, causing Holliston to cry out in despair.Rock Hudson as Dr. Paul Holliston
Barbara Carrera as Victoria Spencer
Diane Ladd as Martha Douglas
Roddy McDowall as Frank Riley
Anne Schedeen as Helen Holliston
John Elerick as Gordon Holliston
Vincent Baggetta as Collier
Jack Colvin as Dr. Jim Winston
Dick Winslow as John Forbes
Ken Washington as Dr. Brink
Lina Raymond as Janet Novak
Sherri Zak as a nurse
Roddy McDowall appears in Embryo and The Alien Within. Last Woman on Earth (1960). Syngenor (1990). Scared to Death (1981). Night of the Blood Beast (1958).
As of May of 2014, Embryo is presumed to be in the public domain, since distributor Cine Artists Pictures had gone out of business before being able to renew its copyright on it.