We don’t have enough monster movies these days. Oh, we have more than enough horror films. If you want a film about a serial killer, or zombies or especially some guy who kidnaps and tortures women, Bob’s your uncle. But as a fan of the genre, I must point out that we have far too many of those and not enough of the good old-fashioned monster movie.
We have zombies because the whole genre experienced a huge revival a few years back and because THE WALKING DEAD is keeping people glued to their sets. Also, some people believe that these films are plausible and we need to prepare for an actual zombie apocalypse that could occur at any time. These are the same people who should be placed on a barge and set adrift at sea. Trust me, it’s better for everyone that way.
Then, we have the killers and the torture because it’s more rooted in reality. After all, real killers walk our streets every day. This is true, and there are a great many classic films with very human terrors within them. But to say that this is superior because it’s steeped in realism? Who cares? When has film ever been about realism one hundred percent of the time? Have we lost our sense of adventure, our sense of humor? Why does everyone take themselves so damns seriously these days?
I looked at two monster movies today, one very recent and the other more than 35 years old. We’ll see how they compare.
DAY 11: JANUARY 12, 2013
STORAGE 24 (2013) – first viewing – Things start promising when the people inside the title warehouse are shaken by a loud kaboom. A plane has crashed into London and while the government is keeping details under wraps, it’s evident that the disaster has left a bunch of wreckage and likely quite a few casualties. The warehouse goes into an emergency lockdown as a safety precaution. The people inside have to deal with how to get things back online, but also find themselves being stalked by a creature connected with the crash.
Well, this was certainly a big disappointment. For months now, I’ve been hearing about this great British monster movie. Magnet picked up the U.S. Rights to it and I was all set to enjoy myself. Unfortunately, what you get is another film that keeps the monster out of sight for most of the film. Instead, we have the same standard dark corridors where you can hear something out there and like many films with only a quarter of this film’s budget, people spend a lot of time moping around a musty old warehouse.
The film is also far too grim. You get a lot of talk about relationships and personality clashes, good stuff if you can pull it off in a new way. Really tired if you just listen to people bitch and moan before getting eaten. Even a solid cast of familiar faces (including DOCTOR WHO’s Noel Clarke) can’t save this one.
STORAGE 24 is dull, grim and a real chore to sit through. But at least the film looks good. Still, the fact is that this film was just released to U.S. theatres. That means I really wanted to write a full-length review for the film. But honestly, I just couldn’t even be bothered enough to care about it to bother. ★ out of ★★★★
THE CRATER LAKE MONSTER (1977) – first viewing – Here we go! THE CRATER LAKE MONSTER will never be confused with a good movie. But it is incredibly enjoyable, sometimes for the right reasons and often for all the wrong ones.
The film opens up with some paleontologists discovering cave paintings in the back of a mine that they say prove irrefutably that some dinosaurs survived long after human civilization took shape. Of course, these drawings prove no such thing, but don’t tell that to these guys. They’re just so happy about it. Around the same time this happens, a meteor crashes into Crater Lake, unearthing lots of the stuff left dormant at the surface. This includes the egg of a dinosaur that is apparently now ready to hatch after countless millenia. Over the next few months, strange occurrences are reported throughout Crater Lake, everything pointing to the fact that there’s a dinosaur eating people.
There was a bunch of these films in the 1970s, films that relocated monster movie tropes to rural America. There were a lot of flick about Bigfoot and it didn’t take producers long to make other monsters stomp the back roads of our fine country. Here, it seems as if they tweaked the Loch Ness Monster legend and threw it in the Midwest.
The monster effects are done with some shoddy close-ups and quite a few surprisingly great stop-motion effects, courtesy of the late David Allen. The film is silly as all get out. There are giant gaps in logic. We’ll meet people, get introduced to their problems and never hear from them again. The whole thing is pretty darn enjoyable.
Unfortunately, it does focus on a lot of BS that only drags the film down. Worst of all is the film’s insistence on showcasing two dim-witted hillbillies that don’t generate one of the laughs they desperately try to force out of the audience. ★★½ out of ★★★★
Total films watched in 2013 so far: 28
My soundtrack for January 12, 2013: “If wine and pills were hundred dollar bills, I might keep you satisfied. If broken dreams were limousines, I might take you for a ride.”