Tuesday, February 2, 2016


Unnatural (2015): So, how to prepare our dear animals for the horrors of climate change? One fine corporation says: genetic chimeras are the way to go, so let’s say hello to a polar bear with some wolf genes. Whoops, turns out you only get an animal attack horror movie out of that (they might perhaps have experimented on tiny little rabbits?). Consequently, a handful of people in a resort hut in the wintery wilderness of Alaska get eaten.

The resulting film is an okay, but most definitely not spectacular entry in its genre, with James Remar being quite overqualified for what he’s asked to do in the lead, an adorable bear thing, a bunch of decent actors having little to do, and few news for anyone who has seen this sort of film before. There are some laudable attempts at emphasising the mental strain on the characters, but the writing’s not really sharp or deep enough for that to lead anywhere interesting, and Hank Braxtan’s direction is too bland to at least milk the stuff for melodrama.

Demon Keeper (1994): How can you go wrong with the good old “demon drives boring rich people trapped in a house to deeds of sex and violence” set-up? Well, for starters, keeps the demon’s shenanigans as boring as possible, do not dare to make any scene of the demon tempting someone even mildly interesting, or tempting, or kinky, or anything else that might keep an audience awake. Then, never actually make anything of the opportunities your character set-up provides for giallo-esque wallowing in decadence or pseudo-decadence. Finish it off with some of the least interesting bits of “eroticism” you can imagine, and not even Dirk Benedict hamming it up as a medium and secret horror star Edward Albert can save your movie.

Monster in the Closet (1986): I’ve repeatedly gone on record with not being too fond of Troma’s particular brand of cheese. An overdeveloped self-consciousness with an underdeveloped sense of trying to make a film that isn’t actually crap will do that to me.

However, Bob Dahlin’s closet-based monster movie is one of the great exceptions to the rule for me, mostly because its self-consciousness doesn’t result in self-sabotage, and because it feels like it tries to be a parody of classic monster movies first and a Troma brand film second, so it comes by its weirdness the honest way.
And what a charming monster movie parody it is, often very cleverly playing with the tone of the original films, sometimes drifting off in pretty goofy and peculiar directions, sometimes subverting pretty annoying classic tropes, and sometimes just farting around rather adorably.


Pauline said...

Boy, some winners this time around. I've seen "Unnatural" and I can assure you it was not filmed here in Alaska. More like just outside Vancouver. Ugh. Terrible.

And you've certainly warned me off the other two - thank you.

I hope you have kids because you have to be one of the most patient people in the Universe!

houseinrlyeh aka Denis said...

Isn't it always Vancouver? ;)

It's more the Imp of the Perverse than patience, I suspect. Or the good old question of "well, how bad can it be?".

No children to test out on if it's patience or just horrible taste.