Tuesday, October 25, 2011
...and not scary as intended.
Last year around this time I recommended a variety of films to check out for Halloween. It’s a new year, but those films are still fine, so feel free to click here and here to read all about them.
This year, I’m recommending two films that were allegedly horror movies, and may have even contained some intentional humor, but mostly just come off as unintentionally hysterical… for all the wrong reasons!
I’m speaking of the one-two socko punch that is “The Killer Shrews” and “The Giant Gila Monster.”
Sharing production crews and some cast members, the films are rife with absurd situations, broad/clichéd characters, cumbersome dialogue, schizophrenic performances and most of all, laughable special effects.
Specific highlights from “Shrews”: oddball scientist, strapping hero, beautiful heroine, jealous ex-boyfriends, at least one weasly guy, alcohol, livestock in danger, a close-quarters compound, mask-and-costume-wearing dogs and truly hilarious puppets.
Specific highlights from “Gila Monster”: small town sheriff, hormone-filled teens, hot rod driver/mechanic, a terrorized train, livestock in danger, rock ‘n roll sock hop, a real Mexican beaded lizard filmed in close-up against miniature models and a self-sacrificing hero with a facility for nitroglycerin.
These are in no way what one would call “good” films but to me they are better than their reputations and more importantly highly entertaining, especially if you’re in the right frame of mind. Even more especially if you have a group of friends with whom to share the viewing experience!
Here are some good links that do a good job covering these zero-budget favorites:
Radiation Cinema (Shrews)
Radiation Cinema (Gila)
1,000 Misspent Hours (Shrews)
1,000 Misspent Hours (Gila)
Most fascinating of all perhaps is a fellow named Moore from “Radioactive Reviews” who actually set out to locate the original filming locations. Watch the results of his search when you click here.
James Best from “Killer Shrews” went on to television immorltality as Sherriff Roscoe B. Coltrane in “The Dukes of Hazzard.” He’s also appearing in a modern day sequel/reboot called “Return of the Killer Shrews,” co-starring his “Dukes” co-star John Schneider. Click here to read all about it courtesy of the Undead Backbrain website.
An additional recommendation if you want to make a whole four or five hour party out of it – pair “Shrews” and “Gila” with Larry Blamire’s retro spoofs, “The Lost Skeleton of Cadavera” and “The Lost Skeleton Returns.”
So how to watch these crazy flicks? Well lucky for you they’re both in the public domain. That means you can find them on DVD from anywhere between fifty cents and six bucks. Better still, you can find it all over the internet – from Public Domain Hub to The Internet Archive to YouTube… trust me, just go to your favorite search engine and do a video search and you’re bound to find these.
Now here’s a two-for-one special: first, the legendary Joe Dante with his own views on “The Giant Gila Monster” film and its trailer, courtesy of Trailers From Hell, followed by the trailer from “The Killer Shrews” – enjoy!