Creature Features are good for the soul.

25 Feb

Throughout my recent bout of the plague, and to be honest whenever I feel the need for a pick me up, I tend to reach for some of the greatest achievements of film ever- the Creature Feature. I know, you’re shaking your head at my antics and wondering how I could think these are quality films but listen up- there is nothing better on a grey day then curling up under a blankie with a bowl of popcorn, friends, and a ridiculous creature causing havoc. 

When I was kid, I could count on Saturday afternoon movies on FOX for my fix- Night of the Lepus being a hilarious flick that stayed with me. (Oh and don’t forget the classic Attack of the Killer Tomato series or Killer Klowns from Outer Space!) But somewhere in my teens, the station switched to sports and commercial programs for the afternoon. Well, cable stepped up to fill the void with TBS and TNT occasionally playing some of the classics. But the greatest contribution to my love of the Creature Feature (and also the Unnatural Disaster Films) has been Syfy stepping in to create them. There is nothing better- seriously- then wasting a day marathoning ridiculous Syfy channel movies. LOVE THEM.

I mean, they aren’t Oscar caliber or anything… but I’ve already explained that I want movies to be fun, so I’m OK with that. And we also know that I have a love for the bad movies based on my DVD collection (which is influenced heavily by actors I enjoy). So let’s discuss some of my recent,  and some of my long time, favorites of this genre. I’m even going to throw a major studio film- that I adore!- into my list because of how wonderful it is. Fair to say that there may be spoilers here- none of these are new, so read on at your own spoilery risk.

190px-SHARKTOPUS_DVDI had to buy the DVD for this one when it first came out. I’d seen it on Syfy and it was too awesomely ridiculous not to own. I do so love my bad movies! The premise is pretty simple to figure out- someone has created a shark/octopus hybrid. They did it for the navy if i recall correctly but, as happens in these films, the device used to control the creature gets damaged and suddenly there’s this insane beast roaming the seas! There are some awesomely hilarious death scenes. sharktopusAnd the whole end battle at the resort hotel- which, by the way, is inland- is so crazy… it has to be seen to be believed. But it’s the kind of bad that makes you want more. I have to say that I love Eric Roberts in this film- he’s the creator of the beast. And it’s one I pull out all the time. The perfect film for a chilly Saturday afternoon watching movies at home.

Beyond Loch Ness.
LochNessTerror1I only recently watched this one- and to be honest the only reason I did was because I was catching up on Niall Matter‘s works. And this is one of those films that had potential to be decent, but then somebody either started or stopped smoking crack while writing/filming/or editing and bam! hilariously bad film. The premise, obviously, has to do with the Loch Ness monster. Of course, being that the title is Beyond Loch Ness you can guess that the film takes place elsewhere. Basically there are looooooong underground tunnels in the earth and Nessy and her family can use them to get to different bodies of water. She shows up in the lake near a small town just as the tourist season is either getting ready to start or end and a few incidents lead the sheriff to trust a visiting hunter/expert (Charmed‘s Brian Krause) and go after the beast. Our hero is Josh (Matter), the sheriff’s teenage son and the resident tour guide/bait store manager. Josh works with the expert and the sheriff to eventually defeat the evil creature. Woohoo! The major issues that I have with this film- hey, I’ve no problem with Nessy or the tunnels through earth blah blah- is that according to the creature creators, Nessy and her kin have feet and claws. However, plesiosaur’s had flippers. I know, this is the most ridiculous thing to have an issue with- but again,I don’t watch these films because they are Oscar caliber, I watch them because they are fun. BLN2And it’s just a tiny little piece that pisses me off. Another piece of fun is that when I saw the film it was after watching Eureka and most of s1 of Primeval: New World, both of which star Niall. In both, Niall strikes the audience as an adult- he’s built. And by that I mean- dayum *swoon*. However, in this film he has such a baby face! I was dying from the cute adorableness. And then annoyed because he’s just barely younger than I and I’m pretty sure I lost my babyface before high school. Sigh. Anyways, unimportant, but I felt compelled to whine about it.

Lake Placid (1-3).
lake placid 3OK… I LOVE Lake Placid #1, with Bill Pullman. It’s quality silly fun. Lake Placid #2 didn’t do anything for me- I can’t even recall it! Lake Placid #3 was entertaining- bonus points for having Colin Ferguson and Michael Ironside as leads. And I know there’s a #4 but I haven’t seen it yet. In simple terms, there are crocodiles in the lake in a small northeast community. Of course, they aren’t just crocodiles… they are huge and monsterous and hungry! It’s Betty White’s fault in the first film. Possibly in the second too (don’t remember, sorry). In the third, it’s the son of the local game warden’s (Ferguson)(our hero) fault. Kid wanted a pet. Kid wanted someone to pay attention to him. So he finds these adorable baby crocs hanging out near his deceased great aunt’s cabin (Betty White’s character) and spends a year or so feeding them. They’re basically well behaved until he can’t feed them enough. Then they start eating the visiting college kids. Of course. It takes our hero and the local sheriff (Ironside) and a local poacher (Yancy Butler) to handle the problem. LP3There’s lots of deliciously fun attacks- chomp chomp! And it’s amusing to see the giant crocs try and fit through a door. The Lake Placid films are fun and ridiculous. Again, great for a marathon of silliness. And even though the budgets went down with the later films, the quality didn’t drop too much- which is nice. Ironside and Ferguson have some great moments- I would love to see them team up in another flick! And the scene in the grocery store is quite amusing.

MegaShark v Crocosaurus.
MegasharkvscrocosaurusI can’t really explain this one. I mean, you really don’t need to know more than there’s a giant shark versus a prehistoric (giant) croc. It’s as ridiculously awesome as you think. However… there’s one moment early in the movie that has stuck with me since the first viewing and it makes you laugh and cheer- shark leaps out of the sea and grabs a plane flying over head. Not a little plane. A big plane. Just picture it. It’s awesome.

Shark Attack 3: Megalodon.
sharkattackposterYeah, I own this one too. I saw it one day a million years ago and it amused me. Then I watched the new Doctor Who and Torchwood and fell in lust with John Barrowman and watched it again. With new eyes. Then I heard about the scene… you know the one. And I bought the DVD. And I watch it a lot. An amusing piece to me is that the close ups of the shark are essentially Discovery Channel Shark Week shots. But then they show the giant shark eating a boat and it’s just too ridiculous for words. I think the last time I watched this one was during a bad movie night with my friends. Two of the guys were in the back of the room MST3King the whole thing. Brilliant. This film is horrendously cheezy and outdated but I still adore it. I mean… the shark eats a boat. That alone makes it AWESOME.

Slither_2006_Widescreen_Edition-froThis is one of my favorite films. Ever. It is also the palette cleanser for bad movie marathons because it fits in but is anything but a bad movie. It is fantastic. I ditched work on opening day to go see it. Loved it from the opening scene. I watch it regularly and everytime, I find something new. If you’ve ever wondered why I am such a fan of James Gunn‘s it’s this film. Afterwards, I got into the rest of his work, but it was Slither that started it. Also, Nathan Fillion is pretty damn awesome. The premise is simple- alien creature comes to Earth looking to conquer. Lands in a small town and after creating zombies of most of the townspeople, is foiled by the semi-bumbling sheriff (Fillion) and his ragtag group of survivors.slither-0 This isn’t a spoiler… the movies been out for most of a decade now. If you haven’t seen it yet, you deserve to know. I highly recommend the DVD because the special features are AWESOME. I will say this… I originally saw the movie with my mom (we both ditched work that day) and when she first saw the worm version of the aliens she commented that they were little red sperms… and I’ve never been able to not see that when they are on screen. Makes me laugh. Every time.

behemothThis film fits the creature feature and the unnatural disaster film mold, so it’s double the fun. Here we have a long dead volcano in the pacific northwest that may or may not be waking up. There are pockets of gas being released, there are tremors, they are tons of clues saying that living in the town at the base of the mountain may not be the safest place. Enter our hero, Thomas (Ed Quinn)- the boss for a logging company, but you know that he jumps in when the crew is a man down- he’s just that kind of manly awesome boss guy. Enter his ex-girlfriend, Emily (or maybe that’s just my opinion… they could’ve just been friends), a geologist who is tracking issues on the mountain. Then throw in government agent, Jack, who knows a secret about what’s happening. Add in Thomas’ crackpot dad and his theories- which, since this is a Syfy channel film, are probably more right than wrong- and you have the perfect recipe for fun.behemoth EQ My only problem with this film was that like most Syfy channel or made for tv sci-fi/fantasy films, the UST runs high for the entire thing and then you get one piddly little kiss at the end. Come on! You’ve got these two stuck on mountain, in the cold, overnight, you know they had to snuggle tight together in order to stay warm… there had to be some smoochies! Otherwise, this film was fun with lots of action and not 100% impossible science- hey, you never know.

This is of course not a complete list- mostly just the recent flicks I’ve seen or the ones that stick with me and I watch over and over. For the fun. I’ll have to touch on this topic again. Soon.

And yes, I’m aware there’s a large percentage of shark movies. I can’t help it that the filmmakers keep using them as their go-to creatures. I think they are amazing animals… but they are also fabulous in their roles in these films. And the ways they are portrayed is awesome in it’s complete ridiculousness.

What’s your favorite Creature Feature?

2 Responses to “Creature Features are good for the soul.”

  1. Barbara Kus February 25, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    You need to come clean with your audience and confess that you’ve watched shark week religiously for years.

    • elizabeth ann February 25, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

      You say that like it isn’t a very awesome thing to watch Shark Week. ❤

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