[MONTH OF HORROR] They Crawl Beneath

Some Spoilers here. For the record.

They Crawl Beneath

So I saw a trailer for this flick and once I saw it, I knew I had to see it. This guy is repairing an old car with his uncle and an earthquake hits. Car goes on both of them, killing the uncle and trapping the guy not only under the car but in the garage itself. If this isn’t bad enough, there are these worm monsters that came out of the ground. Now the guy has to figure out how to free himself while avoiding the beasties.

It looked beautiful.

So when I saw it was over on Amazon, I knew I had to see it for the Month of Horror.

But it wasn’t free. I could by it outright for about $13 bucks, or I could rent it for about $5.

Now again, I was jazzed about the movie. Looked like it might be up there with Tremors. Monster fun. Something I might watch again and again. So $13 bucks wouldn’t be that big a deal.

But I blinked and decided to rent it instead.

This was the right choice.

The monster stuff was… okay. The acting was… fair. It could have been so much more.

But it got saddled with so much crap. So. Much.

We’re not going to talk about the pointless nightmare sequence at the start of the flick. We’re not going to talk about the plot contrivances, like when Our Hero is unconscious just long enough to miss getting early help. Or like how the monster’s venom is supposed to kill in two hours and it seems to take a lot longer than that for Our Hero. Or… We’re not talking about it. No.

What we are going to talk about is how this film is, at best, 45% monster movie. The rest of it is seemingly endless family drama. The love interest doesn’t want Our Hero to be a cop any more after he almost gets himself shot. The Uncle might be Our Hero’s dad. On and on and on.

Our Hero manages to connect with the outside world with his mom, of all people, and after telling her to hurry and call the Love Interest (never mind why) he confronts her with his discovery of her and the Uncle. That’s when I muted the movie until the monsters returned.

Later he gets in contact with the Love Interest, who passes on information he got earlier in the film. Then, right towards the end of the conversations she says “I’m pregnant.”

This is where I started screaming at the film.

It doesn’t even know when to quit. It just goes on and on and on.

Wow. Just wow.

So glad I didn’t pay full price. Too bad I didn’t wait till it got on Prime.

It’s a near meh level bad (.5) and I didn’t like it at all (.5).

It could have been so much better than this. What a disappointment.

1 out of 4

[Month of Horror] The Mummy (1932)/The Bride of Frankenstein

When I restarted this site, I said I wasn’t going to do movie reviews here, that I had another place to do that. Well, I changed my mind.

See, the past two years I’ve done A Month of Horror, a series of daily brief reviews covering Horror movies I watched that day. It’s happened almost long enough to be a fun little tradition, and as bad as this year’s been for me, I need a fun little tradition.

So all this month, little capsule reviews. Unlike the previous years, I’m given each a score based on the system I will go back to using on the Review Site when (when!) I start that back up again. Simply put, each film is judge on a two prong basis: Quality (Terrible, Bad, Meh, Good, Great) and Preference (Hate, Dislike, Meh, Like, Love). Each judgement is represented by a number (0.0 through 2.0) and the two numbers are added together for the final score.

Enough nattering. Here’s the reviews.

THE MUMMY (1932)

I went out to a theater to see this one. Not the most ideal viewing experience, as the sound was wonky. Background sounds and music were louder than the dialogue and sometimes things were hard to understand, especially in the beginning. That’ of course, isn’t the film’s fault, but it’s worth pointing out.

Anyways, this was personally viewed as one of the lesser Universal Monster movies before this rewatch. It’s the romance portion; the love-at-first-site trope is a terrible one. Lazy. Unnecessary, in this case.

This watch, though…

In a nutshell, an ancient mummy is revived after centuries and wants to be reunited with his dearly beloved. Unfortunately that dearly beloved happens to be reborn in the body of a pretty young lady who isn’t quite ready for what passes for marriage among the Undead.

All of this is told at a damn fine pace. There’s plot holes galore here and there, but the acting’s fine, the direction’s pretty great to my inexperienced eye, and really, this ain’t lesser anything.

As for the romance… well, let me summarize that in script form:

FRANK: Damn it, Helen, I’ve known you all of three seconds, but I love you! You remind me of a thousand year old corpse I dug up recently!

HELEN: Oh, Frank, you flatterer you! I think I maybe possibly could eventually–

IMHOTEP: [Enters room] I am Ardeth Bey.

HELEN: A MAH-YUN! [proceeds to stare misty eyes at the three century old corpse.]

Seriously, watch Frank fume at this was hilarious. I’d forgotten there was a quasi love triangle here. Plus, they hung a lampshade on how silly it was for Frank to do this. I gave it a pass.

All in all, it’s a good movie (1.5 points) that I liked (1.5 points).

3 out of 4

THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1932)

One of the trailers that played incessantly in front of these films was for Scream 2, of all things. In it, the characters get into a debate about sequels. One guy says that there where plenty of good sequels, and a girl character snottily asks him to name one.

This is the correct answer.

This is so much better than the original. And the original wasn’t a slouch.

Quick summary, the monster survives his near death experience from the previous film and now is on the look out for someone to be his friend. Meanwhile his creator is being hounded by a former teacher to make more monsters.

While this has it’s problems (an unnecessary prologue, like the first film, for starters) it runs at a nice pace. Most of the male character try their hand at eating the scenery (Ernset Thesiger beats Colin Clive here) and the female leads aren’t too shabby for what little they get. It really has a glorious ending, and does the fine job of making me regret put off a rewatch.

So to do the point thang again, it’s a great movie (2.0) that I loved (2.0)

4 out of 4

The Big Three (II): That Strangely Innocent and Tragic Monster

For me, Godzilla will always be a hero. The monster that stops the bad monsters from… well… being bad.

This, of course, plays hob with my watching some of his films. Especially the newer ones, which for some reason insist on making him the villain.

It’s not my fault. I grew up in the Seventies, during which time Godzilla really was a hero. When he appeared in his cartoon series everyone would cheer. Other heroes would fight him in the comics, but it was always a mistake to my mind. He didn’t mean to do bad things.

That was something a kid could understand. Other people made the rules, and they didn’t always tell you until after you broke them.

Now I understand and appreciate the movies where my big buddy is less than noble. I do. But I still root for him, deep down.

What’s the appeal? Outside of the face he’s a dinosaur that breathes fire?

Well for starters, he’s a very simple character. Very hard to get wrong, unlike, say, Spider-Man.

See, all Godzilla wants is to be. To do what he wants, when he want. If he wants to walk from Point A to Point B, that’s what he does.

Trouble is that he has a pesky habit of walking through cities. Literally.

That’s it. That’s really all there is to him. But with that you can have stories of him being a mindless beast, an antisocial creature, or a veritable demon, and they all work.

Some better than others, of course, but it’s not that hard to make a good Godzilla movie.

The other thing is that he’s unique in the fact that he has a cast. The opponents he faces are among the most memorable in film history. Dinosaurs galore. Flying three headed dragons. Bionic bounty hunters with blades in their belly. Giant insects. Even sentient sludge. Only his rival Gamera comes as close in terms of wildness (and technically has the King beat in pure weird monsters.)

Really, Godzilla’s the best.

Of the three, he’s the only one I’ve never fully parted with. There have been stories of his I won’t watch again willingly, but there was never a time I stopped watching the “modern” version of him.

Some of my favorite movies are Godzilla movies. I own entirely too many Godzilla action figures. Hats. Shirts. Tote bags.

Seriously, I might have a problem.

My hero, the King of the Monsters. Long may he reign.

Next, we travers time and space to talk about the final of my Big Three fictional heroes.