Friday, September 09, 2011

CREATURE: The Film Babble Blog Review


(Dir. Fred M. Andrews, 2011)

With its skinny dip in the swamp beginning featuring the full frontal nudity of Jennifer Lynn Warren, we get a good sense of what’s in store in the low budget directorial debut of Fred M. Andrews. Warren is attacked from underwater by an unseen entity, and she frantically tries to swim back ashore. She loses her legs then her life, so there we have it - the first casualty of CREATURE.

The film has the familiar set-up of a group of young couples on a road trip camping out in dangerous territory. The guys (Mahcad Brooks, Dillon Casey, and Aaron Hill) are Marines, and Serinda Swan, Lauren Schneider, and Amanda Fuller play their girlfriends. They stop at a old country store run by Sid Haig, where they learn about the local legend of Lockjaw, a half-man, half alligator that they first dismiss as a “Southern fried version of Bigfoot.”

They soon find out otherwise when they make the mistake of setting up tents in the backwoods of the Louisiana Bayou.

On the way to that destination we get the intense back story that the creature began life as an inbred man named Grimley, portrayed by Daniel Bernhardt. It’s cool that the monster is not a CGI creation, but Bernhardt in a full body costume – a scary sight that was effective enough to make the cover of Fangoria magazine.

There’s lots of blood and gore plus plenty of violence, and the before mentioned nudity so brace yourself for a gripping, if at times grueling, good time.

In an ensemble cast of unknowns, Haig stands out. Film fans should recognize him from movies such as HALLOWEEN (the Rob Zombie remake), KILL BILL 2, HOUSE OF A 1000 CORPSES, and many more.

It obviously recalls SWAMP THING, and, of course, CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, but director Andrews, who co-wrote the screenplay with David Morse, pays homage to those movies by playing it straight.

In a phone conversation with Andrews, he told me that he thinks of the film as an “anti-horror horror movie.” I think that’s a good way of putting it.

Although it's a bit disjointed and definitely not for the squeamish, CREATURE is a creepy cheapie that should delight old school horror fans and lovers of monster movies. Exploitation die-hards will likely embrace it too.

More later...

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