Each film in my latest triple creature feature has its own angle to deliver some good variety: a werewolf anthology, a Marvel Comics swamp thing, and a Halloween monster. I’ll begin with the one I feel most guilty about admitting I watched then work my way up to the best guilty pleasure in the bunch.
THE LUNAR PACK (2004)
A fun idea – an anthology film featuring only tales about werewolves – gets a no budget treatment that runs less than an hour long (that’s a good thing). The highlight is b-queen Debbie Rochon, who, as usual, totally shines when she gets to play a campy and comic role. She’s the hostess introducing each segment, and even pokes fun at the state of her career considering the movie she’s appearing in. Love her.
1st Story – Barely a story, this is a wickedly short clip of a woman werewolf and woman vampire having a martial arts fight. I got quite a giggle from constant faux fight sound effects like something you’d hear on the old Batman TV show. As for makeup, the vampire has fake fangs, and the she-wolf looks like a female version of Lon Chaney.
2nd Story – Shot in black and white with a 5-minute intro of a guy getting dressed. Now that the bar is set so low, we watch a guy narrate about another guy pondering his wife’s mysterious behavior. Eventually he discovers why she’s allowing other men to tie her up in a seedy hotel bed at night.
3rd Story – Finally, a man-wolf! Despite the budget, this feels like an actual anthology tale. After being attacked by a beast on a deserted road at night, a cute guy goes to convince the local sheriff that he is now a werewolf.
There’s something oddly erotic about their standoff. The guy lifts his shirt to show off the werewolf wound across his pec, and the bearish sheriff touches it.
Then they agree to a vigil to see if he changes, so he sits staring at the sheriff, his hand over his junk.
Later he pisses to mark his territory while the sheriff watches, which leads to the sheriff handcuffing him.
Then, just as I was getting all hot and bothered, the werewolf action kicks in with a twist! Pretty clever. I’d love to see this one done with a better budget, better werewolf makeup, and…more man-on-man action.
It’s not often that an actual horror movie is based on a Marvel comic book – and I think that hinders what is otherwise a good old swamp monster creature feature.
The basic premise has a sheriff investigating the disappearance of a teen in the swamps while also trying to keep peace between oil drillers and an ecological group. There are loads of tense and suspenseful excursions into the murky waters at night, some gory kills and gruesome body reveals, and a monster that remains mostly unseen until much later in the movie.
When it is revealed, it’s a cooler creature than most of the CGI crap in SyFy movies these days.
Man-Thing is fast-paced with a cast including scream queen Rachael Taylor (See No Evil, Shutter, 666 Park Avenue) and Hawaii Five-O hottie Alex O’Loughlin, but it also has way too many cartoonish characters (I blame the comic book), like some Yul Brynner looking dude who magically appears in the middle of the woods now and then, a couple of rednecks that look like they should be in jail for having a torture lair in their house even if they don’t, and a Native American man who knows all about the legend of the man-thing.
The good news about this overabundance of silly characters is…more victims.
Despite being set on Halloween, this SyFy original has no visual signs of the holiday – not even a pumpkin – because the town in which it is set locks up for the night and stays indoors on October 31st.
The locals are terrified of a legend about a creature that comes out only on Halloween to steal babies. Conveniently, Gii Bellows (aka: Billy of Ally McBeal fame), who plays a sexy mustached daddy, has rented a cabin in the town with his second wife and their baby!
Along with them is Gil’s daughter from his first marriage and her BFF. Almost immediately, a crazy old man warns them to flee with the baby. I was more weirded out by the fact that I was totally hot for the dirty old geezer’s body. Halfway through the movie I realized why; it’s Donnelly Rhodes, who played Dutch on 1970s sitcom Soap. I’ve wanted him to be my dirty old man since I was 8.
Goblin turns into a wickedly fun, cheesy creature feature that reminded me very much of Pumpkinhead in a way. The young girls hook up with local boys who want to hang out for Halloween even though the rest of the town literally just disappears.
Goblin – a nasty, teleporting critter in a robe – comes to make this one unforgettable Halloween as he shreds teenagers apart left and right. This is pure popcorn movie fun with loads of gory kills and suspenseful chase scenes. Goblin is the perfect frighteningly hard to get away from fiend, and the film gets major points for being creepy despite the fact that a majority of it takes place in broad daylight.
In fact, the less atmospheric portion of the film – the final cheesy battle – happens at night, and is the point when Goblin gets the most obvious CGI treatment.
But even that CGI monstrosity isn’t half as bad as SyFy monsters look these days. You’d think advancing technology would make them look better these days…