Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Big Lizzy : The Crater Lake Monster

Oh Nessie, where are you?  The world's most famous lake monster doesn't star in a lot of movies and most of them are pretty terrible.  This puts the burden on the U.S. lake monsters.  Do they pick up the slack?  Well, we've got a movie here to review, so I'd say 'yes.'  Is this movie good though?  This mid-'70s monster flick is about as redneck as Hee-Haw and as gory as a kid's film.  In spite of this, the movie is a minor, cult classic.  Does it deserve this reputation?  Let's find out, folks!  Get out your forklifts for my review of...
The film begins with a shot of the titular lake.  We get to see a digitally-inserted shot of a silhouette in the water.  After that, we must endure the plot.  It's all about a small, country town which is full of cliches.  We've got the friendly General Store workers, a feisty waitress and a lazy doctor.  The honest Sheriff is a nice surprise though.  Some people have gone missing in town, which raises his concern.  Oh yeah, there's also a random plot thread involving people looking in a cave to investigate.  Don't make me think about Scalps, please.  He goes out on a boat with some people and the doctor, since the latter had nothing else to do.  In another sub-plot, two hicks rent out a boat to a city guy.  They speak in exposition about how nobody goes out on the lake any more.  They're the only ones who seem to be aware of this and/or care.  While trying to go fishing, the monster finally shows himself.  Basically, he's a giant, claymation turd with a mouth.  He kills the guy in a surprisingly-bloody scene.  Of course, none of the blood is shown at the same time as the guy.  Quick note: your claymation work is less effective when I can practically see the thumb prints in it!
The Sheriff and other authority figures question the guys who rent the boats out.  They promise not to rent any more, just to be safe.  Of course, a couple from the city shows up and rents a power boat from them.  You guys are really not endearing, you know.  The couple goes to a tiny island to have a picnic.  Guess who has come out to play though?  The turd monster confronts them via his rear-projection effect powers.  They scare him away by setting the boat on fire and it just kind of leaves.  Back on land, the Sheriff discovers the head of the guy killed on the boat.  It just kind of floated over, I guess.  Back on the island, the pair are left alone.  They are found by our heroes and talk about the monster.  In other news, a random guy shows up in a liquor store and kills some people.  Why are you showing me this, movie?  As it turns out, this will matter...a little bit...eventually.  Okay then.
Now that our heroes are aware of the monster, they make plans to stop it.  This involves the town working together, arming themselves and grabbing some construction equipment.  I was with you, but then you lost me.  Remember that plot thread with the robber?  Well, it matters now.  He shows up in town, while running from the cops, and wreaks a bit of havoc.  By the lake, the Sheriff is attacked by the monster, but escapes.  Thank God it was only on the screen placed in front you, huh?  He runs into the robber, the latter engaging the former in a shoot-out.  The robber runs for his life...towards the monster and dies.  Wow!  That was totally worth it!  Our heroes lure the creature out into the open the next day and start shooting.  This thing is fairly-bulletproof, however, so killing it proves difficult.  One of the men sacrifices his life to help stop it.  The finale involves our hero stabbing the monster with some construction equipment and killing it.  With a bit of dialog, the film just closes.  The End.
This movie is not good.  The plot is pretty lazy, basically stringing together characters who exist as monster fodder.  The creature itself is a decent effect at times, but mostly looks pretty cheap.  I can applaud them for committing to it, in contrast to movies like Snowbeast.  Of course, I hate that Bo Svenson film, so bear that in mind.  This movie is not that good, nor is it really terrible.  As a cult classic, it's pretty cheesy, but not that interesting.  With so many monster movies, this one is not that interesting.  You can get a good laugh at the cheap effects.  Of course, you can get that within 20 minutes or so.  Is seeing the story play out worth the rest of the runtime?  Not so much.  Whose idea was it to set up the 'liquor store robber' sub-plot again?  It feels like they just took footage from a random cop show and put it in.  I eagerly await people telling me that they actually did just that.  As for me, I don't care enough to look it up.  This film is okay, but nothing more.
Next up, we begin December with a batch of foreign randomness.  First, we get a Bollywood horror film that has a penchant for the woods, but not dancing.  Stay tuned...

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