Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mechanical Terror Week: Monster Man

Sometimes, you have to make a lot of shit to get to make what you want.  Such is the case with Michael Davis, a Director and Writer who did a lot of studio work before they let him live out his dream.  His dream- Shoot 'Em Up.  For the record, Shoot 'Em Up is awesome and deserves to be seen by all.  Unfortunately, it wasn't.  Before we got to that 2007 film, however, we have to look at one of the things that Davis did to make the studios happy: Monster Man.  Like Cloverfield, the movie was sold without much actually being written or conceived.  The film was literally conceived on the title and then a film was made to match it.  I think that's the case with Gone with the Wind too.  What is the plot?  A pair of idiots are chased by a serial killer in a monster truck.  I would not have called that one.  Get ready to do the 'Monster Mash' as we meet the...
In a pre-Credits scene, a man is crushed head-first in a vice.  Context?  The film truly begins with a nerdy guy driving a car.  All of a sudden, a masked killer pops up in his backseat.  This, it turns out, is his former buddy who stashed himself in there.  There about ten questions raised by this, but this stupid set-up is not worthy of the time.  The pair have been estranged due to the nerdy guy's long-standing crush on a girl from their past & the latter's insulting of her.  The lady is getting married, so the nerdy guy is driving there to see her.  By the way, the nerdy guy is played by Eric Jungmann, who played the 'Ducky' character in Not Another Teen Movie.  He's literally the same character here, which just raises more questions!  He's a copy of a character that he played in a parody film and was based on a real character- argh!  The pair run across a hearse driving down the road, which does not lead to a cameo by Angus Scrimm.  I'm sure that a lot of you are mixed about that news- me too.  The pair stop in a bar and the friend bad-mouths the rednecks there.  Stop giving me Joy Ride 2 flashbacks!  Later, they are chased by a monster truck.  The scene would be more intimidating if not for the fact that I know that those things could not go the speeds implied here or have the turning capacity of a normal car.  Duel is still better.
Our heroes stumble across an RV in the middle of nowhere- see above- and discover a human sacrifice.  They get over this and keep driving down the road, making sure to oggle a woman who is hitch-hiking.  That night, the pair wake up in their hotel to find some roadkill.  They freak out and drive away, only to discover the young lady in their car.  This sets up a whole sub-plot of the two arguing about who she likes more.  By the way, there sure is a lot of horror in this horror film, huh?  The pair drive into another town and we learn that the woman can stand up for herself in a bar.  This leads to a scene of her and the nerdy guy in bed.  Again- the horror is where exactly?  They end up in a town full of maimed people and discover human remains in the Chili.  Damn you, Wendy's on the bad sign of town!  The monster truck shows up again to remind us that we're watching a film about death and terror.  Chase time...again.
The killer gets out of the car after a bit, choosing to chase the group on foot.  The friend is captured and the killer pursues the other two.  Using the magical 'Jason teleport,' he gets ahead of them and catches them.  Here's the scene over an hour in where the film is explained to us.  I hate it when plots can be deciphered on their own!  Basically, the killer ran over his brother many years back and died in the subsequent crash.  Fortunately, their sister- the hitchhiker- practices voodoo and brought them back.  The guy was attacking the locals and stealing parts in order to restore the impacted brother, which is why our hero is here.  That's a lot of explanation for a movie about a maimed killer driving a giant truck, huh?  Our hero fights back, however, and takes out the family.  The main killer proves harder, but fortunately he was blinded and can just run into a spike for you.  Outside, the guy shows up for one last hurrah.  Thankfully, his friend is not dead and the duo crush the killer into paste.  They drive off happily, forgetting all about the whole wedding sub-plot.  The End.
Run me over or get to the point!  The plot of this movie is so scattershot that it feels a bit like Mad Libs.  Two guys go on a _____, but get chased by a ______ who wants to ________ them and ______ them.  I love Shoot 'Em Up, but you can tell that Davis' heart was not in this one.  He was required to make another generic film for a studio and he did it.  On the plus side, it isn't the same exact film done three times like 8 Days A Week, 100 Girls and 100 Women.  The real problem here is the execution.  Mind you, Davis had only made comedies at this point and he was signed to do a horror film.  I guess I'm saying that everyone should have expected this, basically.  Unfortunately, the film is not funny and it's not really scary either.  This is what you get when people do work for you under duress.  Take a hint, studios.
Next up, we take a break from killer machines to celebrate a holiday for the Irish.  That means another Leprechaun film...which is more reason to drink.  Stay tuned...

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