Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Monkey Fails: Shakma

Shock the monkey already!  Today's film is Shakma, a film that I almost reviewed well over a year ago.  It was only available (to my legal knowledge) on YouTube at the time.  I watched a little...and gave up.  Well, it's on Netflix, so I gave it a second try.  You know that expression about your first instinct always being right?  Still true, it seems.  This 1990 film is essentially a Remixed Version of Monkey Shines, a film that's just so strange and quirky that it works.  This film, however, is dark and serious.  It's like when a boy reaches that age where suddenly you don't know anything and he's all moody.  Shakma is also kind of a hybrid between Shines and Link, the movie with the painted Orangutan.  The monkey in that film was big enough to be imposing, while this one is just kind of like a feral cat.  I don't necessarily doubt that it could kill you- as monkeys/apes can be deceptively-strong-, but I just think that it looks less scary.  According to someone at IMDB, it isn't even the titular species that appears in the film.  That one is apparently bigger and doesn't have the mane.  Like many bad movies to come from this time period, Roddy McDowall is here, plus Christopher Atkins on a downward career trend.  To see how this poorly-paced mess turns out (other than as a poorly-paced mess), read on...
The film opens with a Doctor (McDowall) opening up Shakma's brain and injecting it with some fluid.  It's supposed to suppress aggression...but does the opposite.  Our hero, however, doesn't kill it, setting up the movie.

Later that day, he sets up a sort of Real Life D&D Game in the building.  It's early LARPing!
This is, of course, a pretense to have everyone split up and be wandering around to get killed.  This John Landis-looking guy gets it first, but others soon follow suit.
This is the face...er, ass of terror, folks.  If you like seeing this monkey banging on doors, you're in luck- that makes up a good third of the film!
Seriously, this guy takes out about six to eight people in this film.  Oh and the building has no Security Guards, so no Poor Bastards of Cinema here.  Well, unless I count 'The Princess.'
To be fair, they do make this thing look scary a lot of the time.  It's mostly when it just smashes the place up.

The problem: nearly all of the shots like this are followed by it just running around and banging on doors.
In lieu of wasting any more of your time- or giving many SPOILERS-, here's an alternate cover art that makes you think that this film is about a giant Ape.  The End.
Monkey see, monkey sigh.  There is some promise here, but little is actually made of it.  People trapped in a building- not really- with a killer animal on the loose is simple, yet effective.  The problem(s) is that it's just not well put together.  As weird as this sounds, it's alternately too slow, too fast and then too slow again.  I'll explain.  You see, the film is a bit slow in the opening 'Set everything up' portion.  After that, we get a few kills done pretty quickly.  When the cast is whittled down to a handful, it suddenly slows down again.  I accidentally paused the film while watching it- by hitting a controller- and was shocked to learn that there was nearly an hour left in the film.  There were like four people left- what the hell?!?  This leads to a long portion of 'There's the monkey- hide!' followed by 'No, run over here!' and then 'The monkey is banging on the door- again.'  I'm just kind of amazed that they did such a bad job of this, given that it came out in 1990. There had been, what, 2,478 Slasher films made by then.  It's a neat *idea* for a film, but it's not a good *actual* film.  This goofy Asian Cover Art is cool though...
Next up, a three-part look at some Full Moon films that I bought recently as part of a set.  When in doubt, send in the clown!  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. When I saw this pop up on Netflix, my Project Terrible-like curiosity made me add it to my queue. But I still weirdly want to watch it despite now seeing that it's probably not worth it. Look at what you've done to me, Alec!