El Monstro Del Mar!
REVIEWED BY: Kami Posted on 24/11/2011
Stuart Simpson, the man responsible for the twisted ode to hell, advertising and three day hangovers known as Demons Among Us, gives us a movie that can be summed up pretty quickly for those with short attention spans – A bunch of she devils on wheels (channeling the best of Tura Satana) find themselves pitted against an 80s sea dwelling monster with more than a touch of Deadly Spawn/Breeders in its genes while Norman Yemm hams it up on the side lines!
Now if the idea of Norman Yemm, a trio of hot rockabilly styled tough bitches and a many headed kraken doesn’t do anything for you, you are probably on the wrong site anyway because let me tell you this low budget, gore splattered ode to all that was good about the glory days of 80s VHS delivers every thing it promises in spades!(and shotguns, knives, chainsaws and sundry other weapons).
Starting with a black and white tribute to Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! the movie is soon drenched in red as our anti-heroines kill off a couple of locals, steal their car and head off to the coast to hide out. It’s here where we meet Norman Yemm as Joseph, a wheelchair bound old man and his grand daughter Hannah who finds herself drawn to the trio. Joseph tells the girls to get out of the water, to stay away from the ocean, the same warnings he has been giving Hannah since she lost her parents to the sea but they just laugh at him. As they party at their beach shack, drawing Hannah into a night of booze and drugs they don’t realise they’ve stirred something up in the water, something big, ugly, ravenous – yes, it’s b-grade monster time! And what a beast it is, a many headed Kraken/Hydra/Deadly Spawn thing that rips the shit out of the locals and even one of the girls. That’s its mistake because the surviving duo take this attack personally and in a bloody, fucked up, old school, hand puppet, green-screen, Harry Hausen would be proud finale, Hannah and the girls take on the Kraken and show it what a real bitch (or two) can do.
Fans of b-grade, rollicking, fucked up, gory, monster versus hot sheilas type movies will not be disappointed. Hell, horror fans full stop will not be disappointed. This is a film that doesn’t overstay its welcome, that delivers a story, delivers a monster, delivers the gore, makes you cheer on the anti-heroes, gives you the visceral thrills, makes you want to crack another beer, pour another bourbon, snort another line, smile to yourself at the tributes and the influences while enjoying every damn moment of it.
While Stuart is constantly compared to Peter Jackson simply because of geography and gore, there really aren’t that many comparisons. Jackson’s early work was inspired as much by Monty Python and The Goon Show as George Romero or Russ Meyer. Stuart’s work doesn’t have the same slapstick humour, he isn’t going for the laughs, though some are always there, what Simpson does so well is take the stereotypes of horror and turn them around – the girls are the predators in this small community, not the locals, true the innocent girl becomes the heroine (a standard horror cliché) but there is no male counterpart really, the men are all useless, there is no white knight, no romance. This isn’t brotherhood, the men are mysognistic, dumb-asses, can’t think beyond their dick idiots, the women are the powerful, the predators – from the three psycho girls, to the monster, to Hannah finally stepping up and out of Grandpa’s shadow.
Simpson once again has shown us a dark side of the country, the landscape and this time the ocean but without going into stereotypical redneck hillbilly country hick turf… well, not too much of it anyway. He recognises that to most city dwellers the country is an alien landscape anyway, you don’t have to make it any stranger, it’s strange enough. He’s taken a simple tribute to both the girl gangs and Tura Satana specifically, a tribute to the creature features of the 80s, those straight to video movies that we all devoured and loved and he’s welded together something much, much stronger, he’s made a movie that shows the love for the genres but a movie that still holds it own, that can stand on its own.
Forget the Peter Jackson comparisons, Stuart Simpson is his own man and you know what, I for one am glad of that.
DIRECTOR(S): Stuart Simpson | COUNTRY: Australia | YEAR 2010 | DISTRIBUTOR(S): Monster Pictures | RUNNING TIME: 76 minutes | ASPECT RATIO: 16:9 Widescreen | REGION: 4 | DISCS: 1
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