From the Inside – Bad Movie Night

It’s hard to commit to writing a regular column for many writers who love (and write about) cinema. But occasionally members of the Inside Pulse Movies Staff have long form thoughts on film they want to share with you, our valued readers. Thus comes a new project from Inside Pulse Movies, “From the Inside,” where members of the movies staff sporadically share their thoughts on anything and everything related to film.

This week Pulse Wrestling Writer Steven Grepp contributes some Bad Film goodness straight from the heart of Australia.

I was given a bunch of new release direct-to-DVD movies the other week.  All five were bare bones collections, with no extras to speak of: just the movies. Made for the SyFy channel in the United States, here in Australia they went straight to DVD and that is about all they deserve.

Mega Python Vs Gatoroid (2011).

Director: Mary Lambert
Writer: Naomi L. Selfman
Stars: Deborah (Debbie) Gibson, Tiffany and A. Martinez

Now, to start, strange confession – I quite liked Tiffany back in the 1980s when I was a teenager, and Debbie Gibson was okay to look at despite her music leaving me cold.  Now I have a film with both of them in it! Twenty years later, though.  And that leads to my favourite lines of the film for those who remember Tiffany’s biggest hit:

Tiffany: “I think we’re alone now.” Debbie Gibson: “There doesn’t seem to be anyone around.”

Yeah, it doesn’t take much to impress me and that was the best bit of the whole film. Tiffany plays a Florida ranger who allows hunting while Gibson is an eco-terrorist who releases contaminated snakes into the everglades. The snakes grow impossibly large, the alligators follow suit, and the animals battle it out while killing anything in its path a shower of gore of a finale.

That’s it. Add to that acting so wooden trees were laughing at them, special effects that looked like they were plastered on in a an hour of post-production, and scenery that makes it look like the whole thing was filmed on a Florida gold course, and you have a truly notable film. I actually think this was not meant to be taken seriously, by the way. Maybe it’s a bad comedy as well.  This is a bad film, make no mistakes about it, but it is actually a harmless way to spend an hour and a half of your time.

Dinoshark (2010)

Director: Kevin O’Neill
Writers: Frances Doel, Guy Prevost
Stars: Eric Balfour, Iva Hasperger and Aarón Díaz

This one has the added bonus of being a Roger Corman film! It was a struggle to sit through. Not only did we have non-acting, poor dialogue, and nonsensical situations, but a bizarre subplot involving a women’s water polo team. The shark itself looked suitably impressive, but kept on changing size and there were many times when it looked, again, like it had just been plonked on top of the action by a bored high school student in his parents’ basement.

Eric Balfour sees a shark kill someone and looks it up on the internet.  Finding a picture that actually doesn’t look a lot like the one he saw, but deciding that’s good enough, he goes after it. There’s another subplot involving an old childhood friend who’s now a cop, and there’s plenty of blood and poor explosions.  In the end our hero’s erstwhile female gets an epic line out of it:   “Welcome to the endangered species list, you bastard.”

This was a bad film but it was also boring bad, and the worst of the five by a lot.

Mega Shark Vs Crocosaurus (2010)

Director: Christopher Ray
Writers: Naomi L. Selfman
Stars: Gary Stretch, Jaleel White and Sarah Lieving

Yes, that is correct – Steve Urkel of Family Matters “fame” is in this movie. First, I have yet to see Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus, of which this is the sequel. So, Mega Shark has already been established as existing, and time it’s facing a huge crocodile from the Congo. Urkel is a Sonics expert and there’s a drunken hunter and a woman who is more masculine than the two men. Special effects were marginally better than the last film, the dialogue also, but the acting is about on par with most grade school productions.

There is a sort of story in all of this.  Everyone’s trying to stop the large creatures but the shark likes eating croc eggs.  The croc isn’t happy with it so they fight, Urkel uses his Sonics to lure them to their death and they sink to the bottom biting each other by the tail. The special effects aren’t all that special, to be perfectly honest.  Stay tuned for the post-credit tease, as the two male heroes decide to go to Japan where there are reports of a giant lizard… Mega Shark vs Godzilla!

Very mindless and a little dull, perhaps, but still mostly harmless and undoubtedly bad.

Mega Piranha (2010)

Director: Eric Forsberg
Writer: Eric Forsberg
Stars: Paul Logan, Tiffany and Barry Williams

Yes, my second Tiffany film… and she’s with Greg Brady this time! To make it even more strange, this one is done in a sort of mockumentary style, but only part of the time. Bizarre. Okay, let me say from the outset that I enjoyed this more than Piranha 3-D, which I am guessing this was designed to capitalise on. And also let me say that this is the second Paul Logan film I’ve seen recently (the other being 2006’s Komodo vs Cobra), and his acting is clearly from the Steve Reeves school. Rocks tell this guy to show some emotion.

So what happens? Tiffany releases some genetically modified piranha into the Orinoco and then they attack, multiplying in numbers while all sorts of shenanigans happen.

This film is also notable for the most awkward love interest ever. It’s like Tiffany and Logan are reciting their lines while waiting to go to the toilet. But not as laughable as the special effects, though, as Mega Piranha gives us split-screens and scene changes accompanied by special effects that are truly awful.  Throw in a reporter being eaten live, and people running away in fear while others in the background just watch with mild interest and you have a truly awful film.

Sharktopus (2010)

Director: Declan O’Brien
Writer: Mike MacLean
Stars: Eric Roberts, Kerem Bursin and Sara Malakul Lane
In Australia Eric Roberts is probably best known for The Coca-Cola Kid, though I reckon I first saw him in Star 80. This film is my favourite of the 5. The acting is probably the worst of the lot, and the special effects are truly bad, but the creature was at least original. It’s another Roger Corman film so you know it can’t be all bad, right?

Right?

We see the monster right at the start – a shark’s front with an octopus’ tentacles coming from its midsection instead of a tail. But we also see that it is being controlled by scientists, as this genetically modified creature (affectionately called S-11) is actually a Navy weapon. But, of course, something goes wrong!  Now it’s up to a scientist (Roberts) and his daughter (amongst others) to kill it.

The one thing about it, though, is that this film doesn’t take itself seriously. I almost had the impression it was supposed to be a comedy. The monster’s frequent excursions onto land were bizarre.  It walks like a spider, making it a basic physics question.  How can tentacles support it like that?  The whole concept made no sense. But maybe that is part of the fun of a movie like this.

Scene of the film: Two painters are discussing ways they want to die, and when they are taken by the monster one of them yells, “Not like this!” as blood hits the camera lens. And the final line of the film: “That only happens in the movies.”

This was a bad film, with one of the most bizarre monsters ever, and acting that was at soap opera levels. But, damn, if I didn’t enjoy it! Truly awful, but this was another fun film.

Five movies of somewhat dubious quality. I wouldn’t say I actually recommend them but I can’t recommend to actively avoid them either. With the right crowd, some liquid encourage coupled with the right food stuffs and you can have fun for 7 and a half hours.  Just don’t take them seriously.

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