Creature Feature

[2.0] When this Italian flick (originally titled Island of the Fish Men) was picked up for North American distribution, a new opening featuring some gloppy special effects and a handful of kills was added. That opening is the best part of this movie, even if it’s merely a visceral victory point. Once the opening characters are all killed, the story follows a small boat full …

[1.0] When I heard Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, screenwriter behind Lethal Weapon) was directing and Fred Dekker (The Monster Squad) was cowriting, I thought The Predator would have the right ingredients for a successful relaunch. I don’t know to what extent studio interference played a part, but if I were Black or Dekker I would have had my name removed from this film …

[2.0] A giant radioactive lizard terrorizes New York City. There are probably at least 100 different ways this could have been more interesting and exciting, but producers Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich (Independence Day) instead opt to make their Godzilla movie two hours and twenty minutes of  implausible, joyless tedium. The characters (if you could call them that) have no spunk, no personality, nothing to …

[6.0] After the surprisingly fun Jurassic World, Universal was quick to crank out this passable sequel. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return, shoe-horned into a plot that doesn’t really need them. The island that hosts the now-closed theme park is on the verge of volcanic destruction and a wealthy company is determined to rescue as many creatures from the island as possible. Or at …

[3.0] Jason Statham headlines this giant killer shark movie that is far more concerned with pandering sentimental bullshit to Chinese audiences than entertaining American audiences. The Meg should be an exploitation action/horror flick. And indeed director Jon Turteltaub and star Statham are on the record saying the movie released is not the movie they set out to make. The total absence of blood, gore, violence, …

[6.5] John Krasinski and Emily Blunt star in this high-concept apocalyptic horror flick in which the human race has been decimated by creatures of unknown origin that have super-hearing abilities. And if they hear you, they kill you. So the few survivors left on Earth have figured out how to stay alive without making a sound. Krasinski and Blunt play the parents of three children — …

[6.0] Razorback is a passable midnight horror movie from Russell Mulcahy, who would go on to direct the cult fave Highlander a few years later. Razorback is about a giant boar that terrorizes the Australian outback. After an American reporter disappears, her husband (Gregory Harrison) goes down under to investigate. He’s aided by an old hunter (Bill Kerr) who has been tracking the big piggy ever …

[7.0] Dee Wallace plays a TV reporter who escapes to the country after a traumatic experience. Unfortunately, the country turns out to be filled with werewolves! The Howling is a well-made horror flick from director Joe Dante (Gremlins), who likes to mix genuine scares with tongue-in-cheek humor. The werewolf effects, created primarily by Rob Bottin, are pretty darned good. The wolves themselves are gigantic, large-eared …

[4.0] A motley group of townsfolk fall under siege at a nearly-abandoned hospital surrounded by mysterious, hooded cult figures brandishing knives. Before they can figure out who the cultists are or what they want, strange creatures start popping out of the shadows inside the hospital that like to eat and transform their victims. Also, the hospital has a weird secret lower level to it, where …

[8.0] Philip Kaufman enhances the creepiness and desperation in this superior retelling of the classic tale of alien menace and paranoia. The terrific cast includes Donald Sutherland, Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright, Brooke Adams, and Leonard Nimoy. Ben Burtt provides the spooky sound effects, including that hideous, otherworldly sound the pod people make when they spot a human in their midst. This particular film version (there …

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