Attack of the Beast Creatures ~ 1985, Michael Stanley
Attack of the Beast Creatures is:
A) Not very much fun to re-watch
B) Not very much fun to write about
That’s a bad combo, from my perspective, but I’m gonna try and power through this one anyway, since I’m essentially obligated to by the Film Nerd’s Code. Which is all secret, so don’t ask about it.
The truth of the matter is that not a hell of a lot happens in this movie. It’s ridiculous, and I guess sorta fun to watch, but Attack of the Beast Creatures is also nothing more than a straight forward, A-to-B monster flick with essentially no subtext to analyze whatsoever. The plot concerns a life-boat full of well-to-do Americans who wind up shipwrecked on a mysterious Island somewhere in the North Atlantic. Upon reaching these grim and foreboding shores, there is immediately dischord amongst the castaways, most of which is generated by a single grumpy old bitch named Mr. Morgan. Morgan later becomes the group’s resident liability when he suffers a debilitating leg injury, and is also a total sack of assholes.
Shaken by their time at sea but still hoping to be rescued, the group establishes a sort of base-camp on the beach and splits up to look for food, shelter, and water. One of our thirsty explorers heads off into the forest on just such a mission and quickly stumbles upon what looks to be a standing body of fresh water, which is good, since, you know, humans drink water and stuff. BOOM, guess what, doofus, that ain’t water, it’s flesh melting acid that looks exactly like water! Now you’re melting to death! Yeah, apparently Beast Creatures Island has little acid lagoons and ponds all over it, so locating drinkable water that doesn’t go all Hennesy Viper on you when you drink it is instantly bumped up to priority one. At least, until the damn Beast Creatures show up.
The Beast Creatures are, no surprise, the film’s real claim to fame- these little guys are famous for being some of the most feebly attempted movie monsters of the entire 1980’s. They look like cannibal themed treasure trolls which were probably purchased in bulk from a dollar store, and they can barely even move. They scurry around and gobble up people like terrestrial, humanoid pirahna, and are also apparently intelligent enough to practice some form of idol worship, but their most noteworthy contribution to the human experience is just that they looks fucking ridiculous. Without question, seeing a large group of adults clutching these toy figurines to their bodies and pretending that they’re being eaten alive is nothing short of hilarious, and realistically that’s the highlight of the movie. Thank you, Beast Creatures, the ways in which you have chosen to suck has brought much laughter and mirth to a world burdened with harsh, cruel realities, and we appreciate the much needed distraction you have provided.
What’s actually more shocking about Attack of the Beast Creatures is the various ways in which this movie doesn’t suck. The script is short on subtext, yes, but certainly much more coherent than what you might see in comparable, more respected films (like Pieces, or anything by Jess Franco, for instance), and a lot of the dialogue is well written and surprisingly naturalistic. Even some of the acting and photography is decent or better, so Attack of the Beast Creatures kinda feels like a full length version of a first-term film-school assignment, where the over-achievers are randomly grouped together with future drop outs to create a project, with radically unbalanced results. Some people here did a good job…. Others certainly didn’t. The end result is a strange beast indeed.
The music is an oddity too, it sucks for reals, yet contributes to the film’s atmosphere in a way that is more successful than almost any other single factor in play. It sort of sounds like the Magnum Opus of some dude who auditioned for Gary Numan’s backing band but couldn’t make the cut. It’s almost good, what we have here is a lush, haunting synth oddyssey that runs more or less the entire length of the picture, and feels appropriate for the spooky, erie vibe the movie is going for. I think it works, it almost feels like an ultra dumbed-down version of the score for Werner Herzog’s Aguirre: der Zorn Gottes, which is, admittedly, a really bizarre comparion to make, but here we are. I kinda want it on my iPod, and it feels like what Nicolas Winding Refn was probably jamming to in ’85.
This movie has a reputation which is too deeply ingrained and widely dispersed to be in anyway effected by what I say here, and if you were ever going to watch this film, your opinion wasn’t going to be influenced by my review one way or the other. You know the drill, this movie took a running jump at “scary” and landed in “hilarious,” but it’s plenty fun all the same if you’re into that kind of thing. Worth watching if you and your friends dig the DIY MST3K experience, but if you’re a more centered cinema enthusiast, Attack of the Beast Creatures would probably just fuck up your night.
RECOMENDED DOUBLE FEATURE: Attack of the Beast Creatures and Piñata Survival Island.