Friday, October 1, 2010

Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus

My friend Rich sort of suggested this movie to me, presumably on the basis that my life has been going too cheerfully up to this point. I have to say though, that while this epic Sy-Fy Original match up between two ridiculously big prehistoric monsters is pretty damn far from what anyone would identify as good, it still managed to be the best horror movie of the three that I watched last night. I’m not certain what that says about me, but it can’t possibly be anything good.

The film starts, as you’ll agree such a film must, off the coast of Alaska, where Scientist Debbie Gibson (continuing a long proud line of such scientists as Scientist Tara Reid in Alone in the Dark and Scientist Penelope Cruz in Sahara) is in her little underwater craft that she’ll be riding in the whole movie testing out her new sonar equipment. The test goes awry, however, when half of the artic ice shelf suddenly breaks off, freeing a retardedly huge octopus that promptly starts killing all the whales in the area. Soon it rushes over to Japan to wipe out an entire drilling platform, while a massive shark also makes its appearance in one of the best moments of the entire film flying through the sky to eat a plane (not a low-flying one either, it’s in the middle of the clouds). Now it’s up to Scientist Debbie Gibson and her crack staff to find a way to stop these prehistoric monsters!

So there’s really two main parts to this movie: there’s the giant animal attacks, which are pretty awesome, and there’s the scenes where giant animals aren’t attacking, which are pretty terrible. In the latter, we are treated to seemingly endless scenes of Gibson arguing with a government higher-up (Lorenzo Lamas), whose only solution to these attacks is to launch nuclear missiles (in fairness, it’s not as though they hadn’t tried and failed already with conventional weapons -- at one point the shark takes three or four torpedoes to the face and doesn’t even start bleeding), and we get such “delights” as her Irish sidekick (Sean Lawlor) talking like a bad stereotype, tossing out lines like “you look like you need the luck of the Irish” pretty frequently. Lawlor died the same year this movie came out, I can only assume from shame.

The animal attacks, if not actually better-made, are at least a good deal more fun. We get the octopus swatting planes out of the air, the shark (identified as a megalodon, “the largest shark in history”, which Wikipedia foolishly claims grew to about 67 feet in length, although this movie proves that they were so much bigger than that that one of its’ teeth is twelve feet long) eating submarines, and just general craziness. The CG of course is uniformly terrible, with the animals rarely seeming to actually interact properly with their surroundings, and I’m fairly certain a few shots of the animals fighting each other (Scientist Gibson doesn’t get the idea to pit them against each other until the one hour mark, so don’t be thinking they fight for most of the film or anything -- so it’s like Freddy vs. Jason, I suppose) are straight up repeated in the assumption that nobody would notice. Still, it’s definitely a cut above the Sy-Fy original movies I’ve seen up to this point, and the animal attacks come often enough to keep the film from becoming boring. Make no mistake, it is quite a bad movie, but it’s one that certain people out there could easily have a pleasant evening watching with friends. You know who you are.

Rating: **

BONUS TIME: While September Q & A has ended, my friend Jason tossed a fun question my way, so I figured I’d entertain you all with one final effort: “What would you consider the more influential Horror movie is, both to you personally, and to the movie industry as a whole?”

The most influential for me personally is easy: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, It’s the first horror movie I ever owned (I taped it off the TV when I was five years old), and given that Freddy has remained my all-time favorite horror monster, I’d have to say it’s had a pretty big influence on my life 9and probably my lifelong love of horror movies). As for the most influential of all time, there are a few major contenders. One could make the argument that Nosferatu is, simply by virtue of being the very first vampire movie of all time (and arguably the first horror movie, though The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari might beg to differ), but honestly, being first to the table doesn’t automatically make it the most influential effort, particularly when most of the horror movies of the 30s, 40s, and 50s were pretty heavily derived from another film: Todd Browning’s 1931 film Dracula. Not only were all the Universal horror movies based around its’ formula, all the way into the 50s with the Creature from the Black Lagoon series, but most of the horror films made by other companies around that time also based themselves around Dracula’s success.

Other contenders include Night of the Living Dead, which was so influential that virtually every zombie movie made since (and boy, have there been a lot of them) has been based off of it, or Friday the 13th, which, while not being the first slasher movie ever made, was the one that caused the genre to explode in popularity to the point where it seems as though roughly 25% of all movies made in the 1980s were slasher films. Honorable mentions should also go to Rosemary’s Baby for spawning all of the occult horror movies of the 70s, The Curse of Frankenstein for making the imprint upon which all of Hammer’s gothic horror movies of the 50s, 60s, and 70s were based, Scream, for spawning the thankfully fairly short-lived self-aware ironic horror movies of the late 90s, and the Mario Bava classics The Girl Who Knew Too Much and Blood & Black Lace, which, between the two of them, effectively invented the giallo genre.

1 comment:

katsucurrys14 said...

you actually watched it, you crazy guy. there is a deeper meaning to be gleaned from this movie. as related by the story of croesus in herodotus, and the story of debbie gibson being in a movie like this at all, fortune is fickle.