Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
Because sometimes you just feel like laughing...
MAN IN SHIT SUIT! MAN IN SHIT SUIT! MAN IN SHIT SUIT!
Don't know if you got this email from me with this review before because of a glitch with my mail server, so if not, then here it is and, if so, my apologies. If you love cult movies, then this one is certainly noteworthy.
MAN IN SHIT SUIT! MAN IN SHIT SUIT! MAN IN SHIT SUIT!
Most AICN reviewers give you their opinion of some of the most anticipated films of the day that they’ve been fortunate, or unfortunate in many cases, to get a sneak peak at. Me, I’m here to tell you about a new movie featuring a monster comprised entirely of human excrement and while this movie isn’t on the same cinematic plateau as MEGIDDO, it is still worthy of being brought to the attention of lovers of cult films. And yet, I feel no shame.
Now I suppose a direct-to-video movie about a 7-foot feces monster isn’t normally the kind of film that gets reviewed on Ain’t It Cool News, but then as I look over at the current Coaxial News section and see a glowing review of a random episode of SHE SPIES, I become fairly confident this review isn’t going to lower the bar any further.
The film I am here to tell you about is named MONSTURD and while it is the shittiest monster movie of all time, and I actually mean that in the literal sense, it is anything but crappy! Believe me, I’ve sat through both of those JACK FROST killer snowman movies, 4 out of 5 LEPRECHAUN films, those wretched RUMPELSTILSKIN/UNCLE SAM/PINNOCHIO horror films, the first two WISHMASTER movies, BENEATH LOCH NESS, the entire WARLOCK franchise, 3 out of 7 CHILDREN OF THE CORN films, FILIPINO BATMAN & ROBIN, every movie Hulk Hogan has ever made, and countless movies about killer snakes, bats, crocodiles, octopi, etc. that have been unleashed in video stores as of late all in seemingly futile quest to find an entertaining piece of celluloid schlock. So are the perils of a bad movie lover. Sometimes you just have to roll the dice and hope for a winner. After enduring all of the above, I can honestly say that even I’m surprised that MONSTURD would prove to be a breath of fresh air.
So what exactly is the plot of MONSTURD, you ask? Serial killer Jack Schmitt, infamous for killing people on the toilet and leaving messages scrawled on the wall that usually say something along the lines of “DON’T GET CAUGHT WITH YOUR PANTS DOWN,” escapes from prison and hides out in the sewers below Butte County’s peaceful suburbia. Meanwhile, an evil scientist who works for a research conglomerate called Dutech has developed a mutant strain of flesh-eating bacteria. Why? Well, we’re never really told. Hey, he’s evil! Because he is insane as well as evil, he decides to experiment by dumping a barrel of the stuff down into the sewers. When police confront the homicidal maniac, he ends up falling into a pool of the mad scientist’s chemical concoction. I assume you’ve seen SWAMP THING so you should know what happens next. Just substitute plant life with fecal matter and add the flesh-eating bacteria that can dissolve human flesh on contact, which is how the man-turd feeds. Everyone thinks that Schmitt is dead, but in fact he has transformed into a half-man/half-feces monster that dwells in the sewers and pops out of toilets to devour hapless victims. While the mad scientist anoints himself master and protector of his monstrous creation, the local sheriff, two bumbling deputies, and the female FBI agent who originally captured Schmitt join forces to warn the disbelieving populace and destroy the killer crap creature before the town’s Annual Chili Cook-Off. Did I mention that they attempt to accomplish this while wearing diaper armor and carrying super soakers loaded with Pepto-Bismol?
MONSTURD is without question the greatest movie that Troma never made! Fortunately, filmmakers Dan West and Mike Popko, who also play the dimwitted deputies, didn’t make some of the same mistakes that Troma tends to. While I have enjoyed a few of Troma’s films, my favorite being MONSTER IN THE CLOSET which this film most closely resembles, many of them try so hard to be over-the-top from beginning to end that they devolve into being very abrasive movies loaded with obnoxious characters who feel compelled to constantly yell their lines. MONSTURD, on the other hand, is bold enough to play it with a straight face, much like an old A.I.P. monster movie, so that when the goofy stuff happens, it’s a lot funnier than it would have been if everything were done in an in-your-face manner. The acting is very relaxed and natural and nobody makes the mistake of trying to force they’re performance. While no one in the cast is going to win an Oscar anytime soon, nobody is particularly bad. It’s quite obvious that everyone on the screen is having a ball.
Personally, I’ve never been a fan of gross-out humor, but surprisingly, MONSTURD is not loaded with wall-to-wall gross-out gags or an endless stream of poop jokes. While it definitely has more than it’s fair share of those, the grossest being the world’s longest vomiting scene, most of the humor is a bit more subtle like when a potential victim’s young daughter casually walks into the living room and tells her apathetic dad about the giant doodoo that came out of the toilet and started saying bad words or when someone tries to lure the mutated Mr. Hankey out of hiding by leaving a trail of cream corn on the ground while making fart noises as if it’s some sort of bird call or when the deputies drive around the town with a bullhorn advising citizens not to use their toilets and then listing other means by which they should relieve themselves. In addition, a lot of humor comes from the way in which this insanity plays out in traditional 50’s monster movie fashion. While this does create a lull in the loonacy every now and then as certain clichÃ©d scenes have to play out, in the end it works to the film’s overall benefit. One can only imagine what relentless, stomach churning crap the Wayans Brothers would have bombarded the audience with if they were responsible for this film.
As for the title monster itself, I’m happy to say that it’s a good, old fashioned, rubber suit creation. Or as Harry would put it – MAN IN SHIT SUIT! It’s a disgusting looking pile of crap with arms and legs and a pointy head with bowel movements detailed all over it. While the crap creature’s costume is hardly a creation on the level of Stan Winston or Rick Baker, it’s still an extremely professional looking costume that would make Paul Blaisdell proud. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought it looked sorta like what one of the Rock Men costumes from 1959’s MISSILE TO THE MOON would look like after somebody took a flamethrower to it. Oh, just as the mummy in the recent MUMMY films was terrified of cats, the man-turd is deathly afraid of flies or as it bemoans in a frightened Frankenstein-like voice, “Flies hurt the shit man! Flies eat the shit man!”
As strange as this might sound, MONSTURD is actually a very nice looking movie. It’s hard to believe this movie was made for only $3,000 because it has really nice production values for such a low budget feature. Visually, it’s far more impressive than most other shot on video films like THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. Hell, this $3,000 shot-on-video movie looks better than most Troma and Full Moon productions that have much larger budgets.
Now with all that said, the movie does have its fair share of shortcomings. For starters, the film has bookends featuring a daughter telling her father the story of the movie and the film cuts back to them a few times along the way as she acts as the movie’s narrator. I really don’t think they were necessary, but at least the big punchline she delivers at the film’s end was pretty funny. Then, there’s the subplot about widower sheriff and the hint of romance between him and the female FBI agent. This staple of lazy Hollywood screenwriting manages to fall flat even when the spoof film attempts to poke fun at the clichÃ©. My biggest disappointment is that the build up to the final showdown with the bowel movement behemoth is about 10 times longer than the actual battle. This short, abrupt climactic battle seems to have been a casualty of the movie’s miniscule budget.
Still, it’s impossible to not like a movie that features dialogue like “The shit man’s got me, Bobby!” and has a scene where a police sketch artist attempts to draw a detailed picture of the creature while casually asking the witness if she saw any nuts in it and, if so, could she describe what kind of nuts they were. And let’s not forget the song that plays during the closing credits. Entitled NUMBER TWO: THE BALLAD OF THE MONSTURD, it sounds like something Cybil Shepard would perform in her lounge act were she whacked out of her mind on painkillers at the time.
While MONSTURD doesn’t quite reach the level of such classics as KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER, it’s still an inspired nugget of utter loonacy that’s destined to gain a cult following. According to co-director Popko, Dead Alive Productions, an affiliate of Spectrum Films, has picked up distribution rights and plans to release the film on video and DVD on April 8th. But if you can’t wait that long, you can purchase a VHS copy of the film directly from the filmmakers by logging on to the movie’s homepage www.monsturd.com where you can also watch the trailer and listen to the theme song. If this movie sounds like your cup of tea, I recommend you give it a look. There’s never been anything quite like MONSTURD and somehow I doubt there ever will be again.
Thanks, man. And if you want a laugh, folks, plug “Megiddo” into our search engine and check out Foy’s review for that one, too...