Saturday, September 14, 2013


WHAT A DELIGHT THIS MOVIE WAS! This is a 2013 TV movie directed by Anthony Ferrante, starring Ian Ziering, John Heard, Cassie Scerbo and a cast of FLYING SHARKS! 

PLOT SUMMARY:  A bartender discovers, when the weather lady announces a hurricane and Sharks start coming in through the windows of his waterside tavern to put the munch on his patrons, that he needs to drive to Beverly Hills and save his wife and daughter.  Hilarity ensues when the waitress who has a mad crush on him transforms into a gun-toting action heroine, his son turns out to have been secretly training as a helicopter pilot, and one of his most reliable barfly customers saves a puppy as he himself saves a busload of kids and his ex-wife does NOTHING BUT NAG.  Meanwhile, they are surrounded by swimming, bar-hopping, mudslide-partying, school-bus invading, FLYING SHARKS!  WILL ANYONE SURVIVE?


>> This is a cut above the usual TV movies about killer sharks on the rampage.  The camera work is a little fancier, the FX budget is a little higher, and someone actually appears to have put some thought into this one.  So in spite of the shakiest film premises yet -- this one works.  Does it ever work!  Whee!

>> In some ways, they tried a leetle too hard on this movie.  The story is a roller-coaster ride -- OR DO I MEAN FERRIS WHEEL? -- of rollicking great moments, interrupted by EPIC STUPID.  You never know what to expect next!  Whee!

>> The noise level is so high, between the storm, the chopper sounds, and the incidental music, that you can hardly make out the dialogue.  I know, I know, who cares about landscum conversation?  SEND IN THE FLYING SHARKS!  But I, as North American Conspiracy Zone Leader, do need to ask which recruits are the good ones and who need simply to be KILLED and EATEN.  There is so much going on in this story that we finally need to tuck our fins and LEAVE IT TO DAGON.  Whee!

>> They start you right out with some Martin Brody screw-around-the-the-compressed air action, lead you from there in to some Billy Tyne shotgun maneuvers, then skid sideways into some stupid human tricks performed by a push-up bikini action heroine named NOVA (I know!  I know!)  and a plucky helicopter pilot in a paper hat marked "TRAINEE"armed with a pile of fire extinguishers and a Zippo lighter who aims to FOOL MOTHER NATURE and BUST A MOVE ON FATHER DAGON.  Oh, and don't forget the Jonas Taylor armed with a chainsaw instead of a lucky Megalodon tooth moves.  Whee!

>> Things to watch for in this movie: happy reminders of Mega Piranha, Skyline, Jaws, Red Water, Twister, MEG -- but WITHOUT Eric Balfour, Coolio or his toy 9 mm, NO Bill Paxton hamming it up, and not a single knockoff Philip Seymour Hoffman or Richard Dreyfuss in sight -- Whee!

>> FX are really not half bad, with intermittent moments of FLIEGENDE KINDERSCHEISSE CRAPTACULAR WHOE EVEN THINKS THIS STUFF UP.  Whee!

>>  The climax of this story is never to be forgotten.  I crap you negative on this one, ladies.

Oh, just see this one.  In fact I recommend you buy your own copy. 




Well, ladies, this was QUITE A MOVIEGOING EXPERIENCE.  This 2008 straight-to-video feature, directed by David Winning and starring Cindy Sampson, Bruce Dern and Nicholas Wright, is all about a SMALL TOWN IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, troubled by a series of mysterious deaths in which the victims are found FLOATING FACE UP IN THE LOCAL SWAMP.  This is a bit of a recurring problem, as Cindy Sampson's character -- "Melanie Blaime" -- finds out when she goes home for the first time since age 12 to see her father (Dern) before he dies.  The call comes from a guy from her childhood she doesn't remember, Jimmy Fuller (Wright), and she drives to her old stomping ground to find the town virtually in ruins and deserted.   Why?  Although the good townspeople don't know it yet, they have a SWAMP MONSTER.  Where does Jimmy drop Melanie off to wait to meet her dad?  A cabin out in the middle of the swamp, where a sheriff's posse, including the half-mad father of a young woman who was murdered, is aiming to hunt down her dad.  WILL ANYONE SURVIVE?


>> This was a great idea, indifferently executed.  From the landscum POV, there was not enough character development, not enough scary swamp-romp scenes, and not quite enough paranormal build-up. 

>> From the fish POV, there is simply NOT ENOUGH SWAMP.  We never get to see any good human swampsmanship one-upped by a terrifying creature beyond human ken.  We never get to see any old swamp hands making their way in life by noodling Catfish.  There are no grim omens in the form of unnatural visions, happenings, or again UNNATURAL CATFISH in said swamp.  We don't see any bayou appeasement rituals or the crafting of old-fashioned hoodoo charms, despite the suggestion that swamp magic brought this terror about.  There is no sense of place at all, in fact.  Are we in the marshes of Michigan?  The saltwater flats of the Carolinas?  The Gulf Coast?  Search me.  Nobody ever says.

>> Oh, the creature?  Another great idea indifferently executed.  They resorted to the usual: a CGI cartoon.  This could have been beefed up considerably with a little more attention paid to the script and some serious suspense-building, plus a rubber monster suit. 

>> This movie was made by people who love and appreciate the Evil Dead  movies and attempted to answer for us what those killer vines were up to in those pictures -- a tempting image the Raimi brothers never really followed through on.  Again, the filmmakers in this case got off to a great start but appeared to run out of ideas partway through.  The killer vines may ultimately have been the heart of the story, but someone got distracted by a shiny object and nothing ever came of it.

>> Who was Jimmy, anyway?  He's a rather intriguing character who wins the trust of our heroine and leads her a merry chase through the story.  he is what you might call the recruiting operative in this story.  He takes you off into the swamp and you may never be seen again.  He clearly has an intimate knowledge of the local landscape, although we never really get to see him interact closely with the local fish, the local water, or most of the good townspeople.  What's his angle?

>> Who was Shellie?  Played by Bronwyn Mantel, she appears to have played a crucial role in the story but we never really got to see her do her stuff.  Is she a recruit of Jimmy's?  Did she herself recruit Jimmy, way back before the movie began?  How does she know him?  What is she getting out of this deal?

>> Above all, who is Melanie?  She comes off as this kind of once-bitten type who trusts nobody because her mom died and her dad abandoned her.  But she instantly trusts Jimmy, a total stranger, and goes to her hated hometown after a single phone call from him, then lets him lead her up, down and all around in the course of the story.  She'd be easy to recruit, that's for sure.  But was that her role in this story?  Jimmy made like he wanted to recruit her, then didn't make a single move to so do.  What was that about?

>> And this leads us back to WHO WAS JIMMY, ANYWAY?  What a list of wasted opportunities I saw for Jimmy to half-reveal his agenda, his essential weirdness and malevolence if he really is a demon from beyond the grave,, or his ultimately kind & welcoming nature is he really WAS a fish recruiter.

This is a movie that stimulates your imagination and hopes without ever really fulfilling any of the possibilities you end up wishing for.  But it gave me some great recruiting ideas for our bayou operatives.  Watch for new handouts and discussion topics at upcoming chapter meetings!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Yeah...He Has Gill Slits Now!

Sunday, September 08, 2013

The Things You See On The Internet!

The image above is an item UP FOR SALE through that company called Safari, Ltd. that makes ARTIFICIAL ANIMALS.  I guess they have now come out with an ARTIFICIAL GOLDFISH.  This is really a handsome toy, I have to admit, but for crying out loud, IT CAN'T EVEN SWIM.  (And it can't REPORT BACK TO US ON THE OWNER'S ACTIVITIES.)  You'd have maybe a whole tank of these lovely non-creatures, but they lack the hypnotic quality of the movement in a real fishtank, and there's no soothing bubbling sound either, I assume.  Wouldn't the real thing be infinitely better?

And while we're on the subject, GET A LOAD OF THESE:

Notice the ruler, included to give potential buyers the scale of the item.  That's right; for the human whelp who has EVERYTHING, they now offer ARTIFICIAL RATS FOR LITTLE TRIXIE'S DOLLHOUSE.  Geez, I can send you over a box of LIVE ONES, no trouble at all.