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Cave monster fans and Lovecraft fans give it a look
There are nostalgic reasons to like this now, back in the good old days the mid 1980's when low budget still meant you shot the thing on film and went outside of your neighborhood to shoot it. But I saw this in the 80's before the nostalgia kicked in and it was fun and it holds up for the most part now, rewatching a well battered VHS.
This is in the Lovecraft zone for sure and the story is good. The execution varies, it would be great to see a DVD release of this with some background info as this is an Indie production and therefore its origins would be interesting. A DVD might show the cave sets to be sets, but would probably also show the image more cleanly in good ways too. I think it's pretty well photographed,but in some instances video transfers just couldn't handle the contrast ratios like this. In one scene, for instance, a flash camera is used to light the way and each flash makes the whole video image jump and ruins a cool reveal shot of the creature.
(A pretty nice DVD of this was released in August of 2009 and is well worth getting)
The monster is creepy looking, even if you're not afraid of vaginas and part of it certainly does look like one. The DVD reveals two things that have to be mentioned in light of this. The director is now a women (though still married to his/her wife that he had kids with?!?) How much of a woman then is he/she? And the designer of the creature is now openly gay though at the time says he was not "out" yet. So think, or don't think, about this too deeply while watching the movie. They also show the puppet, battered but still looking very, well vaginal or as the designer says, it looks like a penis with a vagina on the end of it. Does all this make the monster sound scary enough for you?
Performers vary but several of them engage your interest enough to care about their fate and one of them, who deserves to die, does indeed have a very good death scene. Yes 1980's film fans, the lead large-possibly-not-real-breasted actress, seemingly the only veteran actor of the bunch, wears a tight white semi tube top,and even tighter jeans, and yes they eventually get her wet. But the thing that it deserves credit for is you can always tell which character is which, which, if you pardon the repeated word, is more than THE DESCENT managed to do.
The enjoyable John Carpenter rip off score is probably the most dated element and it actually dates it in a good way, the whole story with a cave monster gives it a old fashioned feel in a good way too. It's a good old fashioned monster story.
Other films in this ballpark are of course the recent THE DESCENT, and WHAT WAITS BELOW, and THE BOOGENS, but this film is not exactly like any of those and though not as good as those in many ways still has its share of creepy moments amid a couple of "we didn't really shoot this action scene well enough for it to all make sense sequences." The mine setting is well enough done to build interest and it moves pretty well to the end. Bring on a DVD version someone. Some of the well done animation is by Ernest D Farino who has for many years worked at Industrial Light and Magic doing work on Star Wars films and several James Cameron title sequences.
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