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16 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

I defend this nifty thriftbudget monster flick.

Author: EyeAskance from fabulous Las Vega$!
23 August 2003

A geological expedition of an abandoned mine becomes a living nightmare when its members find themselves trapped underground with a hulking, tentacled vagina monster. The interesting looking beast is brought to life via stop-motion animation(with marginal success). This creature, of origins which are never conclusively deduced, appears to digest its victims externally by covering them with a thick, enzymatic slime.

This unjustly overlooked monster movie was clearly produced on breadcrumb rations, but well-maintained suspense and a dark, foreboding atmosphere make up heartily for its bush-league deficiencies. Not a classic, perhaps, but certainly deserving of a more prominent placement within the annals of horror cinema.

6/10... Recommended.

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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Cave monster fans and Lovecraft fans give it a look

Author: HEFILM from French Polynesia
25 September 2006

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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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

I saw this movie a few years ago...

Author: sheldonrs from United States
2 May 2005

My boss at the time and showed it to us at a Halloween party at our office. He is the Chris Huntley that co-wrote and acted in it. He knows it's bad, we know it's bad and we all agree that the monster looks WAY too much like a vagina to be coincidence. Maybe it was from a gynocological experiment gone wrong.

It was a VERY low budget and the actors were all friends so what you have here is a case of "hey gang, lets' put on a show".

Nobody got hurt and it was a first attempt. Nothing wrong with that. It gave us all a good laugh and it's a great film to watch with friends and make fun of. :-)

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Lotsa fun!

Author: willywants
18 December 2003

A group of explorers surveying an abandoned goldmine are trapped in a cave in, and find themselves at the mercy of a slimy, tentacle-flinnging stop-motion monster. Despite the silly-sounding title, "The strangeness" was one of the better horror films that crawled out in 1985 (well, at least better than Larry Cohen's god awful "The stuff").The monster is pretty interesting-looking beastie, and the clay mation used to bring it to life is excellent. Some of the actors are bad and the film is poorly-light, but it's a very amusing horror film otherwise that when compared to most shoe-string budget horror film succeeds quite well. Recommended!

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Not that good

Author: lrc81 from Lisbon, Portugal
24 July 2004

A group of people decide to explore an old mine "Golden Spike", each of them has a different interest. One wants to write a book about it, other is a photographer, there's also a geologist and finally a couple of guys working for the person heading the expedition, their objective is to see if it's worth investing half a million dollars to re-open the mine. One by one they encounter the monster and to make matters worse all the possible exits appear to be blocked. "winds of hell" mysteriously start blowing, fear sets in, the only lights are the ones from the helmets. The guy in charge snaps, thinking that the rest of the people want to rob his firm's gold, there's no place to hide.

This monster reminded me of Lovecraft's monsters, I'm not a fan of this sort of clay monsters, the tentacles, how it moved. Even though the movie takes place in a mine, it should have had better lighting, at times all you can see is the light on their helmets, which is the same as saying, you can't see nothing at all. The acting deserves mixed reviews, some were OK, others not so much. Overall it's an average story that could have become a good movie if there was a bigger budget.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Mining Horror

Author: meddlecore from Canada
6 October 2013

There are tales about these mountains. These tales surround both the existence of a "gold spike" that lies on ancient sacred lands belonging to the Native Americans, and the white-man hating God that protects it from fairer skinned prospectors.

We find ourselves following a rag-tag group of these very-white prospectors- including a foreman, some miners, a geologist, a writer and his assistant, and their local guide- who plan on finding and cashing in on this mythological treasure. It was once sought after decades earlier, but the miners refused to continue working there.

Eventually the team finds an exposed cavern, setting into it to investigate.

The "golden spike" they've been searching for seems not to be ore, rather ingots; while the vengeful God that's watching over it seems to be some sort of tentacled stop-motion beast, with an a**hole for a head.

While searching for an alternate exit after a cave-in, the remaining members of the crew happen upon a room filled with hanging pieces of mirror. The author mentions how the old miners used to put them up to see what was approaching them from behind- before refusing to work altogether.

As the group continues on, they are accosted by an eerie wind, prior to finding the dead and dismembered body of their geologist.

Still rationalizing everything, the writer sets off on his own to look for what he thinks may be an exit, because he "doesn't want to get anyone's hopes up", by telling them about it first. (moron) After he disappears- and having lost all hope of finding an exit- the crew moves down into the third layer of the cavern- a realm where the beast is said to reside and have it's nest.

It's clear that something is really down there when they find human bones; carcasses writhing with maggots; and the writer plastered to the ceiling with some sort of slime.

Now fearing the worst, the group takes some defensive measure before putting their final escape plan into action. But is it too late? Have they gone too far already? Is there even a way out? Surely not, if that monstrous "God" has it's way.

The Strangeness is a pretty straight forward little horror with an imaginative monster that I wish we got to see more of. It's not terribly complex, overwhelmingly scary or very cinematic, but it's interesting enough to hold your attention. I've seen better...but I've also seen worse.

5 out 10.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

First hour is pure torture!

Author: udar55 from Williamsburg, VA
19 September 2009

A group of 7 gold prospectors head into a mine that was recently opened back up after an earthquake. Of course, they don't pay attention to local legend that something is down there and killing people. This low budget ($25,000) horror flick has a slight cult following and I'm not exactly sure why (unless it is because it is so obscure). I'll admit the last half hour is pretty entertaining, but the hour getting there is pure torture. Lots of walking and talking and our titular strangeness doesn't appear until 45 minutes in. Even in the extras co-writer Chris Huntley admits it commits the unforgivable sin of being boring. I would forgive them if they were strict amateurs, but this group graduated from USC so I would hope they know an exploitation film should be exploitive. Anyway, like I said, the last half hour is cool as three survivors battle the stop motion monster and there is a cool John Carpenter-like score. I wanted to see more of the monster, but it is literally on screen for 45 seconds.

Even if the movie isn't the best, Code Red DVD has given this great attention. You have interviews and an audio commentary by director Melanie Anne Phillips, producer/actor Mark Sawicki and co-writer Huntley. The tales about how the film was made are pretty fascinating and inspiring (like a cave set being built in a backyard). Even more interesting are Sawicki and Huntley's USC student shorts, which are actually all better than the feature production. Huntley was a pretty talented artist and it is a shame he didn't go on to anything else. Sawicki has worked steadily in Hollywood as a visual effects and camera guy. The film's VHS is kind of legendary for how dark it was and I'm sure this is much better. However, you still get scenes where the only image are five helmet lights bouncing around in the blackness. Safe to say, the original MY BLOODY VALENTINE is still "horror film set in a mine" champ.

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Gets points for ambition and imagination, but comes up short (5 out of 10)

Author: andybob-3 from Massachusetts, USA
23 May 2000

This extremely low-budget monster flick centers around a group of mine surveyors exploring an abandoned gold mine in order to see if its worth reopening. They get trapped after a cave in and find they are at the mercy of a strange, slimy creature which seems bent on knocking them off one at a time. The word that most came to mind as I watched this movie was 'desperate'. The script and acting is terrible, the stop-motion monster effects were unintentionally funny, and since the bulk of the movie takes place underground lighting the sets convincingly looked like a logistical nightmare. All that being said however for some reason I felt this movie failed not from lack of effort, but maybe from either a lack of budget, experience and/or lack of creative inspiration. The whole thing came off like it was either a college project or a first film made by amateurs, I have a certain amount of affection for films like that even when they completely miss the mark. I guess what I'm saying is I give it an B for effort and a D- for actual results, not insultingly bad as some low-budget monster movies I've seen but still not worth seeing unless you have a LOT of free time on your hands. I'm voting it a 5.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Nothing special, but has it's charms

Author: lovecraft231 from United States
24 August 2009

Ah, Code Red, you have a tendency to release rarities to DVD that range from lost classics ("Soul Survivor" and the upcoming Messiah of Evil" SE) to terrible ("Don't Go In The Woods...Alone!") to watchable but mediocre ("The Unseen" and "The Dead Pit") and the truly mind boggling ("Boardinghouse") Well, "The Strangeness" falls into the third category. I've been wanting to see it since I read the entry on it in Stephen Thrower's essential 70's/80's Horror Tome "Nightmare USA," and lo and behold, Code Red gives it a DVD release.

The plot is nothing special: A group of people people surveying a abandoned mine end up trapped in a cave, and what do ya know, a slimy tentacled monster. So yeah, nothing new, and nothing spectacular. On the plus side, the creature itself is a pretty nifty creation-done using Stop-Motion animation, and looking like a mix of H.R Giger (it's pretty much looks like a combination of a phallus and a vagina) and Lovecraft. Also, the direction is competent, the low budget sets are convincing and the John Carpenter like score is a lot of fun.

On the other hand, the acting is terrible (it's pretty much amateur hour here) and this was done with a PG rating, so those expecting plenty of gore will be let down considerably, as the majority of the deaths occur off screen. Plus, the Stop-Motion creature certainly has it's charms, though the animation itself is a bit jerky.

So, is it worth it? Well, it's certainly no "The Descent" that's for sure. On the other hand, if you have fond memories for not yet on DVD cave creature flicks like "What Waits Below" and "The Boogens", then this might be worth it. It's no classic, but there's worse ways to spend your time.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Wasted potential

Author: Tikkin from United Kingdom
7 March 2006

I want to say I liked this film, I really do, but when it boils down to it it was just far too boring. It starts off looking promising, and even once they get inside the mines the creepy atmosphere and mood is great. The problem is the monster, or lack of it. As people have said it's a stop-motion monster, but that's not the problem (stop-motion can look great if done properly). The problem is that we don't see enough of it and we don't get to see any deaths. This is meant to be a horror film so a lack of monster and a lack of deaths equals boredom. There were some scenes I liked, such as when one girl is using her camera in the dark and the monster is coming towards her. There are also a few other creepy scenes but they are far too few to hold your interest and definitely not worth watching the film for. It's a shame, because I can see that had it been handled correctly it would've been an effectively creepy horror flick. The saddest thing is that films like this will never be made again, because film makers over-polish their films these days and rely on crappy CGI effects.

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