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I'm a big supporter of Stuart Simpson and I remember when I reviewed his first film "The Demons Among Us" a few years back. I had to get in contact with him straight away and get an interview set up. And so I did. Ever since then I have been eagerly awaiting something new from him, which first was "The Dark Psychosis", but when one of the shorts for that collection became a movie of its own, "El Monstro Del Mar!", that one became my main focus. This was gonna be a wild independent monster movie and anyone who knows me have heard me complain about the lack of good monster films nowadays. Hell, people don't even make very good werewolf movies anymore. Because of this the expectations have been on top since day one and I haven't even stopped for a second to think that maybe this movie won't live up to all of this. But now after finally (after the first package was lost in the mail) having seen the film I can say that it's exactly what it needed to be.
It starts off in black and white with three big breasted rockabilly sweethearts with serious attitude (sound familiar? Yes, this movie in many way a tribute to "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" and the likes) in a car by the side of the road. They soon see a car with guys in it, and clearly they are stopping for these beauties! They slit the throats of the guys and take their car and head to a small town by the sea. There they meet the good old "don't go in the water" man in a wheel chair who warns them about the water. His granddaughter Hannah gets interested in these three ladies and goes to hang out with them later that night. While she parties with them, fishermen are being killed off one by one on a boat out in the sea, and later that morning the girls find the remains. The old man knows what's going on - the sea monster is back.
How original, right? No, not at all. And that's the point. "El Monstro Del Mar!" is constructed to take bits and pieces of Russ Meyer films as well as the good, serious monster movies. Of any decade, really. At times it feels exactly like the 80's did with their fun attitude and gore, but at other times it's straight out of a 50's monster movie. The movie doesn't take itself too serious, but when it comes to being a monster movie it actually does. It doesn't fool around trying to make the monsters funny even though they indeed do look like they could've been in a 50's film. And that's what makes it so much stronger than all of these films "homage films" that are so popular nowadays. The monster scenes are serious, fantastic and actually intense! The monster is pretty much an octopus with the arms/tentacles that eat. Much like the film "Deep Rising", I would say. For the most part we only see the tentacles, and as I said the effects feel like it is out of a classic monster movie, but I am pretty sure that was the case yet again. The tentacles are for the most part controlled by hand puppets and that makes the movement a bit restricted, but I must say I am very impressed by the finale because of how crazy it gets. Monster tentacles everywhere! I don't have any complaint at all against how the monsters looked because it worked so well with the rest of the movie. The gore also looked very good (some occasional blood color that felt a little off) and there is plenty to go around. The effects that I didn't like was some very brief CGI shots and some of the green screen shots. But there are also good CGI and green screen shots, which is very important to point out as well (example of good green screen is when it is for the monster, but bad is when it is for the background when the girls are on top of a hill).
Norman Yemm did a phenomenal job in his role as the worried old man and I don't think there was a second in the movie where he didn't have me convinced. I absolutely loved his character and you actually felt sorry for him! The girls did a good job as well, but they had a lot more outrageous scenes to play out so of course there are some bits that feel a bit awkward. But they also did a great job as these bad ass chicks with a thing for murder. Together the assembly make for a very good cast that fit the style of the movie, both in their acting and their look.
There isn't much more to say about "El Monstro Del Mar!". It's a fantastic little independent monster movie that I am pretty sure I will be watching again within the near future. "The Demons Among Us" was a good first film from Stuart Simpson, but this one is so much better and is proof that we have a future legend here. The short runtime here makes it straight on and focused, but I wouldn't have complained if it was another 10 minutes. There is no reason you should skip this movie if you enjoy monster movies, and even if you don't there are plenty of hot babes to look at while they shake their bodies on screen on more than one occasion. Good job Stuart and the team for making a monster movie that actually knows what is required to play with the big guys, and thank you for not making it into a slapstick splatter for cheap laughs.
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