Wednesday, April 27, 2011

30 Day Horror Challenge Day 27 - Your favorite guilty pleasure

I was taught by Mistress Amy, a woman I have the utmost respect for, that “In the pursuit of pleasure there is no guilt.” In other words, never feel ashamed of what you’re into. I’ve lived by those words ever since. Since I don’t really believe in “guilty pleasures”, I guess the closest thing for me would be those “so bad they’re good” movies. Nothing epitomizes the “so bad it’s good” aesthetic in modern films like Syfy original films. Not just Syfy originals, but the giant animal/monster/hybrid beastie Syfy originals. Fun stuff like Mansquito, Frankenfish, and Dinocroc. They are a sub-genre of their own. Since I can’t write about a whole sub genre, I’ll have to pick one. That is a daunting task, but there is one movie that stands head and fins above the rest as the ultimate Syfy Original flick, the all mighty Sharktopus.

My love for this movie probably exceeds sane and healthy levels. In fact, it was number 7 on my 2010 top 10. Just look at the team who brought this flick to us. It was written by Mike MacLean, who also wrote Dinocroc vs. Supergator and the upcoming Piranhaconda. It was directed by Declan O’Brian, who also did Rock Monster, Monster Ark, and the impressively bad Cyclops. It was distributed by Syfy/Anchor Bay, who graced us with beautiful crap like Mega Piranha and Mongolian Death Worm. If that’s not enough schlock pedigree for ya, it was produced by the master himself, Roger Corman. Yes, Galaxy of Terror Roger Corman. Piranha Roger Corman. Pit and the Pendulum Roger Corman. Death Race 2000 Roger Corman. 396 producer credits Roger Corman. Lifetime achievement Oscar Roger Corman. Have I made my point?

Basically, the navy has created a new biological weapon. He’s half shark, half octopus, and 100% AWESOME! Would you believe that it breaks free and runs amok? I know, unthinkable! It’s up the scientist who made him, his daughter, and a “bad boy with a heart of gold” rogue ex Navy Seal to stop the tentacled fury.

This movie is nonstop schlock and cheese and makes no bones about it. It’s pure VDOP. For those who just joined us, that’s Vulgar Display of Cheese, meaning one of those movies that revels in its own cheese. That’s the last time I’m gonna explain that term. I may rant and rave elsewhere (a lot) about bad CGI. In these flicks, however, it’s expected. The worse the better. It’s the new millennium equivalent of the bad rubber monster suit in the 50’s creature features. In this one, it’s BAD!

The acting is, well, interesting. It’s no wonder Eric Roberts ended up on Celebrity Rehab. He slurs his way through this flick like he had to be tanked to get through this movie. The audience just might feel the same way. Most of the rest of the main cast is somewhat passable. The extras are the really fun ones though. Watch for the “Oh my God” guy in the fire dance scene and the bearded painter on the scaffold’s death scene for two examples of the most hilariously awful acting since Ed Wood’s angora heyday.

The plot? Yeah right. Nothing in this movie makes any sense at all. Let’s just hit a few highlights. If Sharktopus is bullet proof, why do you shoot at him for half of the movie? Furthermore, why do you freak out when you’re out of ammo? How, pray tell, does a half shark half octopus walk on land? For that matter, how does it roar like a lion? How did you conveniently forget that there’s a computer program to kill it until the final 10 minutes after he’s killed 50 or so people. What the hell was with that ripping off the shirt Rambo move before you went to fight the monster with a stick? Must be the same thing that was behind the classic “shake your fist at the sky and scream ‘Noooooooooooo’” moment.

This movie is a hell of a lot of fun. It has quite a bit of blood for a TV movie. A surprising amount actually. Roger Corman’s cameo is priceless. It has one of the most original B movie monsters ever conceived. It even has a 50’s style surf rock theme song that is about 71 different kinds of bad ass. Check it out…

If you want to see just how much of a cultural impact this movie has had, go Google Sharktopus tattoo. That one in this pic isn’t the only one. Since it premiered last September, I have been on a mission to make all of my friends watch it. At Netherworld, the greatest haunted attraction in the world (where I coincidentally work), it became a joke to tell the new actors “go ask Nathan about Sharktopus” just to see the look on their face when I launched into the “MUTHAF***IN’ SHARKTOPUS BABY!” spiel. Normally, with a “guilty pleasure” movie, …actually, I’m gonna interrupt the article right here. The phone just rang as I was typing. It was Leah. I told her I’m writing about Sharktopus. The laughed that “shaking my head and rolling my eyes” laugh and informed me that I love that movie way too much. See, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. No one else seems to get it, but to me it’s schlock nirvana. Eight severed tentac…I mean two severed thumbs up. Nathan says check it out.

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