Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Gruesome Twosome

by Jason Pyles

I apologize for my two-month hiatus, but I opted to punish myself by watching "Shark Attack 3: Megalodon" (2002) and "Blood Diner" (1987).

“Shark Attack 3: Megalodon”

There are low-budget films, then there's "Shark Attack 3: Megalodon." I guess it isn't the most cheaply made film I've ever seen, but it's close. Voted worst movie ever by Craig, "Shark Attack 3" is worth watching for two reasons: 1.) Its "special” effects. 2.) It has the most surprising one-liner I've ever heard in a movie. But after reading the trivia for the movie, some of the magic was lost since it wasn’t initially written into the script. Much like the improvised "You're gonna need a bigger boat" line from "Jaws," this vulgarity was an impromptu joke that John Barrowman said in an attempt to make Jenny McShane laugh, and apparently it stuck.

Otherwise, “Shark Attack 3” is reprehensible, having learned nothing from a successful shark movie like “Jaws” (1975). For instance, in “Jaws,” Spielberg held out a long time, refraining from showing his fake-looking shark; instead, he opted to ramp up the suspense, making us want to see the shark. “Shark Attack 3” builds little suspense or dread and shows us its really fake-looking shark fairly early in the movie.

But the real question is what about "Shark Attacks 1 and 2"? I mean, sequels are often bad, but with a movie this poor, we are compelled to wonder whether this wasn't like the inexplicable "Leonard Part 6" phenomenon, where there were no preceding Leonard parts. But no, there were two previous "Shark Attack" movies: "Shark Attack" (1999) was merely a TV movie, and "Shark Attack 2" was released straight to video. So if you wish to see the entire trilogy, go nuts.

“Blood Diner”

My cousin Brian recommended “Blood Diner,” a prime example of a cult movie. Released in 1987, it seems that “Blood Diner” is difficult to find nowadays, but one of my cousin’s friends ordered a copy from overseas, and we’ve been passing it around. If you’d like to see it, let me know, and I can place you in the mailing rotation. Its currently on its way to Andy in Utah.

“Blood Diner” has its diabolical charm. What I like about it is how it’s the kind of movie you’d find on USA’s late-night horror movie program hosted by “Elvira.” (Wasn’t that called “Fright Night”?) Anyway, it’s exactly that sort of film — the kind you’ll never forget. It’s the type of movie that’s unsettling, not because of the horror movie itself, but because someone was warped enough to think of such weirdness.

Sure, “Blood Diner” is meant to be a comedy, a dark-comedy horror movie. But even so, when we see “Sheetar’s” remarkable stomach — and what it can do when it’s in action — it’s the kind of imagery that makes the hairs stand up on the back of the neck of the little boy in me. How can something so ridiculous simultaneously be so disturbing?

Oh, and for those who are LDS, like me, if you watch closely enough, Uncle Anwar’s evil book that his nephews read from is actually a Doctrine and Covenants (which is not an evil book). The filmmakers were gracious enough, I suppose, to hide the cover and the book’s title at the top of the pages, but if you freeze the frame at the right moment, you can tell that it’s a D&C. How’s that for trivia?

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