Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Strangeness (1985)

I've read a couple of negative, or at least patronizing, reviews of The Strangeness, and after watching the movie myself I just can't understand these opinons. Sure, it's cheap and gritty, but also a quite good monster movie with great locations and a very bisarre monster. Shot on weekends and on sparetime during one year, this a movie with a lot of love you actually can see.

Basically it's a couple of cave-explorers going to find gold, or something, that get's caught in an old mine and hunted down by a grotesque tentacle-monster with a vagina-mouth. It has a slow build up with some okey character-work and very little horror - but when the finally go down in the mine there's a great atmosphere, ya know the one you can cut with a knife, and even if the filmmakers holds back on the gore, there's nothing boring going on. It's competent storystelling.

I was surprised that the movie looked so good and professional. The only thing that really reveals the low budget nature is the cheap filmstock and some editing choices. But except that it's a eighties horror movie like a lot of other, except with a lot more atmosphere. It reminded me of everything from Texas Chainsaw Massacre to Ciro Ippolito's Alien 2. The mirror scene is up there with the best, and with a stunning use of how you can use a mirror to make a dialogue scene much more tension-filled.

Mark Sawicki's stop-motion effects are primitive, but I've seen worse, and for once they are used in an intelligent way. Mostly hidden in shadows, this is a cheap monster that looks much more impressive that way. It's not only strange, it's really disgusting to! When I come to think of that, it's quite fun that Sawicki came out as gay after this movie and the director made a sex-operation - which considering the vagina-like monster is kinda fun. But on the other side, it maybe should have been more fitting with a penis-monster instead for the director?

The Cod Red dvd is in great shape, and has a couple of very entusiastic interview with the makers of the movie. Smart people with a lot of affection for their old b-movie. I would say this is my favorite cave-movie from now on, together with Alien 2 and The Descent!

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