Saturday, September 1, 2012
The year was 1990. I was thirteen years old and sat down in Gröna Ladan (The Green Barn) in Sigtuna, the oldest town in
- where I lived with my mother and her husband - excited to see Gremlins 2: The
New Batch. It's still one of the best experiences I've had in a cinema, with a
roaring enthusiastic crowd of young teens. I was a movie geek already at the
time and I knew that the movie had one instances where it's suppose to break
(the video version had a similar thing later on - I wonder if the DVD has the
cinema version?) and when it happen and the kids around me went furious I just
smiled to myself, because I had the knowledge. I wanted to see similar movies
and found Critters on tape - and also Critters 2. I saw them and forgot about
them... some years later I watched part 2 and 4 and forgot about them. So why
the hell should I watch them again? Obviously they didn't stay in my mind for
that long. I blame Swedish director Ola Paulakoski, probably the biggest
monster fan I know. Ten years ago I wrote
a short script for him and five years later I rewrote it to feature
length script. Every since I started with this project he's been talking about
Critters and Critters 2 - so today I took the train to town, went to the
Science Fiction Bookstore (amazing place by the way) and bought myself The
Critters Collection, part 1-4. Jesus wept. Sweden
Somewhere in the distance universe a gang of eight Crites escapes from a prison planet (or what the hell it is!). They steal a ship and heads for planet earth and crashes out in redneck-farmville somewhere. Soon they start chewing their way through cows and one or two poor humans, but they're meeting opposition in the form of a hard-working farm-family and their slightly retarded farmhand. Oh, and there's two intergalactic bounty hunters out to get them also, like in every sci-fi flick from the eighties!
I still, to be honest, feels a bit unsure if Critters is a good creature feature or not. I agree that the direction and production values is very nice, very good-looking and classy. What it misses is the anarchy of Gremlins and it's sequel. Those was also aimed at a quite young audience, but like every movie by Joe Dante they also dared to go a bit further, beyond that almost religious correctness when it comes to violence, sexual tension and scary scenes. I'm sure New Line Cinema wanted something even broader, something more safe at the box office. And yes, it was cheap - costed aprox. two million dollars and earned back thirteen millions in US cinemas - and probably a fuckload more from home video and foreign sales. Good business for good old New Line Cinema.
I know he's nothing in this movie, Billy Zane, but he's spot-on performance as a spoiled - but nice - city boy is the acting highlight (well, except the always reliable Dee Wallace - in a very underwritten, boring part, and M. Emmet Walsh, who's brilliant as usual). It can because I have a crush on Billy Zane and I adore him even when he slums in the crappiest of crap-movies, but that's another story to be told in my future memoirs.
But what's good about Critters? Except that it's way to soft on both horror, monsters and mayhem, it looks great and it's at least never boring. The creature effects is well-done and they're not bad monsters at all - but they could need more blood! I wasn't bored, which is a good sign - but I glanced at the Facebook and Twitter updates once or twice to much, which means the story didn't caught my attention as much as it should have done. I'm gonna give Critters 2: The Main Course a spin sooner or later - and maybe even part 3 and 4 just for the hell of it.
Wattya say, buddies?