MAY 11, 2009
Today’s review owes its existence to Simon Barrett. After recording the 2nd commentary for our Horror People, Dear Reader video podcast, we began to toss out ideas for the next film. I handed him my budget packs, since 99% of the movies on them are in the public domain. It didn’t take long for him to zero in on a title: Suburban Sasquatch. He more or less demanded that it be our next film, and I decided to watch it the next day (today) - Simon likes to go in blind for these things, but I like a little familiarity.
And man oh man, I’m glad I did, because watching this movie once will simply not be enough. It just ended and I already want to watch it again. Not that it’s good in the traditional sense, heavens no. Its inept on every level, glacially paced, and features an endless array of visual effects that are as terrible as they are unnecessary (for example, the CGI net seen below - because simply obtaining a real net would be too much of a bother).
So why would I want to watch it again? You only need to take a look at the clip below for at least three examples (sadly, that cute and hilarious host girl is not in the film). How would anyone ever tire of watching a guy in a gorilla suit wave his arms around, making a sound that sounds suspiciously like a .WAV from Yar’s Revenge crossed with a guy going "RAWR RAWR RAWR!", as helpless victims act scared (or at least, mildly inconvenienced) as their CGI limbs fly through the air, breaking all laws of motion in the process? Shit, I could easily watch this movie all day.
What makes this movie so amazing is how sincerely it seems to be told. I don’t QUITE get the idea that the filmmakers or actors knew that they were making the least professional movie of all time. I can be sure that they know they’re not going to rival King Kong (or even King Kong Lives), but it’s also missing that winking feeling that you get from movies like Die You Zombie Bastards. It’s more or less played straight, limitations of budget, talent, and resources be damned.
You can sense the trouble right from the start, as a pair of vacationers drive around 8 miles an hour on a backwoods road. At least six times during this sequence, we cut to a shot of Suburban Sasquatch watching them drive past him. Either he is running ahead and finding a new hiding spot from which to observe them, or the director wasn’t really thinking (later we discover that Suburban Sasquatch actually does have the power of teleportation, but whether this is explained I’m not sure, as I missed a few plot points here and there while running over to my PC to tell people how much they had to see this movie). Finally, Suburban Sasquatch appears in front of the car, where he proceeds to do his arm waving/limb flying thing (this is one of the attacks seen on the clip below).
From this epic attack we cut to a cute mystical girl who has a spirit guide and a pretty nice looking bow and arrow. She is, of course, one with nature and everything (we know this because a CGI bird follows her around), and thusknows how to stop Suburban Sasquatch. So she sets off on her quest, and then the two worst cops in movie history show up, saying things like “We gotta tell their parents!” as if they just realized that that was part of their job. They are the only two cops we ever see, even though one of them frequently alludes to a police coverup for Suburban Sasquatch.
The rest of the movie plays out identically. There’s a murder, the mystical chick (and our “hero”, a reporter for the local, presumably free newspaper, who is also hands down the worst actor in the movie) runs around with her bow and arrow, and then the cops discuss one or both events. It’s very cyclical, but I sort of liked that, because I knew when to pay less attention (the cops), and when to eschew all distractions so that I could focus (the scenes where Suburban Sasquatch kills some folks).
Really, I think director Dave Wascavage went out of his way to find the shittiest actors possible (I also entertained the notion that perhaps he was the world's most ambitious 7 or 8 year old child, but he appears in the film as "Dave", who is quite obviously a grown man). Not a single one of them gives what could even be considered an acceptably OK performance, and just when you think they can’t get any worse, they inevitably do. Wascavage's own mother plays the hero’s grandmother, and even though the role requires nothing of her but to do grandmotherly type things (i.e. welcome her grandson into her home and tell him she loves him), she can’t quite pull it off. But the hero guy is the worst. He reads every single one of his lines from a note or something in his hand, has no desire to actually react to anything, and begins the movie almost entirely nude. Now, I only bring that up because, as luck wouldn’t have it, this is so far the only Decrepit Crypt film that doesn’t have any female nudity. For the most part, this is not a complaint (the mystical girl is pretty cute, that’s about it), just an observation.
But the CGI in this movie, Jesus Christ. It's not that it's bad (and it is), but that most of it seems wholly unnecessary. I already mentioned the CGI net, and that's just one of the many "why did they bother" visual effects that were seemingly and needlessly rendered with a stolen copy of After Effects. The saddest has to be the hilariously terrible attempt to make Suburban Sasquatch look taller by simply extending his legs with the video version of Photoshop’s Clone Stamp. Needless to say, the effect doesn’t work even slightly, and half the time Wascavage forgets to use it anyway. There’s even CGI that has no effect on anything - at one point Suburban Sasquatch has one of the two cops in his grasp, and the cop holds his gun to Suburban Sasquatch’s head. He then says “Say goodbye!” or whatever, and instead of shooting it in the head, he fires at a “nearby” gas tank (I say “nearby” because it never appears in a shot with a character, so I have no idea where it is in relation to them). He actually fires three times before it finally explodes (and by explodes I mean an After Effects filter is placed in the shot), which sends both cop and Suburban Sasquatch flying, but neither of them sustain any significant injuries. So why bother at all? Who knows, but it provided another laugh.
And in the end, that is all that matters. I laughed out lout at least a dozen times during this movie, and was wide eyed and grinning for the rest. All of this amateur nonsense blended together in a uniquely perfect way that allowed me to not merely ignore, but actually EMBRACE how utterly inept it was. It’s not like I turn on a movie called Suburban Sasquatch and expect anything good out of it, so for Wascavage to deliver a film that went so far into the opposite direction was a wonderful surprise.
I understand that the film is available in a 6 pack called Depraved Degenerates (same company behind my copy). I assume that one at least has chapter breaks, as this film does not (and when it’s over, the next film on the disc, which happens to be Scream Bloody Murder, just starts to play on its own), and is of slightly better quality as it likely is not on the same side of a disc with 3 other movies. But however you find it, I can guarantee entertainment. I can also guarantee it will be the only movie you ever see that contains this following bit of heroically stupid dialogue:
“This could get one of us killed... I don’t know if I could live with that.”
Bless you, Dave Wascavage. Bless you.
What say you?