APRIL 28, 2010
As it turns out, Shriek Of The Mutilated was not an ideal candidate for HMADLiveTweeting (though it didn’t stop me from once again hitting a posting limit). Not that it was a good movie or anything, and everyone seemed to be having a good time playing along (I think we had a record high for participants!), but it was so goddamn TALKY that I had to re-watch most of the movie again later so I could write a feasible review. I honestly had no idea what the hell was going on for the final 20 minutes, and even a second viewing didn’t explain why the movie takes a detour into the very troubled marriage of a pair of alcoholics.
I also probably would have been able to see the “twist” coming a lot earlier if a few key lines didn’t pass me by, like that the group was treated to the same strange dish that our hero was given by his professor the night before. And if I wasn’t laughing so hard and writing “HOLY FUCKING SHIT”, maybe I would have used my noggin and figured out that the Yeti looked so much like a guy in a dog suit because it WAS a guy in a dog suit per the movie’s plot.
In what could almost be considered a meta-joke on other Bigfoot movies (even though it’s older than most of them - oh well), the real villains of the film are a cult of cannibals who use the legend of a Yeti to lure people in, because if movies have taught us anything, it’s that a legendary monster in the woods will always result in groups of hopeful scientists, fortune seekers, etc traveling to the area to find/capture/whatever him. And when they disappear (read: get eaten by hippie cannibals, some of whom wear generic Native American headdresses for some reason), it can be blamed on the Yeti. It’s actually a pretty awesome plot. And in the same vein, the requisite local who warns the folks about “going up there” is sort of resigned to never being listened to. He basically says something like “I always tell kids like you not to go, but you always do, and regret it. (sigh).” It’s like the movie is a response to a whole bunch of films that hadn’t been made yet.
Sadly, it’s largely wasted on a very clunky production. For starters, the film’s editor is apparently some sort of insane person, as he often cuts away from things before they really register, or from responses (someone will ask how another character is doing and we’ll cut away before we hear the answer), or cuts TO things for no reason, like a shot of a faucet after the aforementioned marital “spat” (they kill each other over a beer). Also, for every attack, we merely HEAR (at length) about a few others. There are at least three scenes in the movie where a character will drone on and on about something that sounds pretty exciting and eventful, but we have to settle for quick “Yeti” attacks and a batshit finale where our hero is attacked with forks. As I commented on the live-tweet, this is the rare film where the prequel could actually be a more compelling and exciting movie.
But it certainly works as a laughable “crowd” movie, and I can guarantee it would be a legendary screening at the New Beverly on par with Pieces or Raw Force. We have the hero who makes out with his girlfriend at the drop of a hat, a guy singing a song about Yetis, a mute Indian slave who spends the entire movie shirtless, a Janine-from-Ghostbusters-esque hipster sleeping with her giant glasses on, and lots of unmotivated angry outbursts, like when the hipster offers one guy a drink and he furiously pours it out before going off to hunt so that they didn’t have to eat “bear pie” (which, for the record, I would eat in a heartbeat). And again, the Yeti is a guy in what appears to be what they’d use for the Shaggy Dog to appear at kid’s birthday parties or something - it looks ridiculous even when you already know it’s SUPPOSED to be fake.
I also enjoyed the schizophrenic score, which mixed classical music, bombast that didn’t quite match the visual (they play these majestic, sweeping strings over the dinkiest and ugliest waterfall I’ve ever seen), and, in some versions (not mine, sadly - damn rights issues!), Hot Butter’s awesome “Popcorn”.
So it’s kind of weird. On one hand, I don’t like that a cool plot was “wasted” on such a clunky movie. On the other, it’s a riot; the best MST3k movie that they never watched. I’m so torn!
What say you?