Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Deadly Spawn (1983)

You just don't see films like this anymore. And that's a damn shame.

I've seen quite a few articles covering this movie for over 20 years, yet hadn't see it before last night. Which is surprising, considering the cult status of this film. So you can imagine how excited I was for my first viewing to be a 35mm print on the big screen.

But within a few moments of the film's start, I started to feel a bit cheated. Two monster attacks and no gore except for the splash of blood thrown from off camera. By the time the father was attacked in the world's leakiest basement (seriously, that house should be condemned), I'd given up any hope on the film.

Then Mom went in the basement and the monster chewed her face off in a stunning effect moment. And things looked brighter.

This film is VERY low budget. The miniature buildings look worse than most model railroad houses, the acting is awful at times and the script is padded in spots. But the gore effects are great and surprisingly plentiful, the baby monsters look very good and the main monster is beautifully done. And the film exudes a charm that makes you overlook it's shortcomings. Add in an unexpected death, some really nice attacks by the baby monsters and a fabulous closing shot (oh, bad miniature house, your presence is forgiven), and you've got a great, cheesy time at the movies.

An added benefit was the print itself. Lots of pops and scratches, color consistency changes between reels and a frame that looks like the film was shot on 16mm and blown up added to the movie's charm. It was as if the film was passed around from theater to theater, dragged through the back alleys of Portland. A very nice touch, though probably unintended.

A real crowd pleaser for everyone involved. Thanks, BAM, for bringing it to the big screen.

Tonight (Sat, 2/20) is The Human Centipede at Cinema 21. The showing starts at 10:45 pm (Damn you, work, for making me miss this one). Maybe I'll see you at Trick or Treat, Monday at the Mission Theater.

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