The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at] I'd love to check out what you got.



Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

First and foremost, it appears a dubious site has claimed the old url, meaning any link in any review that goes to the old mattmovieguy url is corrupt. I'm in the process of trying to remove them all, but it's a lot! It's best not to click on any link without hovering over it first to make sure it doesn't have mattmovieguy in the url.

Second, it appears since my last trip to the blog, Photobucket has decided to charge for third party hosting, meaning none of my images are appearing anymore. That's simply an aesthetic issue, but still annoying.

Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.


Sunday, May 6, 2007

Octopus 2: River of Fear (2001)

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I'm a huge fan of the octopus. As a young boy, I remember one of my dad's bachelor friends telling a story of a woman he encountered who had an octopus tattooed across her back. Even at my immature age, I wanted to marry her.

And it's this love of the octopus that I brought with me into Octopus 2: River of Fear. Here's what happens: people turn up dead in New York harbor, and Nick, the marine biologist or something, suspects the worst: a giant octopus. Most won't believe him, but he has a few converts, and they are able to blow the thing up (twice, for some reason) before the Fourth of July celebrations.

A friend of mine who worked at a lab that studied marine life told me how her fish were being eaten by something after the last assistant went home at the end of the night. They tried to stay later, or at different times, to try and catch whatever it was, but they still couldn't figure it out. So they set up a camera, and found the octopus they had would leave his tank after the lights went out, sneak into the other tanks, eat all the fish he could, then be back in before the lights were on again. Octopuses are smart.

And this is true for this movie too. The octopus attacks a fishing ship, and sets a bomb on board. At least, I'm assuming he did, because there was no other explanation for the ship exploding. What frustrated me was how he went from being a criminal mastermind, to Grimace trying to steal milkshakes in the old McDonaldland commercials. There's a scene where a guy has a dream that the octopus is attacking a toy of the Statue of Liberty. They should've had the octopus take over the landmark for real, hold the tourists hostage, and threaten to release a dangerous gas that's held in green balls. Then Nichlolas Cage and Sean Connery could infiltrate the Statue and rescue the people. Maybe we'd call it The Rock 2: Octopus 2: River of Fear. Just a thought.

Another great facet of this gem is the use of footage from the Sly Stallone vehicle Daylight. I'm not kidding. I guess looking at it objectively, it's a better use of that film than actually watching it. I may use footage from Cliffhanger for my next action film that takes place in the woods. My buddy's actually using shots from Demolition Man for his post-apocalyptic futuristic thriller, Space Mutiny 2.

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This brings me to what's interesting about this film: the director seems to be going for some Ed Wood effect. He filmed it in Sofia, Bulgaria ("Let's make a giant [octopus] movie in Bulgaria, but set it in New York!";, yet used plenty of NYC stock footage. It's worse than saying he wasn't fooling anyone: he wasn't trying. The octopus itself is another example. The thing isn't CGI, which is the way most other movie makers in this genre are going. He decided instead to use this big rubbery thing, a la Bride of the Monster.

That leaves me with an interesting conundrum here when it comes to my recommendation. This movie is difficult to mock if everyone at the party knows it's supposed to be bad. On the other hand, this movie isn't as good as say Bad Taste when it comes to bad, camp horror. I mean honestly, I'm not sure it's that great an ode to Ed Wood. As such, I can only recommend giving this a shot if you're with some friends, killing a couple hours, and you see this on Sci-fi. Don't rent this, and don't buy it unless you see it for like $.50. It's just not exactly worth your time, even for an octopus guy like me.

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