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]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Assault of the Sasquatch (2009)
This was the final movie of October's Netflix Bad Movie Night, which usually means for the East Coasters like me, it's a struggle to stay awake. I was ready this time though, unlike the last time when I fell asleep for the exceptional Dance of the Dead, I had hit some coffee, and there was no early Arsenal game that morning, so I had been able to sleep in. The question is, would this one be worth it?
Assault of the Sasquatch takes place in some part of Connecticut, near New Haven maybe, where some park rangers catch some poachers in a nearby state park. The only one alive is an old dude with a snakeskin eye patch standing next to a big, bloody, moving truck or something. The rangers, without looking in the back, haul it to the city, to a police precinct that's about to be shut down and is only working on a skeleton crew. What the intelligent rangers who didn't check the back of the truck brought into the city with them was a Sasquatch that Patches the Poacher had just caught. Now Sassy is pissed, and he's taking it out on everyone.
This one could've been really sweet, but as one of my fellow bad movie tweeters said "this is more like the slight inconvenience of the Sasquatch". Yes, eventually, things do get real, and Sassy gets pissed, and people die some brutal deaths, but in the meantime, we're treated to some bad backstory and character development, especially with one of the rangers and his daughter, and how his wife was killed in a home invasion, and how the two of them are dealing with that. Listen: unless it's a flashback to a character having a traumatic Sasquatch experience, I don't care, and I don't want to hear it. Give me Sassy either killing people or in humorous situations-- which this movie did almost zero of the latter-- and save the backstory for your Lifetime Movie of the Week. Also, a lot of the action is marred by bad cinematography that I'm assuming was used to obscure our vision from seeing some lackluster special effects. Please, I'd rather see the bad special effects than see crap I can't make out because it's too all over the place. While this movie had its moments, ultimately, it's a no go.
Sasquatch in this looked like a cross between the Predator and Ron Pearlman, and, to be honest, I was good with that. Why shouldn't Sasquatch be played by a tall man in a suit? One of the things this movie didn't do that it should have was more Sasquatch character development. I could care less about some ranger and his daughter, but Sasquatch, he's a guy I could learn a little more about. What was his childhood like? Do Sasquatches have a similar child rearing period to humans, or is it slightly shorter, like chimps, meaning, did Sassy have a tumultuous adolescent period? What kind of community do Sasquatches live in? Is it like a tribe? Christ, how many vampire movies do we see where the writer takes up an inordinate amount of time telling us his or her vampire rules (often with the classic "what do you think this is, the movies?" joke included)? Would it be that hard for a Sasquatch movie to take ten minutes and give us a little backstory?
There were these two geeky, obnoxious characters in the film that were like Sasquatch chasers or something. Some people of my fellow bad movie people enjoyed them, but I didn't, I was annoyed, especially with the fat one with the weird hairdo. He had this grating high-pitched voice, which made him difficult to handle. When Sasquatch put hit fist through the guy's head, I was relieved, only to find the guy was brought back for some odd coda before the credits. I don't know, other than when played by comedian John Pinette, I don't get the fat guy with high-pitched voice character.
I should take a moment here to tell you what my perfect Assault of the Sasquatch movie would be. I think where I'd diverge from this one right off is in my Sasquatch character. He'd be more human, have a family, have flashbacks. I think I'd keep the shower scene (there's a scene where Sasquatch stalks a woman in her house while she's taking a shower), but I think I might have her come out of the shower to find him cooking himself something to eat, and maybe, after she sees him and goes to scream, he knocks her out, ties her up, etc., and this turns into a Stockholm Syndrome/benevolent fugitive hiding out Romantic Comedy, where the girl falls in love with him after resenting him for holding her prisoner, because she learns that the world outside wants to kill him. Sassy, of course, wants none of this, and is confused by the whole Romantic Comedy construct. At the same time, poachers and the authorities are on his back, and that's where the great brutal killings come in. In the end, our hero Sassy is subdued, not by the authorities or poachers, but by a talent agent, who books him in beef jerky commercials.
As an undergrad student studying Anthropology, I went to the annual American Anthropological Association meetings in San Francisco (a beautiful city, one you should visit at least once in your life), and I went to a panel on anthropologists in the media because one of the professors had the same last name as me (he was at Ohio State at that time, so anyone out there who went to The Ohio State University in 2000, remember a Professor Poirier in anthropology?). Anyway, he described his trip to Unsolved Mysteries, where they asked for his expertise to discuss the Sasquatch. He said he went out to LA, brought tons of evidence to refute the possible existence of Sasquatch, wasn't compensated, and when the show aired, found all of the stuff he said about how Sasquatch didn't exist didn't make it into the final cut.
But he can still exist in our hearts and imaginations if we want him to, the problem is, in Assault of the Sasquatch, while he kicks some ass, he doesn't get enough chance to kick enough, and the film suffers for that. Here's a note to all future film makers that are thinking about doing a Sasquatch flick: we don't care about the lives of the other characters unless it's Sasquatch related; focus on the hero, Sassy, and everything else will work. Am I the only one with a strong craving for beef jerky?
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1251368/