THE STRANGENESS (1985)
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You know when the only thing really recommendable about a film is it’s cheesy stop-motion animated monster, that looks like a green penis with a vagina on it’s tip, you’ve got trouble. In a plot reminiscent of the 1981 The Boogens, a group of people are going into an abandoned mine to determine if it should be re-opened again. The mine was initially closed for decades because of a number of disappearances and deaths and the local Native Americans also say there is a creature there who is not happy about the intrusion of the white man on sacred land. If that is not a recipe for a cheesy horror movie, I don’t know what is, so…add a group of explorers/victims and off we go!
Despite a premise ripe for cheesy entertainment, this flick is very slow moving and dull with very little actual monster action. It was directed, co-produced and co-written by Melanie Anne Phillips under the male pseudonym of David Michael Hillman and she directs with a very leaden hand. The pace is lethargic and the actors either perform with a complete deadpan delivery or over-the-top yelling and eye-rolling. Very little middle ground performance-wise. If the dialog by Phillips and co-writer/co-producer Chris Huntley wasn’t so dreadfully awful, we might actually enjoy their bad thesbian-ship. The actors are all unknowns and it appears they stayed that way and for good reason. On a technical side, the production looks cheap though, a lot was shot on dark mine sets, so they get away with it. There is some limited and phony looking gore as our creature seems to coat it’s victims in some sort of corrosive liquid and the stop-motion animation of the sex organ-looking critter is decent at best. Being a sucker for old fashioned stop-motion animation though, I still thought it was kinda cool. The film does have a very 80s electronic score, too. Some of it is lawsuit-worthy close to segments of John Carpenter’s Escape From New York score.
Overall, there isn’t too much to recommend about this flick other than a curiosity watch. I’ve never even heard of it till recently and it looks like exactly what it appears to be, a horror flick put together by people who wanted to be filmmakers. And while I always champion the amateur filmmaker, it doesn’t seem like a big surprise that they went on to other things. A curiosity and a rarity, but don’t expect much unless animated monsters resembling human genitalia is your bag, baby!
2 cheesy stop-motion hybrid penis/vagina creatures.
Couldn’t find a trailer but, how about the whole movie!…