Monstro! comes to DVD

Tuesday, 23 October 2012 09:22

Monstro! Out now on DVDSometimes a movie’s tagline says it all and makes a reviewer’s life simple. “Monstro!” aka “El Monstro Del Mar!” is one such film, and its pithy pitch is ‘Killer vixens vs the creature from the deep’. The buxom sirens are Snowball (Kate Watts), Beretta (Nelli Scarlet) and Blondie (Karli Madden), and they are very bad girls. They do hard drugs, drink heavily and delight in murdering unsuspecting men lured to them like moths to a flame.

Having ensnared and executed a couple of blokes who pull over on the pretence of offering the women some automotive assistance, the trio then make their way to a small Australian village on the coast. They are warned by an old man (Norman Yemm – Neighbours, Prisoner Cell Block H) to stay out of the water, but of course they do not listen and as a result a giant, many-tentacled and rather hungry beast is awoken from its slumber.

You cannot accuse “Monstro!” of a lack of ambition despite its tiny budget. The film apes the structure of “From Dusk Till Dawn” in the sense that the first half is a mini crime-spree, and the second is a battle against the raging sea creature (as opposed to vampires). The two halves slot together fairly well, partly because the vixens are larger than life. They are one-dimensional in character but definitely three-dimensional in terms of their curvy figures, and the 1970s exploitation-cinema style of the film goes out of its way to display those curves at every possible opportunity, without actually including nudity.

The slender plot is given a bit more depth thanks to the inclusion of Hannah (Kyrie Capri), the old man’s grand daughter who - until the killers arrive - has led a very sheltered and innocent existence. Their corrupting influence triggers quite a change in Hannah.

Directed by Stuart Simpson, the film uses exaggerated contrast and vivid colours to create visuals reminiscent of a graphic novel, with deep blacks and a blinding white sky. The picture often lacks detail as a result, but it also helps to sell the economic special effects which are actually quite impressive. Both the copious gore and the kraken-like behemoth are executed with aplomb, the latter mainly through the use of props and animatronics rather than CGI to make it look real rather than added in later.

The acting will not win any Oscars, the editing is occasionally a bit ropey and you can tell they could have done with a few more takes to get the dialog delivery slicker. On the other hand, a film about slutty murderers and a giant squid thing is never going to stretch an actor!

I found myself quite enjoying the movie but I do wish they had injected a bit more variety in the humour, as bitchiness and toothy tentacles attaching themselves to people’s faces only gets you so far.

The film comes with an impressive list of extras including:

  • Two Feature-Length Audio Commentaries
  • Cast Interviews
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
  • Trailer
  • Short Film – “Acid Spiders”
  • Short Film – “Sickie”

 

The commentaries unfortunately suffer from poor sound balance; the film’s soundtrack has not been turned down sufficiently to make it easy to hear the speakers, and it seems like they only had one microphone so some of the contributors appear to be sitting at the back of the room.

The two entertaining short films are in the same gory, sci-fi/horror vein as the main feature, and show Simpson has real potential if given a bigger budget. His work resembles that of the early pictures by Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi, definitely making him a director to look out for in the future.

“Monstro!” (2010) is out now, courtesy of Monster Pictures. The film has a running time of 75 minutes approx, carries an ‘18’ certificate and retails for £12.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Tuesday, 23 October 2012 09:26

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