Still reeling from the experience of sitting through SHARK NIGHT 3D, I felt it was time to immerse myself in something a little less CGI and more “old school.” I had read on article on the new film, CREATURE, in the latest FANGORIA while also enjoying a preview of it a few weeks back. This film has a limited release and played at only a few theaters in my native Chicagoland. Therefore, I was forced to forgo my favored big screen location in favor of a less savory one. In some ways, however, this added to the overall grindhouse feel of the film and I felt it actually enhanced the experience.
Like SHARK NIGHT 3D, the film deals with a group of college age kids headed for a vacation retreat in the swamplands of Louisiana. Note to self: Stay North of the Mason Dixon Line when seeking recreation. The young adventurers (a.k.a. victims) actually reminded me of a hillbilly version of The Scooby Gang, minus the talking dog. Unlike the loathsome SHARK NIGHT kids, however, I found this group quirky yet likeable. The gang makes the mistake of stopping off at a ramshackle, roadside store and encounter some of the less savory locals – most notably a man named “Chopper” played by the charismatic Sid Haig. Second note to self: If going to a rest stop you happen to see Sid Haig (in or out of a clown costume) turn around and hightail it the opposite direction!
Little shop of Southern-fried horrors!
Aside from pickled gator eggs and cold beer, the shop also has some rather unusual oddities for sale such as a cast of Bigfoot’s print and an old carnival flier featuring a half-man/half-alligator creature. This leads to the premise of the film; an inbred gator-man hunts the local swamps in search of its two-legged prey (there’s a lot more to the story but I’ll let you see that for yourself). The gang decides to follow a map, courtesy of Chopper, in search of an old house where the monster heralds from and thus begins the body count.
The film promises good old fashioned monster and gore FX and, I am happy to report, delivers on both counts! The SWAMP THING-like creature design might not make it the most inspired monster but, after years of CGI and Scy-Fy Channel bull crap, was enough to make me want to stand up in the theater and cheer! This film is NOT for kids and I noticed a few people in the theater spending a lot of time shielding their children’s eyes (while managing to keep their own square on the screen). Straight out of the gate there’s full female nudity (with close-ups) and plenty more eye-candy peppered throughout the movie. The beautiful yet eerie Cyprus swamps of Louisiana provide the perfect atmosphere for both the CREATURE and its grimy cast. You’ll definitely want to take a hot shower when you get home (after the female cast members have you taking a cold one).
I have to say I enjoyed this film and really liked that it was not only a throwback to vintage monster-making, but also those fun drive-in movies of the 70’s. I hope you’ll get a chance to see it on the big screen but, if its limited distribution makes this an impossibility, keep your eyes peeled for its home video release. Pick it up the day it comes out and save it for the weekend. Do as I did and treat yourself to a nice new monster movie on a Saturday night!