Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bloody Nightmares #28: Suburban Sasquatch (2004)

I can't stay angry at a movie called Suburban Sasquatch, a title that happens to be significantly more inspired than anything that occurs in the actual film. Director/writer/actor/everything else Dave Wascavage obviously didn't mean for his mini-epic to be taken too seriously - the title is jokey, and there are some funny throwaway lines - but it's when the film attempts to get serious that it's at its most amusing. From the effects filled attack sequences (which all feature the same severed limbs and an array of computer-assisted effects that appear to have been created in of MS Paint) to the Native American love story subplot, this is a tremendously goofy movie. However, if you love cheap badness, or just enjoy sasquatch-related entertainment, you're definitely in the right place.

Rick Harlan (Bill Ushler) is a gawky doofus who dreams of being a reporter, a dream helped by having a contact in the police department who tips him off regarding a recent unexplained string of gruesome attacks. Unable to get much traction with his editor, Rick bumbles around until he bumps into the Native-American warrior Talla (the too-attractive-for-this-movie Sue Lynn Sanchez) who is on the hunt for the elusive Bigfoot, a (magical?) creature that apparently feeds off of fear, or anger, or something. The two have a rather combative relationship based on Rick almost getting himself killed, but it eventually blossoms into thoughts of love (or, at least kissing). The Sasquatch proceeds to kill (and - it's implied - rape) the townspeople in various messy ways, until the whole thing comes to a ridiculous head in Rick's grandmother's house. Magical arrows are involved.

I'm no stranger to the limitations of low-budget film-making. I've even dabbled in doing weak CG effects for a no-budget feature, so I feel confident in saying that Suburban Sasquatch likely has some of the weakest gore effects you're likely to see, but in being so bad they somehow end up being much more entertaining than if they had been done well. Arms are ripped off and an overlay of blood spray shoots out totally unconvincingly, terrible CG arrows embed into our titular (with an emphasis on tit - this is a well endowed Sasquatch) creature, and there's a memorable scene where our Bigfoot friend raises a police car over his head that.. well.. I can't rightfully describe why it's so amazing. A cut out of a low resolution picture of the car has obviously been placed over the monster, and it's just as awful as you're probably hoping.

These effects are certainly not helped by choppy editing during these sequences which will probably leave less tolerant viewers baffled by what they are seeing. Wescavage does a much better job during the dialogue scenes, though once again we have a film that suffers from weak sound recording - leaving a significant amount of what is being said totally incomprehensible. This is where I would normally mention that what is being said is pretty badly written in the first place, but there are a few nicely written scenes here - like the ones with the newspaper editor - which are ruined by technical issues. 

Further hampering things are the extremely wooden performances from the leads. Bill Ushler as Rick seems to be trying really hard, and throws his limbs around as a substitute for emoting, but his supposed passion for reporting rings really hollow, and the supposed sexual tension between him and Talla is really underdeveloped. Sue Lynn Sanchez as Talla is pretty unconvincing, though she at least does a good job of standing around and looking pretty. It's about what you would expect for a cast of obvious non-actors, though the choice for the police officers to hold their guns in their hands during the opening scenes was.. odd, to say the least. 

But let's talk a little bit about that Sasquatch. With the painted on abs and giant rack, it looks like a cast-off from a GWAR concert, meaning that it's pretty shabby at the best of times. For reasons I didn't quite grasp, Bigfoot has the ability to teleport from place to place and is nigh indestructible - Talla says only her magic arrows can hurt him, but even they are ineffective at doing anything but eliciting temporary streams of blood until the final scene. Still, I'd be disappointed if the suit was anything but totally awful, so thankfully this film delivers.

Suburban Sasquatch is available on the Bloody Nightmares collection from Pendulum Pictures, and is presented in perfectly watchable full-screen. I didn't notice many glitches, though admittedly the jumpiness of the actual film would tend to cover these things up, and since the movie was made almost entirely in daylight, the action is all watchable. There are a couple of day-for-night scenes that look awful, but considering how unwatchable the night scenes are in most of these low-budget productions, I wouldn't feel right complaining. Wascavage did all of the original music for the film, and since I can't remember it being awful, I suppose he did a reasonable job. Of course a movie like this could use a rocking theme song, but I guess that's just my taste.

No special features. No chapter stops. Would actually have liked to see some behind-the-scenes footage, as this must have been a riot to make.

Aside from the usual technical issues, you're getting exactly what you would expect from Suburban Sasquatch - comically awful effects, amateur-hour acting, and a plot that sort of just sputters to the 90 minute mark. Wascavage smartly packs his film full of Sasquatch attacks - a messy rampage against a group of hunters is hilarious - but obviously spread himself too thin, which had a significant effect on the overall quality of the production. Still, aside from some endless talky scenes, it's rarely boring and will keep fans of crap very amused. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I will wear your shit? (WHOLE?)