Movie Review: Monsturd (2003)

Creature Feature, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews

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If you’re the type of person, who, like me watches Kevin Smith’s Dogma (1999) and wishes there was an entire movie about the iconic Golgothan shit demon, then Monsturd is the movie for you, as the villainous Shitman (that’s actually the monsters name here) is without a doubt the spiritual cousin to Smith’s classic turd.  Now, to enjoy Monsturd, you must be the type of person who finds a title like that alluring; killer poop monster flicks aren’t for everyone, but that’s because the world isn’t ready to handle such fecal genius quite yet.

Written and directed by Dan West and Rick Popko, this was born out of impatience towards the studio system that wasn’t taking a chance on them. One of their previous screenplays was bought by Francis Ford Coppola’s Commercial Pictures way back in the late 80’s, but despite making a couple of bucks off of selling the script it was never produced, so they kept on plugging away until they’d had enough.  After watching Christmas classic, Jack Frost (1996), and realizing that studios would produce killer snowman flicks, they were acted out by writing a movie about poop, with the intention of sending it to every studio as a massive ”F U.”  But in the end, they just decided to go with a DIY approach and the results are a politically incorrect, yucky and hilarious trash epic that delivers the goods we want from movies like this.

Monsturd might be about man-sized mutated excrement, but it’s anything but shit – except in the literal sense of its villain.  It’s about the serial killer Jack Schmidt, who escapes from prison and hides out in the sewers.  Little does he know that the sewer is polluted with a chemical concocted by the evil mad scientist, Dr. Stern, whose Detech company have dumped it there as part of their dastardly experiment.  When confronted by cops, Jack falls into the waste, only to transform into a monster who preys on hapless victims through their toilets.  With the towns biggest chili contest of the year coming up, it’s up to the police to stop him before the entire population are sitting ducks to the homicidal dookie.

While placing much of its humour in the toilet bowl where it belongs, the funniest thing about Monsturd is how the actors play it all straight faced. Take the little girl who informs her father that there’s a giant doodoo in the bathroom saying naughty words, only to have him go check it out just to shut her up and end up devoured as a result.  Later when the police take the girls statement, they draw up a sketch of their stinky culprit and make put it atop their most wanted list.  Or, take the scene where the cops drive around pleading with citizens to crap in buckets because their lives are in danger if they use their toilets.  Instead of relying primarily on gross out gags, Monsturd makes an effort to create funny characters going through the motions of a murder investigation.  It’s full of hilarious character interactions and plenty of moments that elevate it from the pan; but that’s not to say it doesn’t have its fair share of vomit, poop and blood either.  It just doesn’t rely on it.

The Monsturd – or The Shitman as it likes to call itself – looks fantastic. Taking the old school approach of man-in-rubber-suit, it gives the movie an 80’s charm.  The monsters weaknesses are that of actual poo; to hurt the monster, treat it as you would any regular, everyday deuce.  Flies damage Shitman, and in this world, you can keep them locked in pet cages with holes in them.  Be sure to stack up on toilet paper as well to combat this threat; equip your head with diapers just in case things get ugly; be sure to load up on dissolving spray as if it were bullets, and, to lure the the beast towards you, make fart noises.  Common sense.  Duh.

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The whole movie is actually much better than you’d expect; for a start it looks as good – if not better – than most micro-budget features.  On paper it might sound like a Troma movie, but it looks much better than all of them. The filmmakers also make use of great locations, like a prison for example, where they shot footage on the sly during a tour.  All of the FX are impressive and satisfying, and in those regards, it’s full of surprises. All in all, it’s a more than passable creature feature loaded with fun, charm and excrement.

Monsturd is a nugget of gold in the endless swarm of trashy independent horror movies; it might be a big doddle of crap, but it’s crap with enough sweetcorn jammed in it to make for a satisfying meal.  Much better than any assumptions would expect and unlike anything you’re ever likely to see again, this is number 2 plays second fiddle to no one and isn’t likely going to be one you’ll want to flush away after seeing it.  Ignore my awful puns and pick this up.  Monsturd is the Citizen Kane of killer poop epics.  7/10

Written & Directed By:

Dan West & Rick Popko

Starring:

Paul Weiner, Beth West, Dan Burr, Brad Dosland

Genre:

Comedy Horror

Running Time:

80 mins

Movie Review: Bad Milo (2013)

Creature Feature, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews

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We’ve all dreamed of killing our horrible bosses, colleagues and peers; but we’d never actually go through with it, would we?  Bad Milo meshes the repressed male murder fantasy with the small creature feature caper to create a funny, gory and oddly touching horror comedy about the fears and frustrations of everyday life and transition to fatherhood – manifested through the little monster who lives in his butt.

Duncan is an average guy who works at an average office job. One day he starts to get pains in his stomach whenever he’s feeling stressed and things get worse every time he tries to bury it inside. As the stress grows, it becomes a little creature living inside him, and it exits through his butt to kill everyone who causes him stress in his life, until one day it targets his wife and must be stopped.

At work, Duncan is pressured by his boss to lay off employees and do his dirty work; at home he’s pressured by his wife to start a family he isn’t quite ready for.  Once he loses his job when the company is audited by the FBI for shady practices, his stress levels are high and his little butt monster goes on a killing spree.  His therapist, played by the always excellent Peter Stormare, encourages Duncan to bond with Milo (the monster) and this is where the movie has a heart warming, adorable center.  When Milo isn’t killing, he’s a cute lovable little rascal who’ll make even the most ardent August Underground fan beam and say, ”AWWWW.”

Bad Milo is a lavish production with a known name cast including Patrick Warburton (Family Guy, Ted, Rules of Engagement), Gillian Jacobs (Community) and Ken Marino (Wet Hot American Summer) as the lead, Duncan.  If Frank Hennenlotter ever went mainstream then this might be the end result; while sporting a non-horror cast and higher budget than most creature features, it still delivers all the necessary requirements of gore, humour and chaos.

A smart, funny, deranged and heart warming creature feature that never takes itself seriously: Bad Milo is a great way to spend 90 minutes.  If you like laughs, practical effects and gore with a story that tugs at your heart strings, then see this immediately.  8/10 

Directed By:

Jacob Vaughn

Written By:

Jacob Vaughn & Benjamin Hayes

Starring:

Ken Marino, Gillian Jacobs, Peter Stormare, Patrick Warburton

Genre:

Comedy Horror

Running Time:

88 mins