(Welcome to DTV Descent, a series that explores the weird and wild world of direct-to-video sequels to theatrically released movies. This week’s journey can be blamed on the new movie Crawl which left me with a hankering for more alligator fun.)
This past weekend saw the wide-release arrival of a creature feature, and we’re all better off for it. All. Of. Us. They’re good fun and a nice break for horror fans from the ghost stories that typically make it to theaters. Crawl is a killer alligator flick, and a pretty great one at that, but while it’s the latest it’s far from the first.
Sergio Martino’s The Great Alligator (1979) probably has that honor, but it’s 1980’s Alligator that set a high bar for gator fun. It’s one of the best stabs at piggy-backing on the Jaws (1975) formula, and as is befitting of its greatness the film earned a sequel. Unfortunately, but necessarily for the purpose of this column, Alligator II: The Mutation went straight to DVD.
Did it deserve a better fate, or does it belong in the sewers? Keep reading as this week’s descent into the world of direct-to-video sequels pits a modern-day dinosaur against Joseph Bologna.
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It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies, sans New Moon, that offer proof. Weekend Weirdness takes a look at such films, whether it’s via a new trailer for a provocative indie, a mini-review, or news of an excavated cult classic. The works discussed herein tend to make cinema a little more interesting, and in the best cases do the same for life or at least a blown weekend.
The year, 2009, delivered a number of knockout documentaries that were better made and more meditative than their premises let on. For over a year, The Rock-afire Explosion has popped-and-fizzled on my radar, until a screener finally arrived in the mail last week underneath a hate letter from my ex, Sallie Mae. Pop Candy’s Whitney Matheson—a cool guest on the /Filmcast—also received one, a screener that is, and she promptly called Rock-afire the best film of the year for a documentary or otherwise. I wouldn’t go that far, but Rock-afire Explosion makes for true-life entertainment every bit as tasty as a slice and a cold beer to a divorced, thankless, balding dad tolerating a Showbiz Pizza in the late ’80s. In other words, this isn’t some Chuck E. Cheese shit.
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This summer, /Film considered traveling to the set of Piranha 3-D. Witnessing unlikely co-stars Richard Dreyfuss, Christopher Lloyd, Adam Scott, and completely naked bimbos battling (or getting devoured by) killer fish at the command of horror director Alex Aja is what the season is all about, no? Alas, it wasn’t meant be to be. The STD-insurance alone in the spring break hotspot of Lake Havasu, Arizona—where the film is shooting and set—is friggin’ outrageous. After informing us that we were not worthy, Piranha 3-D co-star and Human Giant comedian, Paul Scheer, offered up lots of funny, obscene and insane deets about next March’s horror flick. He also sent over this exclusive photo of his morally bankrupt character.
At times, our conversation went off the record into darker territory—a la shark viscera spilling onto a pier—but much is said below about a production that aspires to be the goriest and craziest 3-D movie ever. Paul discussed his role (it required method-acting and method-oogling), the precise amount of blood (a shit ton), Lake Havasu memories, and why Richard Dreyfuss’s sage character will seem, erm, pretty damn familiar. Chomp, chomp, chomp…
Hunter Stephenson: So Paul, I assume you wanted to do a broad family film and then you were offered Piranha 3-D. It was a matter of good timing, serendipitous.
Paul Scheer: [laughs] Yeah, well, I was trying to get Imagine That Too off the ground, where I become Eddie Murphy’s brother, and have my own adventure with my daughter. It was actually crazy, because when I first heard about this movie, it was like, “Elizabeth Shue is in Piranha 3-D, she’s awesome!” And then, you know, the title sounds cool and it sounds campy…
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Here at Slashfilm, if a holiday doesn’t go well with movies we just ignore it. Sometimes we’ll remain totally oblivious to a holiday. For others, we won’t even get out of bed, or we’ll just sip on a beer and pretend it’s Slashfilm Day, and it always is. You can’t make a movie party around a holiday for friggin’ trees, or Abraham Lincoln or the [cough] Irish (Far and Away party at your house! I’m Scottish). If a holiday is up to snuff, take Halloween and Christmas for instance, it will go well with a gang of great movies, friends, laffs and drinks. Ladies and Gentlemen, today, March 10th is the International Day of Awesomeness and we here at Slashfilm wholeheartedly endorse the f**ker!
IDA or, NAD (National Awesomeness Day) to jingos, obviously goes great with awesome movies, so we suggest you call up your awesome friends and celebrate awesomeness in film today (or any day. This piece is a little late. My Audi just exploded. Not awesome.) Don’t plan on going to work tomorrow, because you will be radiating awesome and other suspect smells. We’ve compiled a group of movies that are indeed very awesome, but we’ve made sure to take our well-versed awesome readership into account (hey there Sex Man and Billy Mitchell! See ya, Jerry Butler) and include some awesome films that you may have overlooked, as well as a few diehards (hello John Carpenter!).
So, what is awesomeness? The answer to that is awesome. And “awesome” is what so many philosophers, historians, scientists and even Buddha have overlooked in their vast search for the meaning of life. What makes a movie awesome is more complicated.
An awesome movie usually has an intense, direct and quite populist connection between the director and the audience. This connection is comparable to urging a friend on in a pie-eating contest and basking in the glory when s/he wins the contest by 20 pies; except you’re essentially urging your friend (the director and stars) on after they have already succeeded. Make sense? If not, sense isn’t a qualifier for awesome anyhow. There is usually a certain madness and playful (but rarely ironic) awareness present in an awesome film. There is also usually a gung-ho spirit in an awesome film that can be mistaken for the elusive spirit of the geek-jock. Awesome movies are not “movies for guys who like movies” but the latter type of movies can be awesome (Predator, Dirty Harry, Joysticks).
Like porn and Rip Taylor, you know an awesome movie when you see it. What are we telling you for anyhow? Here are some awesome movies in no particular order. Feel free to expose your awesome Slashfilm peers, including Peter and me, to more awesome films in the comments below. Happy IDA/NAD everyone!
Update (2:30 a.m. EST): I will be updating this article with awesome movies for the rest of the day/night/ummm week!
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