Metal Tornado (2011) [REVIEW] | Gold Joe approved

Let’s talk about the only movie like this that can actually claim it ISNT ripping off Sharkenado. Sure, it was released on DVD in various territories after Sharkenado proved to be an incredibly popular surprise hit, but it released two years prior and wasn’t even made by The Asylum, but from the fairly unknown Capital Productions, which otherwise did a dozen of TV movies about office & school thriller dramas, with Metal Tornado being their only disaster movie.

With a title like that, it does seem pointless to go over the plot, but we’ll do it anyway as pro-forma, i mean, it’s not quite trying to cash into the Asylum wheelhouse.

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Prey (2016) [REVIEW] | La-la-lion Goes To Amsterdam

Since that new movie about the killer lion with Idris Elba (simply called Beast) is coming out soon here too, let’s pick one of the currently available ones on Amazon Prime Video that fit into the subniche of killer lions flick, at least at the time of writing.

As in, i wanted to review Prey… the 2006 one, but since it’s not streaming there, the other killer lion flick from 2016 will do, and because originality it’s an ephemeral phantom, both movie are simply called “Prey”.

Not be confused with the new Predator movie.

Or the Netflix german horror thriller of the same name.

Or the two similar-yet-unrelated Prey games.

This is 2016’s Prey (since “Prooi” translates to that, also known as Violent Fierce Lion, so whatever, you can call your movie “Prey”, whatever), and it’s by dutch director Dick Maas, better known for Amsterdamned, the Flodder comedy series, but also behind the horror christmas movie Saint/Sint, and the often forgotten entry in the “killer elevator” subgenre with 1983’s The Lift, his debut film, which he actually remade with american actors in 2001 as Down/The Shaft.

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Giant Crocodile (2020) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs

One more recent chinese monster movie, why not? As i’ve said before, there’s plenty of these to be found online, and there’s a good number of killer crocodiles one too, i choose this because it’s the first i stumbled through on Youtube, and it’s web movie, dunno what it means exactly, aside from being another declination of “direct to video” in this age of streaming content.

Regardless, we all speak giant crocodile movie, especially if it’s a giant mutant crocodile.

After a rich guy’s daughter disappears while on a island that’s become an internet sensation for its “Purple Lake”, he assembles a group of mercs (lead by his other daughter) to search for her, only to find that there’s a lot of people around what’s supposedly an inhabited island, all conventiently there for their own reasons, from an enviromental scientist losing contact with her squad, a war reporter searching for his missing father, etc.

Sadly for the rich guy, he finds out that her daughter was eaten by a crocodile, so he wovs revenge against the beast, which turns out it’s a mutant crocodile that can turns invisible on the fly, and can also sling his tongue like a chameleon. At least this will give the leader of the mercs/second daughter of the rich man something to do aside pulling people by the hair in order to do anything.

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Megalodon Rising (2020) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs

As we extensively estabilished before, when it comes to shark movies The Asylum doesn’t even bother anymore to wait for a mainstream blockbuster release to mooch off… which i can’t really blame on them as those almost completely went extinct, with almost exclusively low to no budgets shark movies flooding the market every year.

And as usual, this is one of those they just kinda put out with no fanfare, to the point i knew this existed only because i happened to stumble upon its UK DVD release while browsing randomly on Amazon one late night.

I mean, more important stuff happened in 2020, but still, put 5 bucks into marketing!

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Lake Placid 2 (2007) [REVIEW] #sharksncroc

While Anaconda did manage to have its first sequel come out in theathers.. that luck wouldn’t spread to other reptilian based killer animal series, since after the 1999 original, we had to wait 8 years for the first of the many direct-to-video/made for TV sequels to appear, with Lake Placid 2.

All roads lead to strings of TV sequels for SciFi, after all.

And by now you should have a good understanding what that entails: the same basic plot with basically all the same characters but a completely different cast, and often a bugdet slashed in half, if the production it’s extremely lucky. IF.

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Dam Sharks (2016) [REVIEW] #sharksncroc

No, it’s not a typo that they eventually went with as the official title.

The sharks in question are “dam sharks” because they act like beavers and construct dams with wood and body parts of the people they tear apart for lunch.

And despite everything that i will say about the movie, i can’t deny that this is a new one, we never saw movie sharks act in this specific manner, so Dam Sharks has already something that puts it above most of the other crappy shark movies.

It has a somewhat original idea, even thought the rest it’s so very typical and it joins the strangely populated ranks of b-movies about freshwater (or non-salt water) sharks rampaging through rivers in the swampy areas of the U.S. Interior Highlands, or bayou based rural America as a whole.

For those wondering, no, there’s no explanation given to any degree as to why the sharks (ignoring how they got there to begin with) are constructing dams with human bodies parts and branches, as if they mindlinked with a pack of beavers and Griphis from Berserk. They just do.

I’m gonna write this off as a positive because it cuts down on an even dumber and likely not fun explanation, with minutes spent in researching the shark species with a 2000’s era PC interface or boring pseudo-scientific explanation to “beaver sharks jump-attacking people on the river”.

On the other side of the plot, we have the “human buffet” to which the sharks feast on, made of a tech company’s staff going on a “wilderness retreat thingie”, and the local sheriff trying to kill off the sharks before they can claim more victims. Well, the local sheriff and the local crazy-ish redneck with a gun that doesn’t like tourists and a shady not disclosed past, gotta have that one.

Did i forget to say that the boss of the tech company it’s a smarmy control-freak douchebag, or that there is a romance subplot where the acting ability and the chemistry on display reminds one of a dead sea urchin? Or that there also scenes of random paintball matches, alongside the redneck and “beauty and the nerd romance” crap?

And yes, not only they rip-off the old classic “Smile, you son of a bitch” (and the gas cylinder as a way to explode the shark into bits, wonder where they go that from), BUT the script goes the extra mile to be even more hackeneyed, as they also steal famous quotes from Aliens, with the complimentary low-effort self-refential element of them naming Sharkenado, or saying that “they saw that done in a movie before”, the latter being said at least twice. SIGH.

Also, one character it’s named Kenny just so they can shout his name when he dies.

This one is from Cinetel, yes, they’re still around, and at least that means that they actually have a budget for this TV movie, it’s just slighly above what i call the “Asylum tier” in terms of special effects and CG, so the sharks look crappy, but WAY better than plenty of other shark movies featured here that decided money for anything wasn’t something they needed to care about.

There is a budget, so at least that means no monsters made of dried up papermaciè, crafted out of old newspapers orwhatever crap the directors had lying around in their fridge, and there are some recognizable faces for the B-movies buffs, with Jason London, Eric Paul Erickson and Matt Mercer that help salvage the overall quality of the acting from being outright crap….but still subpar.

Overall, Dam Sharks is basically a worse version of Ozark Sharks, but the somewhat original idea of a dam created by sharks with trees and human body parts gives the ordeal a grotesque shadow of novelty, helping the movie in being… again, just subpar.

Not one of the worse ones, oddly enough.

[EXPRESSO] Moonfall (2022) | Moon Machine Tentacles

Roland Emmerich is back again to deliver the kind of movie he’s definitely good at: the popcorn munching big dumb ass disaster flick. And i kinda mean that as a compliment, as he specializes in this type of cinema cheese, definitely its wheelhouse, and this is pristine Roland Emmerich all the way through.

It’s that special type of dumb and insane that i find hard to dislike, i mean, this is a movie that opens with astronauts debating the lyrics of Africa by Toto, that really sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the plot, which is fairly insane, as it concerns the moon…. randomly getting out of its orbit, then moving faster towards Earth.

Not to give away the rest of the plot (and there plenty of insane shit that happens in the last act), but basically the Moon it’s not the satellite we always though it was, but a kind of mega-structure of sorts built for some purpose by someone. We know that because there’s a conspiracy theorist dude (of course there is one, it’s an Emmerich movie) that figures out the orbital displacement will happen before the NASA does, and he ends up helping an astronaut that was defamed a decade ago for an “incident” that happened near the Moon’s orbit.

And i mean it when i say it’s definitely more insane than you think it would be, Emmerich really outdid himself, while also delivering a lovable kind of so bad it’s good type of writing, it’s nonsensincal and not good but honestly i was hugely entertained all the way through, the plot wasn’t really predictable as you would think, and the disaster spectacle was on point and abundant.

A lot of stupid, lovable, sincere insane fun that undeniably accomplishes all it sets out to do/be.

Agon The Atomic Dragon AKA Giant Phantom Monster Agon (1968-1990s) [REVIEW] Uranium Chorogon

Digging deeper into the kaiju crevices, we find a lot of minor monster flicks from the “monster factory of Nippon”, Toho, in this case being a mini-series made of 4 episodes and with a confusing release history, as it was completed in 1964, but wasn’t broadcasted on Fuji TV until 1968, after Toho realized the project involved two of their own talents, with Fuminori Ohashi (Tsuburaya’s special effects apprentice) and writer Shinichi Sekizawa, already proven for penning other kaiju classics such as Mothra, Mothra Vs Godzilla and Godzilla VS Mechagodzilla (the 1974 one), and the company was convinced that Agon didn’t directly step on the nuclear toes of their monster star.

I said a confusing release history because in mid 90s the episodes were recompiled into a feature lenght film and distributed internationally onn VHS as Agon: Atomic Dragon… and i can’t find any source that actually pinpoints when exactly it was released in the 90s, Letterboxd instead says it was in the 80s, and there’s also a japanese DVD release in 2005 by King Records.

Thankfully is not hard to find in any form, as the english subbed episodes can be found on Youtube, and you might stumble upon fansubbed releases of the feature lenght compilation version.

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember #8: Cowboys Vs Dinosaurs (2015)

It seems i have misplaced my UK DVD, so enjoy this US poster.

“Hinted” at this one in last year’s Dino Dicember, so here it is, the versus match of the millennia, to decide who’s better between gun junkies cattle herders and extinct-not extinct predators.

One i didn’t even had to search for online, as i already owned on DVD as “Jurassic Hunters”, bought alongside a pack of other UK DVD dinosaur movies imports years ago.

What luck!

And another one that people rating shlock on IMDB are being a bit too mean towards just to rake in the likes by fake pretending Jurassic Park quality and bitching how Cowboys VS Dinosaurs didn’t rock their socks off, that or people who genuinely haven’t seen REALLY bad b-movies.

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember #7: Valley Of The Dragons (1961)

Stock footage. The quintessence of cheap filmaking since its very beginning, the saviour of many low budget productions for decades, constantly growing over time and often very fuckin free, etc.

It’s and always will be a constant for visual media, but there are case when you can take it too far, like the infamous Gamera Super Monster, the final Showa era Gamera film, composed almost entirely of stock footage from previous movies in the series. Sometimes you can indeed go even cheaper, but shouldn’t, unless you wanna risk destroying any goodwill, fanbase or prospects.

Though this isn’t the case, with Valley Of The Dragons we have instead the story of trying to adapt the Jules Verne novel Off Of A Comet/Career Of A Comet, which was actually not published in US territories at the time, due to it being very anti-semitic.

A very loose adaptation mostly made to chase the success of previous film adaptations of Verne’ stories…. and because producer Donald Zimbalist wanted to have it heavily based around the stock footage from One Billion BC, as he owned the rights to that.

In its own way, this is also pure cinema at heart.

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