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QUEEN CRAB

•             RELEASE DATE: Available Now on DVD
•             WRITTEN BY: Brett Piper
•             DIRECTED BY: Brett Piper
•             STARRING: Michelle Simone Miller, Kathryn Metz, Rich Lounello

Back in the far flung past, your parents (more likely grandparents for some of you creeps) were getting’ all hot and bothered neckin’ at the sin-ema (scarier image than you’ll find in any flicks in this column, no doubt) as giant-assed insects and animals destroyed various small towns in a host of low rent fright flicks. Nowadays, these kinds of maraudin’ monsters are all but forgotten (save for some ultra-goofy SyFy flicks), but the flick we are about to take a look at, QUEEN CRAB, is as close to those creature features from the days of yore as you can get!

The tale of QUEEN CRAB is as old as time itself: a young girl befriends a crab that grows to epic proportions after getting mixed up with some of her father’s science-y stuff. Years pass, and the crab starts going all blood simple on the bucolic town that the girl, now an adult, inhabits, after townsfolk start killing the crab’s 42 billion babies and threatening her freshly laid monster-crab eggs. Could easily be confused with Hamlet.

Anyway, ya know how I called those SyFy pics goofy? Well, make no mistake, this thing is as goofy as all get out; the difference is die-rector Brett Piper attempted to craft a love letter to those types of fright flicks while the SyFy channel pics are just nudge-and-wink “look how silly we can be” affairs.

Make no mistake, this is an ultra-low budget picture with all of the baggage that brings (some dodgy acting, limited sets, etc.), but what it lacks in some areas it makes up for in totally rad-ass old school effects. The crabs appear to be stop-motion animated creations, and they have a charm and nostalgic appeal that is irresistible to yours cruelly.

The only major negative I had with this flick is that it takes a while for the giant crab action to launch into full swing, but the pictures it references were the exact same way, I reckon. If you are looking for a retro-tinged creature feature, QUEEN CRAB may scratch that itch just fine for you—just be prepared to look past a few rough edges.

(I do have to mention one more tiny thing: the Amazon synopsis of this flick is a hoot and a half. Giant meteors? Centuries old beast? I haven’t read a description more erroneous than the time I tried to describe mashed potatoes to a friend on an absinthe binge and used the words “elephant briefcase” instead of “mashed potatoes”.)

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DISTILLER

•             RELEASE DATE: Available Now on Amazon VOD
•             WRITTEN BY: Steven Sacco, Andy Schroeder
•             DIRECTED BY: Andy Schroeder
•             STARRING: Amy Ciupek, Daniel Noonan, Steven Sacco

 Ever find yourself staring at material from that upcoming GHOSTBUSTERS retread and think to yourself, “This is all fine and dandy, but what if someone tried something new with the whole busting of ghosts bag?” Well creep-o, I got a flick for you!

Dig this premise: Matthew Moon (Sacco) hunts ghosts around the globe utilizing a mystical technique of trapping them in bottles of liquor during an arcane rite. Well, Moon goes missing after being waylaid by a Yeti (I told you this was unique), and in the intervening years his home is inherited by his niece Blue (Ciupek)… a home that is loaded with plenty of bottles containing all manner of haunts that prove ya can’t spell “booze” without “Boo” (that should totally be the tagline of this flick, by the way)! Well, it isn’t long before ol’ Blue and her brother (who is along for the ride, though he only inherited some ALF episodes on VHS) decide to throw a raging Fourth of July party… and you can just see where this is going.

This fright flick has a lot going for it. There is some great world building and mythology provided by the past cases of Moon and the organization he works for, and the methodology of trapping the ghosts is aces as well (and as far as I know has never been seen in a previous terror tale).

Another top-notch element in this thing are the ghosts themselves. Utilizing some great puppetry, projection, and other practical chicanery, these spirits are a varied and rather rad bunch. I can guarantee you’ll dig these diabolical dudes and be ultra-impressed with what the filmmakers achieved with a micro-budget, especially if you love flicks like GHOULIES and SPOOKIES.

Speaking of budget, that brings us to the negatives. As mentioned previously, this thing wasn’t produced by dudes swimmin’ in gold coins, so temper your expectations when it comes to some areas of the production such as acting (some of the smaller roles are definitely filled by first-timers that aren’t necessarily thespians per-se… and they ain’t actors neither). And the sound is really weird… I mean, it’s loud enough and what-not, but the entire film sounds dubbed.

Admittedly, the above negatives didn’t amount to jack s–t to me as this was a highly original flick, with tons of heart and plenty of hot creature on creature action (I mean there are a lot of ghosts, not ghosts getting it on). In short, I really dig what these cats layed down here, and I truly hope there’s plenty more to come from these dudes!

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