Thursday, April 23
Directed by David Michael Hillman
91 Minutes / Trans World Entertainment / Cropped from 1.85:1 to full screen
A group of rather unlikely explorers enter an expansive abandoned mine to survey the prospects of iron ore for a corporation. The shafts were the site of unexplained miner deaths more than a century ago and legends of a great evil lurk within its depths. After their ropes are mysteriously cut and they find a mangled backpack, fear and descent begin creeping between our dwellers. A cavern collapse resulting in death forces the remaining to find a new exit as they climb deeper. Tentacles writhe just beyond their flares as individuals start disappearing...
A fun concoction that's a bit of a mix of Alien, The Thing, with The Descent mixed with a very mid-'70s look and feel. There's some frightening aspects here; like slimy human cocooning, finding shards of mirrors hanging from the rock ceiling, and utilizing a camera's flash as the only indication of surroundings (sound familiar?). Though at its heart this is a grand ol' monster flick, with plenty of obvious stop-motion claymation of the creature and convenient "happy" conclusion.
Strangely, there's a repeatedly used piece of the music that quotes Escape from New York's score so strongly that you'd easily believe it's an outtake from Carpenter's work. I was surprised by how the film managed to hold my attention, despite the bland acting on hand and monotonous "dark blue paper mache as cave" settings. Check it out, but don't pay too much for a copy (my battered copy pictured above was only $5).
VHS Picture: 4/10
VHS Sound: 4/10
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