Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Monster Man (2003)

Caution: Spoilers Galore

A few years back, a friend of mine brought over a DVD for me to watch. After peeping the front and back cover of Monster Man, my heart fluttered a little. A bunch of youngens being chased by a monster truck driven by an honest-to-goodness monster seemed like a premise that was simply too ridiculous to work, and too good to be true. However, my friend and I share the same taste for over-the-top horror-comedy, so I decided to watch the movie and hope for the best.

Besides a gritty opening scene which smacked of foreshadowing, the first twenty minutes or so of this movie caused serious doubts to spring up. It essentially begins by introducing the viewer to Adam (Eric Jungmann) and Harley (Justin Urich), a pair of twenty-something boys on a road trip. Actually, Adam is on his way to stop the love of his life from marrying another man, and Harley is stowing away in Adam's back seat. The two boys were once the best of friends, and Harley is determined to repair their relationship as they cruise the open road. Unfortunately for Adam, Harley is a Grade A Asshole, and the banter between the two of them resembles that of many other teeny-bopper horror films which have annoyed me in the past.

Their bickering is finally interrupted by a crazy-ass monster truck that seems to come out of nowhere to ride their tail as their car travels the lonely highway. The truck succeeds in bumping them off the road before taking off again, and the boys are forced to help themselves to some gas from an abandoned camper after they discover that the chase has depleted their fuel. What Adam and Harley don't know is that the camper isn't exactly abandoned, and that they have just stumbled across something far more sinister than an out-of-control redneck in a truck on 'roids.

Their terror is subdued momentarily when they encounter a sexy hitch-hiker (Aimee Brooks) who looks like she's just come from a goth club, and could use a box of Crest WhiteStrips. They blow right past her, though, and stop off at a rest stop where Adam heads to the bathroom to relieve himself. Pulling a pair of galoshes out of his trusty fanny pack, he wades through inches of sludge on the floor and settles into a filthy stall, complete with a glory hole, which he dutifully plugs with a wad of toilet paper.

While Adam is busy dropping the kids off at the pool, and Harley is passed out in the car, the wacko in the monster truck pulls into the rest stop alongside them. Adam is mortified as the slow, heavy footsteps come into the bathroom, and a hulking figure begins rattling the door of his stall. The growling menace enters the stall next to Adam, and he watches in horror as the makeshift plug he has made for the glory hole is popped out from the other side. He slowly inches closer to the opening, daring to get a glimpse.

Holy hideous freakitude, Batman! What Adam sees on the other side of the bathroom stall looks only vaguely human. He loses it and runs outside, only to find Harley taking a fuck you leak in the monster's monster truck (how often does a person get to say that in a lifetime?). The two of them manage to scramble away and decide to spend the night in a hotel and get their car off the road in case Mr. Monster came looking for them, and the fact that the A-Hole pissed in his truck was all but a guarantee that he would.

Adam is understandably restless, and feeling paranoid by the time they are ready to turn in for the night. He awakens from dreamland to a strange, oddly sexual sensation, and discovers that he is knuckle-deep in a piece of roadkill that he had passed on the highway earlier in the day. He tosses the dead kitty in fear and disgust, and when it lands on the A-Hole's chest, I don't think I have to tell you that frat boy-approved merriment ensues. Let's just say the guy loves to eat pussy.

The boys leave the hotel, screaming and freaking, without even bothering to change out of their pyjamas (such as they are). Their terror reaches a climax when a shadowy figure pops up from the backseat. It's the sexy, hitch-hiking goth girl!! Now this is a roadie!! The girl introduces herself as Sarah, but is otherwise secretive about who she is and where she is going. Aren't all gothy types mysterious? They let her ride along with them, mostly so that they can touch her boobs while she is passed out in the back seat.

Sweet, suave, darling little Adam is somehow able to win Sarah's affections, and the two of them make wild, motel love (dry-humping, actually) while she expresses her desire for him Yoda-style.

Adam and Sarah are torn from their post-coitus bliss by the sound of screaming outside their motel room. The three friends witness the violent murder of a man who had been hassling Sarah at a redneck bar they had stopped in earlier. Mr. Monster plows over the ugly hillbilly in plaid a number of times before revealing his fucked-up face (henceforth, he is actually referred to as "Fuckface" in the movie) to the threesome, causing them to run away, shrieking in terror.

On the run again, the merry three stop at the sketchiest of roadside eateries to fuel up for the inevitable final showdown with Fuckface. Seriously, the place is gnarly -- it's literally a barn that sells questionable-looking chili to road-weary travellers, hoping none of them will notice the special bonuses included with each meal. You guessed it: it's made of people!!!! People!!!!!

The merry three again run off, shrieking in terror, and Fuckface comes barrelling out after them in his truck yet again. The ensuing chase scene is well worth the wait, especially given the fact that Sarah is running in platform goth boots. The scenes were shot with the truck moving slowly for technical and safety reasons, and then sped up to create the action-packed romp through the desolate countryside. I must say, it was actually very difficult for me to capture an image of the chase scene in which Sarah actually looked scared, as Aimee Brooks seems to have been smiling with glee the entire time. Eventually, I gave up and settled on a more distant shot.

"I'm a corpse burrito, dude!"

Ultimately, the merry three are unable to escape the awesome force that is Fuckface, and the loudmouth A-Hole is roughly introduced to a tree trunk, thus ending his undoubtedly rich life. Sarah tries to make a run for it while Adam takes a brave stand against the brooding Mr. Monster.

Adam narrowly escapes the encounter, and goes off in search of his ladylove after he hears her screaming in the distance. He finds Fuckface's crib (it's the one with the really messed-up looking dude standing out in front), gets inside, and uncovers a situation more horrifying than he could ever have imagined. The place is dank, and cluttered with serious-looking medical equipment in both used and unused states. There are bloody pentagrams adorning the walls (how quaint), and an unbelievably fucked-up (yes, even more so than Fuckface), pasty guy lying stretched out on a gurney while a Betty Boop cartoon plays innocently in the background.

Adam quickly finds Sarah tied up in another room, but not before the gutted-out dude wakes up and starts making a fuss, calling for Fuckface to take care of the bothersome boy with the fanny pack. Unfortunately for poor Adam, Sarah is a heartless tramp, and has fallen out of love with him. She cracks him in the face with a shovel, and the movie's underplot begins to unfurl.

Sarah is a Satanist, and the gruesome twosome are her brothers. Brother Bob/Fuckface (Michael Bailey Smith) mowed over Brother Fred (Joe Goodrich) one night in his monster truck, and then promptly hit a tree. Luckily, Sarah's knowledge of the dark arts saved both of their lives, but Brother Fred would eventually require a new body if he wanted to achieve true longevity. Unfortunately for Adam, this is where he fits into the plan.

"My brother is getting your body, Adam."

The following preparations had to be completed in order to perform the body-switching ritual:

The subject must voluntarily step inside a pentagram with a decapitated body (the camper).
The subject must sleep with road kill (the pussy).
The subject's virginity must be taken (did I forget to mention that Adam was a virgin?).
The subject's blood must be tasted (included in the dry-humping/virginity-taking scene).
The subject must eat the dead (the tasty chili).The subject must be scared to death (check, please!).

As Sarah prepares to start cutting into Adam, Brother Fred asks a rather poignant question: "You diddled my sister with that body, so when I get your body, does that mean I fucked my own sister?" Hey-oh!

At this point, Adam decides that he ain't going out like no punk bitch in some ritual. His trusty fanny pack saves his ass once again (the irony!), and he is able to cut through his restraints with a razor blade, catching Sister Sarah (who now speaks in a decidedly bad, southern accent to match her brothers' drawl) in the throat on the upswing.

Then, in a flurry of terrific makeup and special effects, Adam uses his newly-found bravery and his wit to cut through the brothers like a plough through a hayfield. He forgets to make double-sure that he's finished the job (they always forget), and Brother Bob limps up silently behind him in a classic, drawn-out "look out behind you!!!" moment that seasoned horror fans will see coming from 25 miles away.

Not to worry, Adam! It's your good buddy Harley to the rescue! The A-Hole comes bombing through in Fuckface's monster truck, slamming the ugly bastard into the ground once and for all. Adam takes his turn behind the wheel of the beastly vehicle, backing over the jellified corpse again and again until sunrise. It's good to be young, recently-laid, and covered in blood.

Although I've been making fun, Monster Man was actually a very enjoyable flick. The pace was good once it got going, the plot twists were refreshing, the acting was not-terrible, and the gore effects were fantastic. Written and directed by Michael Davis (who was involved with animation before he started making movies about monsters who drive monster trucks), I found it to be an thoroughly entertaining comedy with some murder, Satanism, and gore thrown in for good measure. Moreover, I felt that Davis intended it to come across as a horror film for actual horror fans, rather than an attempt at cashing in on a genre growing in popularity.

Lots and lots of fun!

4/5 Kitty Skulls = Video cocaine!


Anonymous said...

You are the coolest kitty on the boardwalk. After dark, on a cloudless night when the walk is slippery. When the sailors are drunk, the bottles are as spent and empty as the hourly motels, when hapless men fall before treacherous women. And the mutants, with full gas tanks, go hunting for meat.

Kitty LeClaw said...

Let's run off together to a foreign locale, robbing everyone we meet and living off the spoils. I'll feed you fish that I catch with my bare hands, and you can write volumes of stuff like that for me. <3

Tenebrous Kate said...

And now it is *you* I shall slaver thanks on for introducing me to this movie, Kitty my dear. Seriously--"Monster Man" is made of pure genre goodness. That ending gets referenced in the Apartment of Erotic Horror on at least a weekly basis. Bless your heart for bringing "Monster Man" into my life. *mwah*

Kitty LeClaw said...

Kate: I thought fondly of you as I was rasslin' with Blogger to get this posted, as this is probably the only horror film I've mentionned to you that you hadn't already seen! To have had the opportunity to watch it with you and Mr. B in the Apartment of Erotic Horror Numero Uno is a fun memory I will carry with me... to the grave! Mwahha! I think I laughed more watching it with you guys than previous and subsequent viewings :D

Anonymous said...

All's I gotta do is write you some flowery prose and I get hand-caught fresh fish and a life of filthy crime? You know I'd drink a tub of your bathwater, right? You know that? Just make sure you soak in it for a good long while, first.

Kitty LeClaw said...

You'd drink my bathwater? Awww... Babe! I thought it was sweet when Bud Bundy sold his sister Kelly's bathwater to horny neighbourhood kids, but what you've suggested just blows that right out of the water.

Speaking of Bud Bundy, did you hear that David Faustino is now making a living selling pictures of himself posing with blow-up dolls on eBay?

Anonymous said...

I did not know that. Poor Bud.

Your bath water would give me mighty strength to conquer and vanquish all foes and vaginas.

Kitty LeClaw said...

One thing that my bathwater will not give you is The Clap. Certified Disease-Free, bitches!

This won't affect the re-sale value at all, will it?

Anonymous said...

If you could make your bathwater flammable, we might be able to solve the fuel crisis.

Kitty LeClaw said...

Good point. Maybe I should quit douching?

Anonymous said...

On second thought, fuck the fuel crisis. If that shit is flammable, it'll probably get me wasted, too. DRINK UP!