A beautiful backpacker picks the very worst Louisiana swamp to go skinnydipping in, for the new monster movie, CREATURE! After seeing her in full-frontal glory, she meets a…well, a “Creature” that bites off both her legs–and he’s just getting warmed up.

CREATURE isn’t so much a movie as it is a time machine to fun, full-blooded ’80s exploitation movies. The only difference is that The Bubble Factory is where the “Film Ventures” logo would be. There’s a heavy gore & nudity quotient and co-writer/director Fred Andrews keeps things moving so you are never bored. Like the recent films “Hatchet” and “Frozen”, the movie is a tribute to old school slasher movie values.

There’s a monster on the loose–he’s a gator man who is a dead ringer for the old Batman villan Killer Croc and a bunch of vets and their girlfriends go camping in the yard of the monster’s old house. When he realizes there are tourists on his lawn, the gator man appreciates it none too much. The movie is more ambitious than the usual monster-killing-kids flick and despite it’s low-budget, CREATURE even throws in a Lovecraftian twist in the second half. My only complaint on the creature is that they don’t have a name for him; half the characters call him “Grimly” and the other half call him “Lockjaw”–you didn’t have that kind of trouble with Jason Voorhees. Still, the gator man has a pervy style of attack.

CREATURE’s side characters steal the show, led by a gleefully sleazy Sid Haig. Amanda Fuller is a standout as the most spirited of the potential victims, as is Rebekah Kennedy. Mehcad Brooks and Serinda Swan don’t make as much an impression as the leads. The heroes are ciphers; his character “Niles” is so perfect, other characters note how perfect he is–in fact, when he gets shot, he only mentions being shot in one scene and never brings it up again. Swan cries and screams a lot, but doesn’t get to display the character quirks that Fulller and Kennedy make the most of.

Fred Andrews shows that he’s a genius in keeping audience’ butts in seats, from a fun lesbian love scene to unexpected gore. A longtime production designer, Andrews makes the most of a man-in-suit, rejecting the horror-by-CG era. CREATURE isn’t perfect, but its a fun tribute to ’80s exploitation.

30-30-3o

– Patrick Jankiewicz

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