The Strangeness (1985)
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Audience Reviews for The Strangeness
Only noteworthy for a really cool (cheesy) stop motion monster otherwise you'll be putting cigarettes out on your arm to keep from falling asleep in this unknown relic from 1985.
Though I gravitate towards the low budget, independent side of cinema, there comes a point when a film can actually become too low budget for me to truly enjoy. As a general rule when a film starts to dip below the $100,000 mark, the enjoyability factor really starts to bottom out for my taste and "The Strangeness", with its meager $25,000 budget, sadly falls in this category. Still "The Strangeness" still isn't without some well earned respect for what the filmmakers were able to accomplish with in reality no money to work with.
The plot is simple monster movie material with a group of geologists and miners exploring an abandoned mine with a dark history to see if it's worth re-opening. The story is that the mine was closed due to miners getting killed by a monster, and guess what, the monster really exists and now our explorers have to find their way out before the stop-motion beast or the mountain itself makes them permanent residents.
Due to the film having no real budget to speak of it means that the cast had to work for little or no payment... and it shows. Some of the performances are stomachable but most is deplorable, with the worst being the stereo typical asshole boss of the expedition who is willing to sacrifice his whole crew in order to get the mine re-opened. This low budget also rears its ugly head in the production design as many of the interior locations looking like nothing more than plaster of paris tunnels made in a darkly lit garage, though to its benefit the graininess of the 16mm helps hide much of this (god forbid "The Strangeness" ever gets a blu-ray release!).
The low budget hits the hilarity point when our monster is finally revealed and all looks good intitially as it is done in glorious stop motion. Amateurish stop motion but bad ass stop motion none-the-less. It's not the stop motion work that got me (I am a fan of the this dead art) but the actual design of the monster, which literally looks like a vagina with tentacles. Seriously who thought it was a good idea to design our monster's head after a woman's most holy of places?
Even with all these flaws I mentioned it's still amazing that the filmmakers were able to make a movie that somewhat worked and had any flow to its structure with such a low budget. The John Carpenter-esque synthesizer score, eye catching title sequence (done by the guy who did "The Terminator" and "Night of the Creeps") and atmosphere help but overall "The Strangeness" is just too damn low budget to make it truly entertaining thanks to none-existent production design, dull pace and all the non-acting. Distributors must have felt the same way as the film was completed in 1980, but only ended up appearing on VHS in 1985 without the luxury of having a theatrical release.
The Strangeness was made in 1980, but not released until 1985, and much like 1981's The Boogens, both films continued to live the life of sheltered and hidden gems amongst the bevy of 80's horror films to come out, that is, until small film distribution company Code Red released a small number of Strangeness DVDs onto the world. Having finally seen the film for the first time ever today, I can safely say The Strangeness is certainly no Boogens, but its definitely a fun film for avid horror fans like myself. The film concerns the re-opening of a cursed mine as a shady miner enlists the help of other miners to go deep underground to see if there is enough gold to warrant the mine to officially open. What these folks do not realize is that the mine is in fact very cursed because in it lurks a ferocious stop-motion monster of hilarious proportions. Naturally, the mineshaft caves in and the miners are picked off one by one by this monster, leaving the group to become frantic in their search for a way out of the mine. While the film may epitomize outdated-ness with its behind the times effects and plot devising, the overall film is a real joy for me. What can I say, I honestly CANNOT get enough of cheesy 80's horror films. That's not to say there isn't SOME good filmmaking within The Strangeness. There's certainly an element of suspense and tension build up as the story moves along. The biggest highlight is the revelation of the monster, a tentacled lumbering being with a head that is CLEARLY the shape of pussy lips. And not just ANY old pussy lips, but foaming ones (since the monster emits its own acidic saliva), thus making it resemble a pussy that has just been given a creampie and is now squirting out the jizz (those filmmakers knew damn well what it looked like). Believe you me, I did NOT see this coming, so my natural response was an absolute burst of laughter that had me choking and gasping for air after awhile. That alone was worth the full price of this film. The common moviegoer will not enjoy this film, but if your (REALLY) into horror films like myself, you'll dig it. Glad to finally see this film make it to DVD. Now, if we can just get the Boogens!!
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