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monster truck in Monster Man

August 2005 SITE MAP   SEARCH

Monster Man
cast: Eric Jungmann, Justin Urich, Aimee Brooks, Michael Bailey Smith, and Joe Goofrich

writer and director: Michael Davis

94 minutes (18) 2004
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Tartan DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 9/10
reviewed by Martin Drury
Monster Man is a question disguised as a film. It asks whether it really is possible to inject comedy into a horror film without creating a spoof in the process? Monster Man is a gory horror fest where hilarity prevails over all. Young geek Adam is heading to the wedding of the girl he has worshipped from afar for years. He plans to stop the wedding by declaring his love for his princess. The fat, obnoxious Harvey is coming along for the ride. Harvey is Adam's best friend but the tension between the two men is both obvious and hilarious, one constantly talking about graphic sex, the other shying away from the realities of his feelings towards women. Harvey's behaviour angers some rednecks in a bar and, soon, the pair are chased by a demon in a monster truck. Running from the horrors of the metal machine, the hapless men encounter mysterious and sexy hitchhiker Sarah. Sarah wears short skirts, boots and has a beguiling smile. But what is her secret and is she friend or foe?

Before watching this film, one should have first watched Roadkill starring Steve Zahn, Paul Walker and Leelee Sobieski. Despite comic comparisons with Jeepers Creepers, Roadkill is the movie spoofed by the whole comic horror road-trip element of Monster Man and a number of events in Roadkill are parodied in Monster Man. That said, there are some great one-liners in this film. In a bar, Adam questions the map reading skills of the group by asking, perhaps too loudly, whether anyone has taken a 'wrong turn.' In his tone and pronunciation, Adam evokes the memory of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre rip-off Wrong Turn. Eric Jungman is superb as Adam and Justin Urich steals the majority of the scenes in which he appears. Even when he is almost crushed by a rampaging monster truck, Urich manages to make Harvey into a dying comedian with cracking one-liners delivered whilst his character is in intense pain and riddled with torment.

You'll guess the 'Sarah twist' in about five seconds but that does not detract from the fact Aimee Brookes is both stunning and talented and destined for stardom. Davis appears to have divulged his interpretation of witchcraft - which is presented towards the end of the film - from the 'Malleus Maleficarum' as witchcraft has nothing to do with the Satanic rituals mentioned towards the end of the film and it is, actually, impossible to use a pentagram in the manner the 'villains of the piece' use it near the end of the film. The film is gory and grotesque throughout and it's certainly not a during-dinner movie.

The sound and picture quality of the DVD are excellent throughout and there's every possibility that watching Monster Man will make you more inclined to laugh at horror movies in the future. Rejoice in the comedy, flinch from the blood and gore and never forget that the movies spoofed herein were once commonplace in the American horror movie market. Nowadays, all they do is remake Japanese myths. But once, long ago, they actually put a lot of thought into the story of a horror movie and it's heartening to feel that Monster Man is as much a pastiche of the great horror films as it is a parody of their construction.

The DVD special features include the pointless and never before seen (despite how many times they go on about its greatness) animated trailer for the movie. There's also a collection of trailers for other Tartan releases, a making-of Monster Man featurette, and a gag reel that offers little further insight into the creation of the movie. The interviews with the actors and the writer-director create confusion in the mind of the viewer, especially when one realises that the writer-director feels that he has created a comic horror movie rather than a spoof horror movie. In other words: he has taken this project seriously and so have many of the cast and crew. Do they realise they've spoofed the movies such as Roadkill and Jeepers Creepers? Are they spoofing the documentaries tacked on to the special feature section of horror movie DVDs? Nobody, I am afraid, will ever be able to tell you the answer to that secret.

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