Cody spies the horrors of reality and toothy puppets.
MY LITTLE EYE (2002)
If you're wondering why Jay Burleson hasn't been contributing to the Worth Mentioning articles very much lately, it's because my blogging buddy has had way too much life between frames this year, greatly impacting his movie watching and writing time. One thing I know Burleson made time for this summer, though, was a whole lot of episodes of the CBS reality/game show Big Brother, a show which took the Real World set-up of picking a group of strangers to live together under one roof to the next level by adding physical and mental competitions and a big money prize. Burleson and I are both superfans of Big Brother, and I enjoy the concept so much that I even watched ABC's show The Glass House this year, a show so similar to Big Brother that CBS initially sued to try to stop it from airing.
So you can understand why My Little Eye mixing the concept with the horror genre would be so appealing to me.
In this case, five contestants are chosen to live in a fenced-in, creepy old house in the middle of the wilderness for six months, during which the cameras set up around the place will be webcasting their every move twenty-four hours a day. There are no competitions, the only challenge is whether or not they can handle living in this remote location together for the required amount of time. If they all stick it out, there's a million dollar prize, but if anyone leaves, everyone loses.
It seems like a pretty cushy gig to me, and things appear to go rather smoothly... until the last week of their stay, at which point it's the dead of winter. First, the heat goes out. Then, the food and supply deliveries stop, replaced by packages containing things like objects connected to a housemate's past, a letter telling a housemate that his grandfather - the person he misses the most - has died, or a gun loaded with five bullets. One for each of them.
There's a feeling that someone is creeping around outside the house, taunting written messages are found, one housemate fears that someone from her past is coming after her. The housemates have to decide whether they're actually in danger, if something is really going wrong in their lives, or if the showrunners, with whom they have no contact, are just playing mind games with them, trying to see if they can get them to leave the house. Those in charge would save a lot of money if someone was driven to quit...
It's a very interesting film, with some nice twists and turns, a foreboding and suspenseful atmosphere, and a good cast that includes Laura Regan, Jennifer Sky, a cameo by Bradley Cooper when he was just starting to get noticed, and my favorite of the bunch, Kris Lemche of Ginger Snaps and Final Destination 3.
ATTACK OF THE BEAST CREATURES (1985)
To be honest, I wasn't expecting much when I started this movie. I just put it on as time filler, because it's October and I try to have horror movies playing on my screens constantly every day of the month.
I knew nothing about it beyond the plot summary I read: "Survivors of a sunken ocean liner are castaway on a seemingly deserted island, only to be picked off one by one at the hands of a native tribe of savage pygmies."
So despite the title promising Beast Creatures, I was expecting something along the lines of an Italian cannibal movie. Since the tribesmen were pygmies, they'd probably be played by shorter people, and the only beastly thing about them would maybe be masks that they wore.
The movie didn't get off to a rousing start, it wasn't doing very well at capturing my interest at first. But then it reached the 30 minute point, at which time the native tribesmen were revealed. And as soon as I saw them, this movie became undeniably Worth Mentioning.
Turns out the pygmy tribesmen are played by puppets, about as tall as the original G.I. Joe dolls, who look like less badass versions of the Zuni fetish doll from Trilogy of Terror. They relentlessly pursue the castaways through the island forest, killing them one-by-one, but they don't carry weapons, all they do is bite people. Sometimes they'll attack individually, running past and biting your shin or dropping out of a tree and chewing on your shoulder like Pierce Brosnan, but they're most effective when they attack as a group. They'll swarm a person, sinking their sharp teeth into the person's flesh and gnawing with their barely articulated jaws while the actors do their best to sell that they're in a life or death struggle with the dolls that have been stuck on their clothes.
When survivors reach a boat and escape the island in the end, one of their rescuers speaks the last line in the movie, a question asked with a tone of mild, passing curiosity: "What were those things?"
Those things were awesome.