You like scary movies? You like gross out jokes and gore? You like sexy, scantily clad chicks? You like monster trucks? Then you are going to LOVE Monster Man.
A couple of years ago, I caught this flick on cable called 100 Girls, and before long, I was telling all my friends that they had to see this movie because it was a diamond in the rough of modern teen flicks.
Flash forward to last night. I watched the horror movie Monster Man. But it wasn't until I got to the extras on the disc that I learned director Michael Davis is the same man who brought us 100 Girls. It was at that moment that I decided he may be one of my new favorite directors, and that I'm going to have to look into seeing some of his other films.
Monster Man borrows elements from a good amount of my favorite horror movies to create a nasty-funny-scary horror flick. It's got elements of Evil Dead (2 mostly), Dead Alive, Wrong Turn, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Jeepers Creepers, House of 1000 Corpses….well, you get the idea.
After a wince-worthy opening scene that promises there will be some painful gore in this film, we meet goofy looking Adam (Eric Jungmann). Adam's on his way to Betty-Ann's wedding. Little does he realize, he has a stowaway. Harley (Justin Urich), a stocky, prank-pulling, loudmouthed ex-friend, appears, and suddenly, the two are at each other's throats and taking a road trip down desolate roads together. They're both after the same thing—the thing that tore them apart in the first place—Betty-Ann.
Before long, they're being stalked by a mysterious black hearst. And soon after that, they're being chase by a wickedly cool monster truck that clearly just wants to stomp them. And all the while, the pair is acting goofy, bickering constantly, and making trouble with the creepy locals at each rest stop they hit. But it's when they pick up sexy hitchhiker Sarah (Aimee Brooks) that the thrills really begin. Now the focus is off Betty-Ann as virginal Adam and self-proclaimed stud Harley try to woo Sarah, who has a blast playing along. But things suddenly go from fun to frightening as they come face to face with the monster truck—and the monster inside.
This movie totally took me by surprise. A good part of the beginning of the movie is all about slapstick exchanges between Harley and Adam. Adam's obsession with being totally prepared for any emergency with an assortment of Velcro fanny packs is established, as well as Harley being a real obnoxious pain in the butt who is actually harmless and likeable deep down. A bit of creeps and gore are thrown in now and then and you just keep waiting for something major—and really scary—to happen. And the payoff comes when the guys pull up to a gas station and Adam has a freaky run-in with a glory hole in the disgusting restroom. (attention heterosexual readers: for more information on glory holes, refer to Scary Movie). From there, viewers are taken on a stupidly funny, suspenseful, gory ride that combines all the elements of the movies mentioned above to create a horror-humor flick that has everything a horror fan (particularly a male fan) could ask for in a movie. Guys are most likely going to fall in love with the adorable Aimee brooks as Sarah, love the action of the chase scenes, be howling with hysteria at some of the downright sleazy visual humor (I want so badly to spoil one part because it will just really leave a bad taste in your mouth—but I won't), and revel in the blood and guts. Eric Jungmann's portrayal of Adam is definitely meant to fill in the gap left in horror films by the absence of Bruce Campbell. He has the facial expressions down perfectly, and even if it seems like a cheap imitation, so what. It works. And Justin Urich makes Harley an absolutely loveable a*hole. I haven't had this much fun watching a horror film in a while.
This fast-paced piece of horror silliness is one you're going to want to watch over and over, luring more friends in for each additional viewing.
This DVD offers a 1:85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation. There's a bit of specks and dust and a hint of edge enhancement, but overall, the image was pretty tight, and looked excellent in progressive scan. The darks were rich and deep, and the image was vivid.
This DVD fully utilizes the 5.1 technology, offering an awesome surround experience with a nice rumbling bass. There's also the option for simple 2.0 stereo sound.
Just FYI, the main menu shows clips from the movie. You also have the options of Spanish or English subtitles. The disc itself is loaded with extras, as if the studio knew ahead of time that viewers would love this movie and want all this stuff. The breakdown goes like this:
Trailer gallery—you get 4 trailers for Lions Gate releases, including one for Ju on, the original Japanese version of The Grudge. All are presented in excellent 2.0 stereo sound.
Home Video Trailer—this is a trailer for Monster Man. Unfortunately, it completely ignores the fact that this movie is filled with humor, so it comes across as a straightforward, clichéd thriller.
Animated Trailer—this is a pencil sketch animation trailer for Monster Man that's fun to watch after you've seen the film, because it shows several scenes from the flick practically in their full context as cartoons!
Gag Reel—rarely does a DVD have actual blooper reels. This is the real deal, and runs about 4 minutes.
Electronic Press Kit—fancy industry term for a good documentary on the making of the film, including behind-the-scenes footage and info, as well as interviews with the cast and director.
Commentary—director/writer Michael Davis sits down with stars Eric Jungmann and Justin Urich to supply us with good trivia, good jokes, and behind-the-scenes stories and anecdotes.
Monster Man is a horror humor flick that will be a pleasant surprise for anyone who is lucky enough to stumble upon it. With enough awareness, this can easily become a cult fave—and the bevy of extras on this excellent DVD presentation will satisfy those who get hooked on it. It's staying in my horror collection with the best of them. During the interviews, director Michael Davis says he can't wait to make another horror movie. I can't wait until he does either.