Sunday, May 29, 2011

Plankton aka Creatures From The Abyss (1994)

Here's a happy little trashfest that was burped out in '94 but most definitely feels like it was made ten years earlier. Let's face it - it's basically complete crap, but it manages to cram in all the hallmarks of any great crapfest: unbelievably bad dubbing, rubbery creature effects and a weirdly mean spirit that seems somewhat odd next to the cheesier aspects (ie, every other aspect) of the film. Think of it like The Thing or Leviathan made by people who have possibly never seen a movie in their entire lives, and you should be adequately prepared.

Plankton begins with a group of mildly annoying kids (some of whom played by people roughly ten years too old for their roles) caught adrift at sea when the engine on their comically tiny boat craps out. Their luck seems to pick up when they find an abandoned yacht, which soon reveals itself to be a marine research ship that contains a few nasty surprises that have made their way up from the depths. It sounds pretty uninteresting I guess, but Plankton's charm lies in its inability to do anything right, other than make with the laughs. And fuck me, this movie is hilarious.

I've already mentioned the dubbing, but it's among the worst I've ever seen/heard. You'll find many a scene where the voice-over cast are screaming and groaning hysterically while the actors on screen seem relatively calm considering they're being attacked/raped/puked on by a slimy sea creature. For my money, the funniest point is a seemingly endless scene that features the "hero" smashing up a research lab in a fit of rage - not only does it go on FOREVER, but the noises the voiceover actor comes out with are absolute gold... All I could think about was the guy standing in a recording booth grunting and snorting like a champ, wondering where he went wrong in his life. I'm also fairly sure the women who did the voiceover work for the girls were high on crack when they did their takes, delivering every line in a weird, slow motion drawl. There's a wealth of crazy dialogue bouncing around, possibly written by someone with a tenuous grasp of English, my favourite example being "So professor, how long have you been fucking fish?", which gets the reply of "But... They were old enough!!!"

Plankton earns serious points for its incredible displays of bad taste - some of this movie is actually pretty gross, the absolute nadir/highlight being the scene where a girl gives birth to a load of caviar shortly after being raped by the pesky sea monster. It sounds offensive, but it's so off the wall you can't help but laugh your ass off. There isn't too much gore really, but there is a lot of gooey stuff flying about, and any movie that features somebody puking a load of cockroaches up has to be worth watching. To be fair to the makers, they probably achieved exactly what they set out to do, and the movie is just so funny that it's virtually bulletproof. The effects are mostly terrible, in particular the "explosions", but it does manage to sneak some kinda cool old-school stop motion effects in towards the end, and as we all know stop-motion animation automatically makes any film 1,000 times more watchable.

One final thing worth mentioning is the score, which at times is actually amazing, particularly the sounds that play over the opening credits - I googled the Elikonia Group, who did the soundtrack, but nothing showed up other than info on this movie. I can't get enough of those 80's synth pads though.

Aaaaanywho, you get the picture when it comes to Plankton. I can honestly recommend it if you're looking for something that's gonna give you some serious laughs, and it has the kind of mean spirit that just warms my heart.

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