Fearful Symmetries

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21 April, 2012

WFF 2012 - The Amateur Monster Movie

The kids and I went to see The Amateur Monster Movie on Friday night. The oldest is a big zombie fan so it seemed only appropriate. The movie is exactly what its title indicates – a micro-budget horror flick with zombies and a werewolf. Kyle Richards directed and, since he's from the Milwaukee area, that's where he shot it with a cast and crew of mostly Cheeseheads.

Charles Monroe-Kane of Wisconsin Public Television's Director's Cut gave the introduction and said that he's seen many low-budget horror flicks with most of them being atrocious. But, in his opinion, The Amateur Monster Movie, was one of the few that wasn't.

Things start off with a Boy Scout troupe on the ominously named Cadaverous Island. The scout master has gone missing and attempts to find him only get the scouts in trouble with a werewolf and a pack of zombies. Back on the mainland a high school student named Walter Romero becomes determined to find his friend who was a member of that ill-fated troupe. Teaming up with a stoner named Johnny Mason and his comely friend, Ashley. The trio make their way to the island where they meet up with a team of botanists. Also thrown in for good measure are some of the local constabulary who eventually make their way to the island as well.

The Amateur Monster Movie isn't a horror movie so bad it's funny but rather a comedy that involves monsters. The humor is hit or miss. They hyper-masculine Officer Larry Hopkins had the first few buttons of his shirt undone and went around barking orders using the f-bomb every other word. As a parody of b-movie cops he worked pretty well, if a bit excessive. There were also some sight gags that got pulled off successfully such as when Walter is roaming the stacks of his high school library and finds a book on werewolves on a shelf that also contains a sign saying “Book not found on shelves of a high school library.” I'll also mention the creepy guy who lived in a shed. He was amusing and he shared the same fate as Hallorann in The Shining - he comes to the island to rescue everyone and is done in just after setting his foot on the ground.

On the other hand, since the movie is populated by nothing but one-note characters, they tended to get old quickly. Mason is amusing at first but becomes boring as the story moves on. In addition, a lot of the humor is just not pulled off well enough to overcome its puerile nature. For instance, in one scene Walter bumps into Ashley in a hall at school knocking books out of her hands. Retrieving them, he finds a tampon and zips into the bathroom to jack off. This may be funny to a 9 year-old but I just found it stupid and unnecessary.

Lastly I'll say that I was disappointed at how well the stereotypes went over. One of the Boy Scouts was flaming which got a lot of laughs as did calling someone a “fag”. And in the establishing shot of the Boy Scout camp we see the gay kid and his companion who is overweight. Madison audiences must be easy to please because just seeing the fat kid drew a roar of laughter. I can't say that this particular casting choice was made to get those laughs so I have to reserve my disappointment for the audience. Lame. Very lame.

|| Palmer, 7:46 PM


Saw this movie in Madison as well. The tampon bit was funny, but I think you're reading into it too much. I thought the guy just had to pee, who masturbates over a tampon? yuck. How many 9 year olds would read into the scene like you did? weird thing to say imo.

And why couldn't the laughter be from the boy scout blowing in a jug and slapping his knee, not from him being fat? Sounds like you're trying to find things that weren't there. You say the rest of us in the audience were lame?

I really liked this movie btw :P
Anonymous Dave, at 2:47 PM  
I thought something different about the tampon scene. Walter Romero seemed to have no clue what to do in front of a girl. So, after bumping into her he was in shambles. Then after finding a tampon, and realizing what it was, put him more in shambles. So I assumed that he ran into the bathroom to either hide as it was the first place he could find, or throw up from the stress.
Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:42 PM  

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