|Copyright 2006 Gold Circle Films
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 9 February 2008
- Bill Pardy - All he ever wanted in life was a pretty little blonde wife, but carrying a gun is not a bad substitute.
- Starla Grant - She grew up poor, but became a lady the same way as Reba McEntire.
- Brenda - Woman who turns into a bloated sac of alien babies and rips apart, spilling worms everywhere. She should have known better than to let an alien overlord insert both of his insemination tubes into her on the first date.
- Kylie Strutemyer - What's wrong, brain-eating worm creature got your tongue?
- Jack MacReady - The town's abrasive mayor who ends up filled with alien babies. He begs for Bill to shoot him and receives one handgun bullet to the brain. All of this was karma, because Jack didn't cry when his older brother, R.J. MacReady (a helicopter pilot) was killed in Antarctica.
- Grant Grant - Yes, his last and first names are the same. What a chump. He really needed to work on his enunciations, because screaming, "Strop rying chew me you britch!" is not conducive to a happy marriage. On the other hand, mutating into an all-consuming alien overlord is also grounds for divorce.
|This is one of the best "intentional" b-movies made in recent years. The plot adheres to some of the clichés you might expect, but it will keep the interest of seasoned horror film veterans. Something I really like is that parts are funny, but quite believable. The average person encountering an invasion by a parasitic alien life form is going to say some things that would be damn amusing, were the fate of Earth's indigenous species (humanity included) not hanging in the balance.
The first thing you need to know is that Wheelsy is just another small town in South Carolina where the local businesses look forward to deer season as a major tourist attraction. Starla, in addition to being the young trophy wife of Grant (Grant), teaches at the local school. Life is complicated by the fact that Bill has spent years pining for Starla, because he has been in love with her since they were kids. However, Bill is far too nice a guy to press his case and cause trouble. For his part, Grant (Grant) is happy to have a pretty little wife, though he often feels the twinge of jealousy.
Grant (Grant) probably spends most of the day subvocalizing one specific phrase: "Stay out of my wife. Stay out of my wife. Stay out of my wife."
Now, a major cause of friction in Grant and Starla's marriage is a lack of intimate friction. He wants it, but the little lady has not been in the mood...for a few weeks or so. What is Starla thinking? She is married to her sugar daddy; you don't say, "No" to the sugar daddy! Especially not if doing so is going to get him angry, drive him out the door and to a local bar, where he will get drunk and meet a woman (who has had a crush on him since childhood), then wander off into the woods with the newly discovered bar hussy to get it on. The fidelity of Grant's marriage is preserved when he stumbles across a fleshy mass that crawled out of a meteorite. Distracted from the hussy (by his conscience, more than the extraterrestrial visitor), he does what every moron does in science fiction horror films: he pokes the thing with a stick. It promptly shoots an organic dart into Grant and the alien invasion is off to a running start.
I swear, the next time I see somebody poking an organism from outer space with a stick, I am going to lose my cool.
After being infected by the dart, Grant goes meat crazy. By that I mean two things. One is that he cleans out the local supermarket of beef and puts a huge dent in the town's pet population. Two is that he discovers that human women, specifically the host body's wife, are a whole lot of fun. Whatever vestige is left of Grant, he does love Starla. Instead of turning her into a "breeder" (I will explain later), the mutating gentleman seeks out Brenda and implants her full of alien baby batter.
The scene where Grant attacks Brenda is an obvious rape analogy, with the added violation of perverting her humanity. It makes the alien overlord even more of a monster. It also makes Brenda into a breeder. The next time we see her, she is chained up inside of an old barn and Grant is bringing her lots of raw meat. Being pregnant with thousands of alien worm creatures makes a gal hungry.
Brenda's disappearance does not go unnoticed, meaning that Bill stops by to see Starla and informs the worried young lady that her husband is wanted for questioning. That makes Starla curious about what Grant is hiding in the basement. Yech! The downstairs has been turned into a slaughterhouse for the town's missing pets! Before Starla can finish freaking out, Grant returns and prepares to plant a garden of alien babies in her abdomen. Bill arrives just in time to drive off the freakish husband monster (Grant's appendages are exhibiting bizarre properties).
Trying to track down Grant becomes a running joke at the police station. Based on what they saw of him, the officers all start referring to Starla's estranged husband as "The Squid." Heck, Bill even uses little squid markers to track sightings and cattle depredations (Grant still needs lots of beef) on a map of the surrounding area. When the police finally conduct a successful stakeout and corner Grant in a cattle pasture, the alien overlord barely looks human. He looks like somebody found a way to permanently distort a Stretch Armstrong. Man, that is a bad case of the squids.
In my youth, I never found a way to turn Stretch Armstrong into a tentacle-sprouting mutant, despite several attempts. Going to work on him with pliers just resulted in a rupture, which was terribly messy. Leaving him in the freezer for several hours with c-clamps attached did not come out the way I wanted it. Perhaps exposing Mr. Armstrong to extreme heat, like a fire, would have created a tentacle-waving horror to threaten G.I. Joe. Unfortunately, mom had this rule about me and open flames that spoiled many of my proposed experiments.
During their pursuit of Grant, Bill and the others discover Brenda. Have you ever seen a fully engorged dog tick? Now imagine one the size of a van, with a human face on the front! Needless to say, she is a caricature of what every pregnant woman feels like during the last trimester. That is, until her sides split open and thousands of worms spill out. Some of the horrified onlookers (including Bill, MacReady, and Starla) cover their mouths in time. The others involuntarily swallow squirming alien worms. The process of becoming a worm-infected zombie does not look pleasant.
"Worms" is something of a misnomer, because the little critters look more like lampreys and move in a manner that makes me think of leeches on speed. They really are quite cool, just not the sort of thing you want trying to crawl into your mouth.
The worms infest a nearby farmhouse and, with the exception of one plucky girl, take over everyone inside. Bill leaves Starla and MacReady behind to tend after the people who swallowed worms and goes for help. Where does he end up? At the farmhouse. Thus, both the people left behind at the barn and Bill all discover the real problem at roughly the same time: a worm turns its host into a meat puppet controlled by the alien overlord. Worm zombies also spit toxic goop that causes intense pain, swelling, and death to anybody unlucky enough to be spat upon.
Faced with a horde of worm zombies, Bill, Starla, MacReady, and Kylie jump into a police car and race back to town. They are too late; the worms beat them there. A vehicle rams the car; Starla and MacReady are knocked unconscious and carried away by the alien meat puppets. Bill and Kylie escape and try to find their way to Grant's lair through the mounting alien zombie apocalypse. The hope is that by killing the central intelligence, Grant (Grant), the invaders can be defeated.
This part of the movie is the genius product of a warped sense of humor, because it is interlaced with Starla awakening in her bed and MacReady being injected with breeder juice. All of this is set to Air Supply's "Every Woman in the World," after alien Grant turns on the radio (it was Starla and Grant's song). So, you have MacReady munching a dead woman's body in the cellar to satisfy the cravings caused by his alien babies, as Bill and Kylie stumble through a town filled with zombies that are killing people and dragging dead bodies through the streets. I was laughing so hard at this...this abomination of a love song that I could hardly breathe.
On the other hand, the idea of being trapped in the middle of a circle of bulimics that are projectile-vomiting Drano at me, while Air Supply plays in the background, will surely become the subject of future nightmares.
Obviously, it is up to Bill to avert the world being overrun by extraterrestrial parasites. He is already on the job. Something that works in the hero's favor is the alien's ecology. Killing Grant will destroy the species as a whole. That is the part of the story that mystifies me. I think that there is only one alien master, and it travels from world to world on rogue asteroids. If that were not perilous enough of a life cycle, the master organism has to infect an indigenous animal with its dart, use the new alien overlord host to create a breeder that produces brain worms, and then hope that the local fauna are equipped with mouths for the worms to enter. Slithers must be an advanced biological weapon left over from some ancient intergalactic war. Nothing natural is ever that complicated.
Heck, human sexuality, including the weird subcultures that could hardly be called "natural," is not that complicated.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:
- Darwin's Theory of Evolution does not account for persistence.
- Never poke any sort of extraterrestrial visitor with a stick.
- The difference between a "3/4 ton" and a "1/2 ton" pickup truck is how much raw meat will fit in the back.
- It's no myth that a girl can get pregnant by sitting on the couch with her clothes on.
- Acute cases of Lyme disease are marked by swelling, elastic soft tissue deformation, and an irrational fear of sperm whales.
- The Bible is conspicuously lacking any passages about brain-eating leeches from outer space.
- Never try to out-bitchslap a squid.
- Sticking the business end of your reproductive organ(s) into a propane tank is not a good idea.
- 1 min - Meanwhile, some poor researcher is trying to decipher why whippoorwill fertility rates are down in the local area. Stop doing that, you're confusing the naturalists!
- 7 mins - This bar SUCKS!
- 30 mins - Isn't that just like a woman? Get a pry bar; you are going to ruin a perfectly good softball bat.
- 36 mins - I see that the Brady Bill was highly beneficial to the Wheelsy police armory...
- 41 mins - Were you in USS VD: Ship of Shame?
- 46 mins - Lady, that is the understatement of the year.
- 72 mins - You know, if it was not for fire extinguishers, Mankind would have become extinct years ago.
- 82 mins - Hahahahaha!
- Bill: "What the hell happened to you, Otis?"
Otis Zombie: "Poison ivy out back, maybe?"
Little Girl Zombies: "We're itchy."
Kylie: "No. They're not my parents. They're trying to trick you. The worms are in their brains!"
|Audio clips in wav format
|Starving actors speak out
|Starla: "Oh my God. Baby, what happened to your face?"
Grant: "It's just a bee sting. I'll be all right. I had a little reaction, that's all."
Starla: "We got to get you to the hospital."
Grant: "No, no, no. I already saw Dr. Karl. He gave me a prescription; said it should clear up soon."
|Grant brings the forlornly gestating Brenda a bag full of raw meat.
|MacReady: "You don't know what was in there. You said it was dark. You don't know what the hell you saw."
Deputy: "His arm was all bendy, Mayor."
MacReady: "Well, it's obvious the bastard's got Lyme disease."
MacReady: "Lyme disease. You touch some deer feces, and then you eat a sandwich without washing your hands - you got your Lyme disease."
Bill: "And that makes you look like a squid?"
|Bill and Kylie watch a man being spit on by bulimic zombies.
Bill: "Sweetie, don't look. Don't look."
Kylie: "What are we going to do now?"
Bill: "Probably turn into a couple of these f**ked up things."
Kylie: "That's kind of negative."
Bill: "It's been that sort of day."
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|Starla and MacReady are completely freaked out by the goo-spitting zombies (the meat puppets are also channeling Grant's personality). The distraught young lady blows half the head off of one, but somehow manages to miss the worm inside.
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