This is a very influential movie, made by fans. Dennis Muren (STAR WARS, etc) wrote and directed it (along with Mark McGee) and many other soon to be legends in the effects business (the late Dave Allen, Jim Danforth to name two) worked on it. Muren completed the movie, shopped it around and Jack Harris (THE BLOB, DINOSAURUS, SON OF BLOB) bought it, hired Jack Woods to add some sequences and released it to the world. Or perhaps he released it upon the world?
no one would ever believe that this movie would get a delux DVD release from Criterion. and yet here it is. gives one hope for the eventual release of other landmark monster movies.
Whatever you choose, this set is an amazing ode to the power of Do It Yourself. These teenagers had no idea how to do what they were doing, they just went out and improvised, and set the tone for future effects films, though they hardly knew it at the time. The set is chock full of extras, interviews with the cast and effects teams, trailers, stop-motion shorts, production photos (most never seen before) and both versions of the movie. unfortunately, the 8mm short is not included, though it would have been kind of redundant, but fun anyway. interesting to note while Taurus is featured on the box, he's nowhere to be found in the movie at all.
It also comes with an extensive booklet of liner notes written by filmmaker/writer/genius Brock DeShane. There might be a more informative tome written about this movie, but I sure can’t figure out who would do it.
There are whiners and film snobs that can’t believe Criterion would release a movie like this, but don’t listen to them. Not every worthy film has to be about dark depressing subjects or in a foreign language. While the movies themselves are not that great (not for lack of effort, but Woods’ version definitely has more polish on it than Muren’s) the history is what needs preserving.
The movie involves four teenagers having a picnic lunch in the mountains. They come across a strange man with an old book, and then a variety of monsters show up, much to their horror. The similarities to THE Evil Dead movies and the stupid BLAIR WITCH PROJECT are there to be seen.
And for those that saw GODZILLA 2000 in the theaters, this movie ends with the same QUESTION mark that Jack used in other films.
I wrote this several years ago, when the DVD came out. I'm surprised I have never included it here at all, til now. hard to believe that was five years ago.