Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Crater Lake Monster (1977)

The eponymous monster is easily the best thing in this film. Not that this is saying much, you understand. But the stop motion sequences are solid, and while the full-size effects aren't of the same standard, they're certainly a step above the acting, the script, or the laughable 'meteor' sequence.

Things start promisingly enough, with lots of excited babble about the greatest discovery in the history of science (perhaps it could mean actual advances in the field of science!). This excitement stems from some Native American cave paintings, thousands of years old, which feature a plesiosaur. Needless to say, these are some of the least authentic-looking cave paintings you've ever seen. It's quickly followed by the equally inauthentic meteor mentioned above, which prompts further excitement. Two scientific discoveries! Two, ah ha ha!

Inexplicably, the excitable scientists (and the sheriff who has been helping them) now disappear from the movie for most of the next 45 minutes, so we can follow around two men of limited intelligence who are renting out boats to holidays makers on the lake. Said holiday makers end up dead or traumatised by monster attacks, but precious little time is actually devoted to those sequences, with the film makers instead focusing on the 'funny' antics of the would-be entrepeneurs.

The sheriff and scientists finally reappear in the movie when the former engages in the world's dullest shootout near the lake's edge. His criminal adversary ends up as monster chow, and the film stumbles aimlessly toward its lacklustre conclusion. Poor not-Nessy deserved better than this.

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