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Strangeness, The Print E-mail
User Rating: / 7
Written by Chris Mayo   
Sunday, 20 January 2008

Directed by: David Michael Hillman
Written by: David Michael Hillman, Chris Huntley
Produced by: David Michael Hillman, Chris Huntley, Mark Sawicki
Cinematography by: Stephen Greenfield, Kevin O'Brien
Edited by: Stephen Greenfield, Kevin O'Brien
Makeup effects by: Chris Huntley, Mark Sawicki
Original Music by: David Michael Hillman, Chris Huntley
Cast: Dan Lunham, Terri Berland, Rolf Theison, Keith Hurt, Mark Sawicki, Chris Huntley, Diane Borcyckowski, Robin Sortman, Arlene Buchmann
Year: 1985
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 90 Minutes

“Blood Chilling Horror!”

We are briefly introduced to Amy and Brian, hiking in the middle of nowhere at an awkward hour.  The two are hired to blow open an abandoned mine called “Golden Spike”, home to many an Indian ledged of a protective creature guarding the mine.  Before we get to know these characters (or care to) they are not given the chance to complete their job, for they run into The Strangeness

Sometime later another group returns to Golden Spike, with differing motivations.  Some are hired to investigate the re-opening of the mine.  Some are in it for the money.  Some are there for photography or writing purposes.  Others are purely tagalongs on this exploration.  Once deep in the bowels of Golden Spike, the crew runs into some difficulty when the cavern they are investigating caves in.  That seems to be the least of their worries for one of the film’s characters, Angela who manages to be away from the others on the other side of the cavern when it collapses.  She submits to the beast.  Some may find a way out, while others may succumb to greediness.  Or, will they all succumb to… The Strangeness?

For the most part The Strangeness takes place deep in the claustrophobic confines of the mine.  When the wheels of the film’s leisurely pace start turning, the victim visuals are unleashed.  Many scenes are surprisingly filmed with an atmospherically creepy tone, in which I did not expect.  In one sequence, a female photographer snaps photos in the blackness of the cave.  As the flash bulb pops, the tentacled-terror gets closer and closer with every snapshot.  This is finalized by her fatality.  Another scene involves one of the men wrought with gore, and foaming at the mouth while encapsulated by the creature’s own slimy bile.  Another shows a man’s face covered in the very same goop, but looks more like a bukkake experiment than an attack from a creature like The Blob.  Who knows, maybe The Strangeness is in fact Japanese and shares the same sexual fetishes as many a man in Japan.  After all, the monster is Octopus-esque, with the long tentacles and all!  Shokku-shu kei anyone?

All jokes aside, The Strangeness is indeed a monster movie.  Rather than the monstrosity residing within a river or lake (Spawn of the Slithis) or arriving from outer space (Blood Suckers From Outer Space), this giant intestinal tentacle pronged creature comes from the bowels of a grotto!  Effects are sub-standard, even for a film from the 80’s, and its budget shows the film’s limitations.  It does utilize the 80’s makeup effects standard, which was stop motion animation, but shows them in a form similar to the earlier works of Ray Harryhausen.  I believe the amateur effects add to the films camp value and charming nature.  You gotta love the scene where the tentacle beast nabs and kills one of the men which is completely orchestrated with clay!













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