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In the last few years most of the major networks have abandoned the concept of original programming on Saturday night. While everyone else relied on re-runs the Sci-Fi channel, now using the nom de voyage of SyFy, began producing quick and cheap flick to provide something a little different. The resulting movies frequently showed their lack of budget and abbreviated shooting schedule. This made these movies the target of a lot of negative comments by the fan base and the use of the term ‘Saturday night Special’. The thing is I have seen quite a few of these movies, not all as a review assignment. I admit that I have set my DVR to catch a few just for the fun of it. Perhaps this is a generational effect that baby boomers can appreciate the sheer entertainment value of a ‘B’ flick such as the one under scrutiny here; ‘Razortooth’. In the fifties we would go to the local movie house on a Saturday afternoon and be treated to a newsreel, a couple of cartoons, and an action serial and, of course, there was the main feature. In A small, neighborhood theater they would never run a large scale film at this time; we typically got Sci-Fi/Horror movie frequently with words like ‘Incredible’, ‘Amazing’ or ‘Gargantuan’ in the title. It was not uncommon to catch a glimpse of a zipper on the monster costume or be able to see the fishing line attached to the flying creature. Realistic special effects were beyond the meager budget of these films so we just went with the flow blissfully ignoring the obvious. We realized we were not going to see a work of great cinema; we were there for the fun and fantasy of it all. It was the experience that we craved not technical perfection. The flicks from SyFy were exactly like those old monster movies. What they lack in craft the made up for in campy entertainment.

Writing the script for this flick required two people; Matt Holly and Jack Monroe. Both had some minor acting gigs but this is the freshman screenplay for both. Initially it comes across as just another low end genre fair but upon the second viewing I came to the conclusion that it was intended as a sort of homage to those old horror flicks. There is a lot of tongue in cheek humor that seems to poke fun at the old flick utilizing just about every stereotype you can envision. I think the modern audiences have grown up jaded by the incredible special effects many new movies have. Of course they also have budgets that soar beyond the gross national product of many countries. The budget for this flick was about $ million which would not purchase coffee on a large scale production. For a film to come across as this one does there are only two possibilities; the writers intended it to be darkly humorous or they have lived in total isolation never seeing a fifties horror flick. I prefer to believe the former. If you do submit this story to a cursory examination you will discover a nicely crafted balance of humor with the pre-requisite blood and gore. Just try not to think too much about things like continuity or back-story. This is not the kind of flick conducive to analysis.

Pair of convicts has escaped and are running through s Florida swamp. The police in pursuit are set upon by a giant eel with rows of nice sharp teeth an apparently an insatiable appetite. One of the offices is bitten in half leaving his torso pulling him in an attempt to get away. Most of the victims get a few moments of life after an eel attack, just long enough to spit out a very viscous fake blood. Keeping in the tradition of these Saturday night special the death scenes are very obviously phony, almost laughable but that is consistent with the format of classic old horror movies. There are several plot lines running at simultaneously. Besides the escape cons there is animal control officer Delmar Coates (Doug Swander) who is the local handsome guy which isn’t saying all that much since much of the local male population seems more inbreed than the locals in ‘Deliverance’. The local teen girls flirt with him even though he is carrying dead rats through the dinner. He is recently divorced from the town’s sheriff, Ruth Gainey Coates (Kathleen LaGue) whose insignia of rank are upside down sergeant strips. Then there is the researcher, Dr. Soren Abramson (Simon Page) who has some interns coming to the swamps for a little extra credit. This little group of potential eel food includes another genre requirement, the pretty, busty blond girl, Holly Shulbert (Kate Gersten). Rounding out the cast are various redneck and trailer folk to make sure the huge creature receives an ample supply of meal albeit too high in cholesterol to be healthy even for a genetically mutated swamp eel. The flick is a first effort for director Patricia Harrington. She has a rough style that needs some honing but she does pace the movie well enough. The first kill is only five minutes in and the degree of difficult ramps up with a dark comic effect; a woman gets pull through her shower drain while one heavy set an is consumed in an outhouse. This would do for an afternoon when the guys are over but the game is rained out.

Posted 02/10/2010

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