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Movies 4 You: 4 Film Horor Classics [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

Demon of Paradise
The makers of this '50s monster-movie throwback must have greatly enjoyed the Wisconsin-lensed Bog -- since this film lifts that regional clunker's premise in its entirety and merely transplants it into a pleasant Polynesian locale. Yet another prehistoric terror from the deep (i.e. diver in cheap latex suit) rises from its eons-long nap after being rudely awakened by boozy, dynamite-fishing locals, slinking among the swaying palms to snack on unsuspecting tourists. That is, until the local Sheriff (of course) teams up with the owner of a popular resort to stand around and talk a lot... and eventually put an end to the beast's bloodthirsty rampage. There's even a convenient reptile expert on hand to kick around pseudo-scientific nonsense and pad out the film's runtime with even more inane dialogue. For more Italian variations on the same tired theme, masochistic viewers may want to seek out Up from the Depths (from the same director, no less!) and Devilfish. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

Piranha
The sophomore effort for director Joe Dante, a future protégé of Steven Spielberg, this low-budget, high-camp horror spoof of Jaws (1977) features several chiller stars of yesteryear. Insurance investigator Maggie McKeown (Heather Menzies) is dispatched to find two missing teenage hikers near Lost River Lake. She hires surly backwoods drunkard Paul Grogan (Bradford Dillman) to serve as her guide. Searching the area, they find an abandoned military facility. The only resident is Dr. Robert Hoak (Kevin McCarthy), former head of a top-secret project to breed piranha for use in the Vietnam War. The project was closed down years ago, but Hoak has continued raising a deadly strain of the flesh-eating fish. When Hoak is knocked unconscious, Maggie and Paul accidentally release the piranha into a local river, which leads to the lake where a children's summer camp and a newly opened tourist resort will provide plenty of fish food for the hungry predators. Maggie and Paul race to warn the locals, but their pleas fall on skeptical ears, such as those of resort owner Buck Gardner (Dick Miller) -- until the piranha reach the swimmers. Piranha (1978) was co-written by John Sayles, making his motion picture debut. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi

Humanoids from the Deep
This gory, scary low-budget shocker from the Roger Corman stable concerns the battle over a salmon cannery in a Pacific Northwest town. Genetically treated salmon escape the plant and are eaten by coelacanths, who mutate into humanoid monsters with giant craniums and sharp claws. The creatures begin attacking teen couples, killing the boys and mating with the girls (in some pretty graphic monster-rape scenes). Eventually, a bunch of them create total pandemonium at the annual salmon festival. Barbara Peeters directs with flair, Rob Bottin's effects are nauseatingly effective, and the cast is good, especially Vic Morrow as a racist fisherman and Doug McClure as the stalwart hero. An uncompromising shockfest with enough gratuitous blood and nudity to keep fans happy, the film features an Alien-inspired shock ending which still makes viewers jump today. ~ Robert Firsching, Rovi

Up from the Depths
A group of fishermen and seamen band together to fight a monstrous finny fiend that is terrorizing a resort. They are in humorous competition with hotel guests, who hope to win a prize by killing the beast. In one particularly grisly bit of humor, a dead fisherman's body is put to really good use. The director was a scriptwriter for the Roger Corman version of A Little Shop of Horrors, and the antic sensibilities he showed there also inform this peculiar little movie. ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi

Cast & Crew

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    Joe Mari Avellana - Blue
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    Fred Bailey - Ike
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    Bill Baldridge - Stan
  • Laura Banks
    Laura Banks - Cohill
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    Ramon D'Salva - Father
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