Note: This late posting was intended for the week of January 18, 2009.
Welcome to the Bad Movie of the Week. [See the Archive.] This week, Will’s friends Gio, Dan, Kim, and John came into town. They’re elite-level bad movie connoisseurs, and we celebrated the occasion with a number of epic movies, including The Impossible Kid, Grizzly Adams, Deranged, and this week’s feature:
The Manster (1962)
Plot: Dr. Suzuki is a mad Japanese scientist who, for reasons that are not entirely clear, is performing experiments on humans that tend to turn them into rampaging monsters. When he chooses an American reporter named Larry Stanford as his next subject, the effects of Suzuki’s serum drive Stanford into a downward spiral that estranges him from his boss and his wife until he is finally transformed into a hideous, two-headed creature. Very much like Frankenstein if Frankenstein’s monster had started drinking heavily, blowing off work, and sleeping with geishas.
Final score: 3½ (6 is worst). There’s something charming about the movie’s willingness to juxtapose complete, irrational immorality (Dr. Suzuki’s senseless experiments) with a sappy ending in which Larry rejects his dark, unfaithful side and returns to his loving wife. It’s like the makers peered into a grim, dystopian future in which unimaginable technological horrors are unleashed upon humanity, then decided to make that, plus Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It’s not great by any definition, but it makes the most of its own absurdity. Worth watching once.
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Special Honorable Mention:
Ho-ly teenagers, Batman. Packaged in a cheap double DVD like any other bad movie, Deranged turned out to be WAY too well done to be reviewed as such. Based on the real-life story of Ed Gein, who also inspired Psycho, Silence of the Lambs, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Deranged is a low-budget but incredibly effective horror story. Thanks to good pacing and cinematography and a very creepy performance by Robert Blossom, the director manages to create and sustain a mood that had Will and Gio literally twitching with suspense. Well done, Deranged, well done; you have beaten us at our own game.