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Thursday, June 16, 2011

MEGA PYTHON VS. GATOROID -- DVD review by porfle


Usually, a combination of the phrases "SyFy Original Movie" and "giant bad-CGI monsters" is enough to give me a severe case of the heebie-jeebies.  Especially if the movie they're referring to has a really dumb title.  Well, unbelievably enough, MEGA PYTHON VS. GATOROID (2011) is the rollicking, rip-roaring, and divinely ridiculous exception to that rule.   

The highlight is a blood-curdling death duel between two of the most horrifying monsters to ever walk the face of the earth.  I'm referring, of course, to 80s teen queens Tiffany and Debbie Gibson.  Debbie, who's gotten a bit wiry in her middle years but is still cute, plays eco-terrorist Nikki with loads of energy.  Tiffany, on the other hand, has filled out considerably since her younger days and, as Seminole State Park Chief Ranger Terry, marks off a few boxes on my fetish checklist with her generous figure, skimpy uniform, and sidearm.  (Sorry if that's too much information.)

When Nikki and her cohorts break into a lab and let loose a bunch of mutant pythons, they grow to gigantic proportions and start eating all the alligators, throwing the local gator hunters out of work.  This is fine with Nikki because she believes pythons belong at the top of the food chain, even if some of the lower links consist of bumbling park rangers, ill-fated fianc├ęs, and comical rednecks.
 


Terry, meanwhile, has the bright idea of loading up a bunch of dead chickens with super-steroids and feeding them to the gators, thus bringing nature into balance again.  ("What's crazy about this--feeding steroids to gators?" she asks her partner, Angie.  "I mean, what could go wrong?")  The result is a horde of colossal alligator-monsters that feast on anything that moves.  Naturally, the pythons start eating their steroid-enhanced eggs and get even bigger, leading to mega-python vs. gatoroid pandemonium throughout the Everglades and eventually in the very streets of downtown Miami. 

Surprisingly, Roger Corman's name doesn't show up anywhere in the credits for this freaky flick.  Horror veteran Mary Lambert (PET SEMETARY, THE ATTIC) directs with a sure hand and keeps things moving at such a rapid clip that the story never has a chance to get boring.  The creature attacks are exciting, suspenseful, over the top, and even a bit nerve-wracking at times, despite the lighthearted tone and resolutely fake-looking CGI.




Willfully cheesy, this movie is positively frothy with deadpan comedy and campy dialogue.  Tiffany and Debbie get off to a good hostile start, nearly sideswiping each other on the road and growling "Bitch!" in unison.  Their environmentalist wacko vs. park ranger animosity is stoked throughout the film ("Looks like somebody had 'bitch' for breakfast!" Debbie taunts during their initial clash), building to the eventual catfight that pays off like a slot machine of fun.  When these legendary rivals go flying over a table during the fancy outdoor ball that Tiffany's throwing to raise money for the park, you can bet all those whipped cream-laden pies aren't just sitting there by accident. 

Another old fave, A Martinez (THE COWBOYS), plays Diego, a scientist who tries to convince the oblivious Terry that her park is becoming a human buffet for ravenous reptiles.  His skills as a pilot and demolitions expert will come in handy during the story's frantic climax, as Terry and Nikki join him in trying to lure the rampaging beasts out of the city and into a dynamite-laden deathtrap.  As Terry's elderly partner Angie, Kathryn Joosten has some of the best lines and delivers them with an exquisitely dry wit.  Ex-Monkee Micky Dolenz shows up at the fund-raising ball, upping the film's nostalgia value even more.



The DVD from Image Entertainment is in 1.78:1 widescreen with Dolby 5.1 surround sound.  No subtitles.  Extras consist of the film's trailer and a making-of featurette. 

Now, please don't take all of my giddy ravings as an indication that MEGA PYTHON VS. GATOROID is some kind of a great movie, because it isn't, of course.  But compared to all the other goofy "hybrid-creature" SyFy Channel flicks of its ilk that I've sat through recently, it's freaking CITIZEN KANE. 


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