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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

QUEEN CRAB -- DVD Review by Porfle

"Let me get this straight--your best friend is a giant crab?"

Like one of those old Roger Corman B-movie creature features, or a giant-monster cheapie that wanted to use stop-motion animation for its oversized critters but couldn't afford to get Ray Harryhausen to do it (think MONSTER FROM GREEN HELL or CRATER LAKE MONSTER), the monster-movie spoof QUEEN CRAB (2015) is a giddy, goofy throwback to those hokey flicks we grew up eating TV dinners to.

The first "crab" we see is an ill-tempered young wife and mother who constantly berates her well-meaning but mischievous daughter Melissa and henpecks her nerdy scientist husband whose upstairs laboratory is home to experiments in unnatural animal growth.  While dancing around on the banks of Crabbe Creek Pond, Melissa finds and makes a pet of a small crab which she feeds with some strange berries grown in her father's lab.  You can pretty much guess what happens next.

Skip ahead a decade or two, and Melissa (Michelle Miller, who earlier played the part of Melissa's mother), orphaned by an unfortunate lab explosion, is now an eccentric trigger-happy hermit with an isolated cabin near Crabbe Creek Pond where she can commune with her crab-monster significant other, whom she has dubbed "Goliath."

But encroaching on her personal space are childhood friend Jennifer Kane (Kathryn Metz), now a Hollywood actress popping in for an unexpected visit, and state wildlife agent Stewart MacKendrick (A.J. DeLucia), drawn to the area after examining Sheriff Ray's plaster cast of a giant crab pincer print made at the scene of a cow-devouring. (It seems something really big and awfully hungry has been crashing through barn walls and chowing down on the local livestock.)

What really sets the colossal crustacean off, however, is when she pops out a passel of football-sized crab eggs that are shotgunned by Sally (Yolie Canales), another of the reclusive local loons who all seem to wield shotguns.  The eggs that actually hatch into little baby giant crabs are crunched by a recklessly driving  yokel who laughingly careens all over the highway while his terrified passenger, a woman he picked up after her own narrow escape from the creatures, screams in terror (one of my favorite scenes).

The caustic relationship between burly Sheriff Ray (Ken Van Sant), who raised niece Melissa after her parents' death, and boneheaded deputy Sonny Huggins (Rich Lounello) is also rife with lowbrow humor.  Some of it takes place in the town biker bar where Sonny picks a fight with Jennifer and, unaware that she has received martial arts training for one of her films, gets the old foot to the face until dizzy.

This comic interlude is interrupted, however, by the beginning of what will become a full-scale crab attack, which is when QUEEN CRAB really takes off.  Once Goliath goes into action, the fun barely lets up with a succession of stop-motion animation sequences that are a real treat to anyone who loves this particular medium and is a little tired of seeing nothing but CGI at every turn. 

While not exactly spectacular, the effects are smoothly executed and well integrated into the live action.  One particularly nice shot is when Melissa actually mounts Goliath and rides her "like a pony" as MacKendrick describes it.  It reminded me of one of those shows about a circus kid and their pet elephant.  Also impressive are some of the attack sequences with the crab pursuing her human prey and disposing of them in well-animated fashion.

There's even some nicely rendered miniature backgrounds, model vehicles (including a jeep and an army tank), and a couple of jet planes that dive bomb the creek where Sheriff Ray and a well-armed local militia (called into service with the promise of something to shoot at like they're never seen before) have the Queen Crab cornered.

The acting ranges from serviceable to pretty good, with even the lesser-skilled non-thespians in the cast managing to be rather amusing.  (I like the guy who plays the mechanic filling in for the bartender and getting everyone's drinks wrong.  The guy can't act but he's still funny.)  Prolific schlock filmmaker Brett Piper (TRICLOPS, A NYMPHOID BARBARIAN IN DINOSAUR HELL) handles the technical end of things well enough and knows how to direct this kind of hokey material.

The DVD from Wild Eye Releasing is in widescreen with 2.0 sound.  No subtitles.  Extras include a commentary with director Piper and producer Mark Polonia, a blooper reel, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and trailers for this and other Wild Eye releases including some of Piper's other films. 

It's definitely lightweight stuff and it isn't likely to win many awards, but QUEEN CRAB is the kind of movie that intentionally tries to be "so bad it's good" and actually succeeds.  Although don't be surprised if you pop it into the DVD player and then end up watching it alone after the unenlightened have fled the scene.

Buy it at
Street date: Sept. 29, 2015



Unknown said...

Thank you for the fair and positive review. It is very appreciated. I do have one correction. Danielle Donahue did play the character Daisy, but Daisy was the girl from the bar. Yolie Canales played Sally, the woman with the shotgun.

Porfle Popnecker said...

Glad you liked it, Steve! And thanks for the correction, I'll fix that right away.

Unknown said...

I thot your review was on-the-money. Brett Piper is the best regional filmmaker going today and he certainly knows what to give his audience.

Porfle Popnecker said...

Thanks for the comment!

Michelle Simone said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the Review. Also, one of my favorite parts of the film is the bartender, as well. Did you see the
bloopers?? It was so hard to get through that scene! ��

Porfle Popnecker said...

I never miss the bloopers! Glad you enjoyed the review. Thanks for writing!

b piper said...

Nice review. I'm pleased how many of the "gang" responded. I'd like to send to a link to our newest feature. Where can I reach you?

Porfle Popnecker said...

Thanks for reading and writing! I can be reached at

Mark Onspaugh said...

I was a big fan of Attack of the Crab Monsters as a kid - a film that starts off as a normal creature feature and veers off into nightmare-land... This sounds like a lot of fun and I will have to add it to my queue - thanks for another great review!

Porfle Popnecker said...

Thanks! I appreciate it.