Friday, September 19, 2008

Satan's Little Helper (2004)

Possibly due to his extremely low output, writer-director Jeff Lieberman is hardly a household name among genre fans, despite the fact that at least two of his past titles—Squirm (Trailer) and Blue Sunshine (Trailer) (both 1976, the latter starring a young Zalmon King)—are well known if not legendary cult favorites. Moreover, his 1981 slasher Just Before Dawn (Trailer) is regularly acknowledged as one of the great unjustifiably unknowns of the Golden Age of the genre, while another film that he himself refers to as his worst (due to studio interference), 1988’s Remote Control, also continually receives good mouth propaganda by those who have seen it. His theatrical releases are generally pegged as well-made, offbeat and creative horror films that usually take a less beaten path to reach their ends.
In that sense, Satan's Little Helper (2004), his first cinema film in over 15 years is no exception. (Though the film did actually go straight to DVD, it was obviously made for the bigger screen.) Regrettably, as unusual and well-made as the film is, it also suffers enough flaws to disappoint even as it manages to intrigue. Satan’s Little Helper is definitely an idiosyncratic and original project, with a basic premise that promises a lot, but due to the miscasting of an integral role and a few (probably intentionally) unresolved aspects of the story, the film (at times) becomes a bit more disagreeable than it should be.
Just like in his entertaining anti-drug film Blue Sunshine, Lieberman attempts to endow Satan’s Little Helper with a moral or two—the main one probably something about the evil influence of video game on young impressionable minds—but unfortunately the rather quaint concept of the evil influence of pop entertainment (an argument that has gone from EC comics to Tom & Jerry to (the original) Starsky & Hutch or even the Teletubbies and onwards) suffers immensely due to the acting if the little brat playing Dougie, "Satan's Little Helper" (Alexander Brickel): he seems less ruined by the violence of the game than simply retarded. Indeed, his total lack of any ability to grasp reality and his continual stupidity is what ruins the film; had Lieberman managed to make the character just a little more likeable and far less unbelievably intellectually handicapped, the movie would probably have been a genre treasure. (In this sense, the film might have been more effective had Lieberman cast a child with Down's Syndrome instead of a normal kid acting as if he had it.) Still, in all truth, any film in which a character (Dougie's stacked sister Jenna, played by blonde babe Katheryn Winnick) logically and rightly deduces at one point that "Jesus is Satan" can’t be all bad. And Satan's Little Helper isn't: aside from its general quirkiness and odd humor, the cinematography is great, there are a few true scary and/or shocking moments (as well as few blackly funny ones), and some of the acting is truly effective (Amanda Plummer deserves special kudos for being such a believable mother to the unbelievable son). It’s just a shame that for every good aspect of the film, there seems to be a bad one (or two), too.
Dougie Whooly is a mentally under-developed kid with an obsession for a handheld video game called "Satan’s Little Helper" in which you gain points by helping Satan kill people. When his older sister comes home from college for Halloween with her new boyfriend (Stephan Graham as Alex), the incestuously inclined brat ("Jenna’s my girlfriend; I’m gonna marry her.") throws a hissy fit and storms out the house. Wandering the streets of the obviously New England island community, he sees a big man wearing an impressive Satan's mask and a long coat putting (real) dead bodies in decorative Halloween poses. Thrilled by what he sees (and believes is just make believe), Dougie convinces the silent Satan (who never speaks once throughout the whole film) to let him be his Little Helper. Throughout much of what follows, Dougie is there and cheering on as Satan slices and dices or even runs people (including a pregnant woman) over with a shopping cart, never once realizing that the death and destruction is real. (As mentioned before, Dougie is playing with an obvious less than a full house.) One of the most effectively disturbing scenes in the whole film is when Dougie brings Satan home and everyone thinks it is Alex playing the part, so Jenna isn't exactly repelled when he starts feeling her up. (There’s also a nasty scene with a cat that will definitely upset cat lovers.) Things change a bit when Daddy Whooly (Wass Stevens) shows up and promptly gets disemboweled in front of the whole family, but by then there seems no way to stop Satan's trail of bloody chaos, for he has already killed the only five cops on the island. Nonetheless, even as the island falls into anarchy, Satan takes Momma Whooly (Pumber) to the big party being thrown by the town mayor to continue his carnage (another at times highly effective and truly blackly humorous interlude of the film). But from there, despite some truly inspired concepts—a secondary moral to the film seems to be that everyone wears masks so you have to look beyond the face you see—the film devolves to a disturbing and disappointing ending.
To move away from the intellectual third-person form and into the personal first-person, when we were watching this flick at our weekly "bad film night," the three of us guys were groaning all the time. (Normally we are four, but the engineer is currently in Afghanistan doing reconstruction work. He, like I, likes a broad spectrum of films; the lawyer prefers trash like Samurai Werewolf I and II or Nikos, while the architect tends towards films that surprise, such as Coffy, Nicotina or Sars Wars.) Among other things that made us want to throw pretzels when watching Satan's Little Helper other than Dougie being way too stupid was that who the fuck Satan was or why he chose that specific island community is never explained; that the mayor on the hill—or, for that matter, anyone at the party—never gets word that the town down below is falling into chaos is unbelievable, as was the fact that no one at the party realizes that people are dying there and that Momma Whooly isn't performing a joke; that Jenna never gets naked; that Satan covers distances requiring a car in mere minutes; and a variety of other petty complaints (including the disturbing end). But that all said, and although we left that night screaming "raspberry," when we got together the next week again we all had to admit that we found ourselves thinking about the film over the week that followed—and believe me, we don't exactly watch films that lend to thought. All of us had to agree that as much as the film aggravated us while watching it, in retrospect it was something totally different and, as a whole and despite its flaws, a pretty good film.
Sounds, I guess, like a typical Jeff Lieberman genre film. You might not like it, but Satan's Little Helper is definitely a truly one-of-a-kind and original film. And if for no other reason than that, it is a film definitely worth watching. Why doesn't this guy make more films?

The Cat and the Canary (Great Britain, 1979)

A dark and stormy night deep in a forest at a far, far away mansion named Glencliff Manor, a group of nine people, mostly relatives who don't seem to really like each other, come for the reading of the will of a rich, cranky curmudgeon who died some twenty years earlier. Old tensions and new attractions arise as but a single heir is named, the stipulation being that all guests must spend the night, for if the first beneficiary named goes insane within the next twelve hours, a new heir will be designated. But wait! Not only is there a valuable diamond necklace hidden in the house, but a mad killer has escaped from the loony-bin down the road. Is the heiress named losing her marbles? Where do all the secret passages go? Who is going to survive the night? Why do only the women change into skimpy night clothes?
Arguably, more so than James Whale's The Old Dark House (1932) and Roland West's The Bat* (1925)—and, in turn, West's own remake of his silent film five years later The Bat Whispers (1930)—the original version of The Cat and the Canary (1927) is probably the first and last word in comic, old dark house murder mysteries. This 1979 version is, of course, a remake of a remake of a remake of a film version of a play by John Willard (who actually directed the first remake, The Cat Creeps, in 1930). The original film version of The Cat and the Canary was made by the great and unjustly forgotten German émigré director Paul Leni, whose brief Hollywood career ended much too early in 1929 when he died at the age of 44 from blood poisoning caused by an ulcerated tooth. Leni, who first made noticeable waves as a director in Germany with his expressionistic film Das Wachsfigurenkabinett/ Waxworks (1924), was brought over from Germany by Carl Laemmle, head of Universal Studios, and made four macabre genre films of note before his untimely death.
Paul Leni followed The Cat and the Canary with The Chinese Parrot (1928), the first Charlie Chan film ever made and a lost film. The morbid drama The Man Who Laughs** (1928), the murder mystery The Last Warning (1928) and the horror comedy The Cat and the Canary, however, all still exist and are all, in one way or another, early masterpieces of "American" film and feature some truly groundbreaking and stunning touches, many of which went on to become clichés of the industry. Aside from the crisp, clear cinematography, Leni's films feature excellent usage of lighting, effective shadows, noteworthy set design and imaginative compositions, camera moves and angles. Like his fellow-countryman F. W. Murneau, whom time and history has treated much more kindly despite an equally untimely early death, Leni was the perfect example of an auteur filmmaker long before the concept was even coined. (Leni died while in the midst of preparing his next film with the German émigré actor Conrad Veidt, a small project for Universal called Dracula. Anyone who has actually seen any of Leni's unjustly forgotten oeuvre will undoubtedly agree that had he been able to see that project through, the final result would have in all likelihood been much better than the rather static and campy final version of Dracula (1931) we all know today.)
If the historical background of The Cat and the Canary alone doesn't pique one's interest in watching the 1979 version of the movie, then the director who made it should. Like that of Paul Leni, the name Radley Metzger is hardly a familiar name to the masses, although quiet a number of today's moms and dads have probably seen at least one of the movies he made under his nom de plume Henry Paris in the 1970s during the "Golden Age of Porno." Amongst others, his most stylish and enjoyable dick-hardeners are probably The Opening of Misty Beethoven (1976) (short clip), Barbara Broadcast (1977) and Maraschino Cherry (long clip, the sex cut out) (1978). (In 1975 he also directed a hardcore version of the famous best seller Naked Came the Stranger, supposedly written by one "Penelope Ashe" but later revealed to have been written by a pool of 25 Newsweek writers, each of whom supplied a different chapter written after the following guidelines: no plot or character development, no social insight, no verbal skill and at least two sex scenes. The book is easy to get on eBay.)
Aside from his famed and often arty filmic masturbation aids, however, Metzger also has a long history in the late 1960's of making interesting and arty Euro-erotica, most of it being so many miles ahead of anything else produced at the time in regards to aesthetic values and artistic pretensions that it does the films great disservice to label them simply as soft-core porn. Virtually all his films at this time are considered highpoints of the genre and include such cult favorites as The Lickerish Quartet (1967/Trailer), Carmen, Baby (1967/Trailer), Therese & Isabelle (1968)/Trailer), The Alley Cats (1968/Trailer), Camille 2000 (1969) and Little Mother (1973). (Metzger actually delved into anatomically correct and functioning close-ups the first time in 1972 in Score, which not only was once available in both a hardcore and soft-core version but was also decidedly bisexual and featured both homosexual and heterosexual sex scenes. Filmed in Yugoslavia and utilizing some of the crew left over from Fiddler on the Roof (1971), the movie may have looked up-scale but it was a flop at the box office. Score features an early starring role of the one-time popular hardcore gay actor Casey Donovan (billed as Cal Culver); Donovan, pictured here in his full glory, died of complications related to AIDS in August 1987.) Further back and even more obscure in his career, Metzger edited the classic B&W "guilty pleasure" The Flesh Eaters (1962/Trailer)....
But if the history of The Cat and the Canary and the directors of the original and the remake don't ignite some interest, then some of the cast of the remake should. The most interesting names, their performance aside, are probably Honor Blackman, Michael Callan, Wendy Hiller, Olivia Hussey, Carol Lynley and Wilfrid Hyde-White. Obviously, most of the names and faces are as English as the entire production, but two American names do stick out: Carol Lynley and Michael Callan.
Lynley actually headlines as Annabelle West, the heiress and heroine of the movie. Although an American in real life, Lynley's accent in the movie is flawless, rather unlike her career. In all truth, by 1979 her career was beginning to be an imitation of The Poseidon Adventure (1972/Trailer), the hit film in which she lip-synched the Top 40 song There's Got to Be a Morning After. Soon to be found only on television, thereafter her most memorable performance outside of the boob-tube was her I'm-here-give-me-the-check-I'm-gone performance in The Howling: The Freaks (1991)/Trailer) or when she let her naked tits do the talking in Blackout (1988).
Fewer people might remember Michael Callan, who plays Paul Jones, the American cousin and good guy of the film, from parts of varying importance in Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961), Chained Heat (1983/Trailer), Freeway (1988/Trailer)—which was once accused of causing copycat crimes—or Leprechaun 3 (1995/Trailer). His career never went downhill because he never really had one, so, obviously enough, The Cat and the Canary is one of the highpoints of his résumé.
Rather unlike both Honor Blackman and Olivia Hussey, who play an unabashed (if discreet, by the standards of today) lesbian couple in the movie. Honor, of course, is remembered by most for her role as Pussy Galore in the much over-rated James Bond flick Goldfinger (1964/Trailer), but others remember her much more fondly for Jason & the Argonauts (1963/Trailer), Fright (1971/Trailer), To the Devil a Daughter (1976/Trailer) or the two years she spent kicking butt on The Avengers. Likewise, the undeniably gorgeous Olivia Hussey is generally remembered from Romeo & Juliet (1968/Trailer), but some people prefer her career-destroying roles in movies such as Black Christmas (1974/Trailer), Turkey Shoot (1981/Trailer) or Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990/Trailer).
Two familiar faces to which few people can probably place a name are Wilfrid Hyde-White as Cyrus West, the dead guy leaving the inheritance, and Wendy Hiller as Allison Crosby, the stiff lawyer who reads the will and eventually gets her throat cut. Hyde-White is a familiar character actor whose career goes back even further than his appearance in The Third Man (1949/Trailer), while Hiller, who won an Oscar in 1958 for her supporting role in Separate Tables, was primarily a stage actor who only occasionally took film roles.
So, after this brief history lesson, let's take a look at what we got: A 1979 remake of a classic film, the first (and last) attempt to go mainstream by an erotic auteur, made in England and featuring numerous familiar faces and names. Add that all up, and what do you get?
Well, to tell the complete truth, a pretty crappy film.
In his attempt to go mainstream, Metzger made the mistake of taking a story that, despite being a classic in its earliest form, has dated horribly. Even worse, not only does he do nothing in any way that can be called an improvement, he even manages to make some truly dubious choices in terms of story development and direction. The jokes are lame, the characterization often questionable and mostly bad, the intentionally hokey acting aggravating, the plot development inconsistent and, worst of all, the whole film is as innately homophobic and misogynistic as it is thoroughly boring. True, he does do one or two interesting tricks with the camera—like in the scene of the reading of the will when Mrs. Pleasant's movements coincide with the her movements caught on film some twenty years earlier—and there is an occassional scintillating line of dialogue, but not only is most of the rest of The Cat and the Canary visually dull or sloppy, even the few flourishes he displays pale terribly to those found in the 1927 version. Unforgivably careless are oversights such as how, after Hendricks (Edward Fox) comes crashing through a window, the window magically repairs itself for the rest of the movie. Or, for example, how the killer doesn't kill some people—though he has the chance and no reason not to—just because they are needed again later in the film to advance the plot. Worse, it is somehow a bit un-understandable that the only deaths (aside from the baddies at the end) are that of a somewhat militant female lawyer and one-half of a lesbian couple, and that main aspect used to show the degeneracy of the killer(s) is their decidedly sadism-tinged homosexual relationship. Lastly, Carol Lynley is simply miscast as the lead. True, she may have a perfect accent, but she has no charisma. (Not only that, but the way she and Callan ham it up is as palatable as Spam.) In this regard, Metzger would have been much better served to have cast Olivia Hussey in the lead instead of keeping her in the background as the surviving-half of the lesbian couple. (Okay, so she can't act—but unlike Lynley, she does have presence.)
All in all, Metzger's version of The Cat and the Canary tries hard to be a camp comedy-thriller but fails in every way to be anything enjoyable. No tension, no terror, few laughs, very little fun. Truly regrettable, seeing how that this is not only the most mainstream of all his films but also his last non-porn project before he retired from filmmaking in 1984.

*Bob Kane’s inspiration for Batman. **Bob Kane's inspiration for The Joker.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Island of Lost Souls (England/USA, 1932)

(Spoilers) Trailer. Eleven years after Urban Gad’s Die Insel der Verschollenen, the German silent version of H.G. Wells’ classic science fiction horror novel The Island of Dr. Moreau, director Erle C. Kenton helmed the first official sound adaptation, Island of Lost Souls. Gad’s film had been thought to be lost, but it received a rare screening of a rediscovered print at the 2000 Berlinale before disappearing into the vaults somewhere again. Kenton’s film, on the other hand, even occasionally turns up on television; and, without a doubt, as claimed by Michael Weldon of The Psychotronic Encyclopedia, it is also one of the best horror films ever made.
Definitely strong stuff for its day, the film was not only castigated by H.G. Wells as being "vulgar" but was promptly banned by the British Board of Film Censors. Fast paced and well acted, Charles Laughton shines as yet another mad scientist, the plump, perverse and sadistic Dr. Moreau, dressed as a typical English Colonial Imperialist, out to accelerate the natural development of nature and to create human beings from animals while asking "Do you know what it means to feel like God?"
Living on an island populated with the failed mutations of past experiments, creatures whom he keeps in control by flipping a whip more savagely than Michael Pfeiffer ever did, Dr. Moreau decides to take advantage of the unexpected arrival of shipwreck victim Edward Parker (Richard Arlen) to find out whether his most successful creation, the Panther Woman, is capable of love and/or mating with a human. The even more unexpected arrival of Arlen’s fiancée Ruth (Leile Hyams) does little to damper his plans; rather, Dr. Moreau decides to use her as the mate for one of his less successful, more repulsively animalistic creatures. (Leile Hyams, by the way, was a highly popular star of the early talkies. Today, if she is remembered at all, then it is due to her role in this film, her part as Venus in Freaks (also 1932), and, perhaps, her role in The Big House (1930).) The machinations he sets in action to complete his plans result in the uprising of his savage creations, which eventually turn upon and destroy their god and his House of Pain.
Next to Charles Laughton, the true standout amongst the cast in Island of Lost Souls is, without a doubt, Kathleen Burke as the Panther Woman, a forgotten, seldom (if ever) again to be seen starlet of exotic beauty who manages to transcend her minuscule wardrobe and exude an innocent and naive, feline sexuality that is well suited for her character. In the long run, she is much more memorable and likable than any of the characters who manage to survive the film’s climactic attack of mutants. (Oddly enough, the qualities so evident in the film are not caught in photographs.)
Headlining star Richard Arlen was, at the time he made Island of Lost Souls, a star on decline who quickly moved down to the rank of an extremely busy and long lasting B-movie regular. Though having such highs in his career as a lead role in William Wellman’s silent classic Wings (1927), after Island of Lost Souls Arlen’s career was reduced mostly to C-budget westerns and third-rate film series such as the 14 long forgotten "comedy adventure" films made with Andy Devine between 1939 & 1941. These seldom screened atrocities from Universal, the "best" being commonly viewed as The Devil’s Pipeline (1940) and Raiders of The Desert (1941), are said to be examples of what type of films director Ed Wood might have made had he ever graduated to the ranks of generic B-Film making: budgetless movies with idiotic, senseless plots going nowhere written around and padded by an inordinate amount of salvaged stock footage.
Director Erle C. Kenton, on the other hand, didn't really also followed Arlen’s decline down the ladder to B-Films as much as he did simply continue his sound career as a lower-echelon director; more than anything else, Island of Lost Souls, a true genre masterpiece, is an anomaly in his career. Although he did helm some mildly entertaining but substandard entries in the Universal monster classics (including The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942/Trailer), The House of Frankenstein (1944/Trailer) and The House of Dracula (1945/Trailer), Kenton also filmed such legendary trash like the Kroger Babb production Bob and Sally (1948), the infamous sleaze producer’s follow up to his notorious roadshow exploitation classic Mom and Dad (1945). Bob and Sally, like its predecessor, was originally shown to sexually segregated audiences in tents that came into town and later left, much like a carnival. Containing footage of live and cesarean births and trying to encompass almost every illicit sexual topic of the time, the film is yet another camp magnum opus waiting for rediscovery.
All this trivia aside, and returning to the topic of this review, Island of Lost Souls will definitely please any and all fans of classic B&W horror films of yesteryear. But, unlike The Mummy (1932) or Frankenstein (1931), it might give rise to some mildly uncomfortable questions if you show it to your littler kids.

Mosquito Man/Mansquito (2005)

(Trailer) The writing talents behind this direct-to-DVD project are credited to four men, two for the story (Kenneth M. Badish and Boaz Davidson, otherwise known as Nu Image Film) and two for the script (Ray Cannella and Michael Hurst). Assuming (as logic would dictate) that Badish & Davidson—who are also responsible for the stories to the enjoyable B-flicks Larva and Alien Lockdown, two other Nu Image productions mutant monster films directed by another director named Tim Cox—are the ones accountable for the plot itself, one can only assume that somewhere along the way during their quest for a new mutant monster storyline they happened to watch the Alan-Ormsby-scripted body count flick Popcorn (1991/Trailer). Popcorn is about a serial killer on the loose at an all-night festival screening of obscure (and make-believe) "cult" films, and in the course of the real flick (Popcorn) outtakes of the make-believe flicks are shown, including, amongst other The Stench (with Oderama), Attack of the Amazing Electrified Man and The Mosquito. Obviously, The Mosquito stuck in their minds, for now there really does exist a mutant-mosquito monster movie, namely: Mosquito Man (aka Mansquito). Oddly enough, in both the imaginary film in Popcorn and this bloody excursion into bad-plastic-monster-costume-land, the basic fact that male mosquitoes don’t suck blood is completely ignored. In the case of this film, at least, it is better so for the viewer: remove the bloody excesses of the thirsty-monster-on-a-rampage scenes from the flick and you really wouldn’t have much left.
Like the persiflage horror film in Popcorn, Mosquito Man takes itself very seriously – perhaps even too seriously. But that is possibly to be expected, seeing that the film is directed by Tibor Takács. Takács, Hungarian born, has made a career in Canada of directing television movies and bad action films with serious aplomb: almost a working man’s director, his direction is solid and to the point, never overly creative or innovative—despite the almost artsy tendencies sometimes found in I, Madman (1989/Trailer) and The Gate (1987/Trailer), the two horror films with which he originally gained attention. But then, considering how hokey the whole idea of a radioactivity-mutated mosquito man is, perhaps it’s a good thing that it was given a serious-minded director like Takács. Still, his work, though professional and serious, could use a little bit more flare, for in comparison to the two mutant monster films of the youthful Tim Cox mentioned above, for example, Takács direction seems slightly immobile and static; a little movement and fluidity it the shots does wonders to improve the drama and flow and excitement of gore-laden b-films like these.
An added, probably wholly unintentional entertaining aspect to the film that makes it oddly heartwarming is the strangely studio-bound sound of the film’s dubbing: were the film cast with a few more obvious Europeans and the look a bit less successfully American, one could almost imagine that they are watching some modern Eurotrash flick... though Eurotrash would surely have had a lot more naked skin than this film does.
In regard to that aspect, Mansquito is an obviously typical b-film product of our time: high on blood and gore, low on T&A. Had this film been made back in the 70s (whether in the US, Canada or anywhere in Europe), it would have been a much trashier piece of trash, and therefore probably all the more enjoyable. When did exploitation film stop exploiting T&A and only start offering blood and guts? To miss the chance of having a hot babe writhing naked in pain on the bathroom floor (ala Marilyn Chamber in Rabid (1977) OK, she wore a t-shirt, but it was wet and see-through) like they do in this film when the hot babe (Musetta Vander) writhes in pain on the bathroom floor wearing Fredericks of Hollywood is truly an unforgivable sin, but a sin that is common to almost all low budget trash made today. Does no one out there find it weird that it is obviously OK to see people impaled and beheaded and squashed, but that nary a two-second naked jiggle is even conceivable? How could the world of cheap exploitation films ever degenerate to such a gonadless level? Where did things start to go so wrong... (With Reagan, actually, but that's a subject for some other blog.)
Taking its cue from Mimic (1997), Mosquito Man starts by explaining how a mosquito-borne sickness is ravaging mankind. Good girl and totally fuckable scientist Dr. Jennifer Allen (Musetta Vander) is working on a cure using (among other things) radioactivity-induced mutation. Her main squeeze is Police Lt. Tom Randall (Corin Nemic – not the best actor in the world), who is happy because a mass murderer he caught named Ray Erikson (Matt Jordon) is due to be executed that night. Little do they know that Jennifer’s asshole boss Dr. Michaels (Jay Benedictz) has set things up for Ray is to be used as a human guinea pig to test Jennifer’s serum. Once at the lab, however, Ray manages to shoot himself to freedom, but in doing so the whole place goes up in fire and smoke and he (and Jennifer, to a lesser extent) get exposed to both the serum and radioactivity, which causes him (and Jennifer, but at a much slower rate) to mutate into a big fake-looking mosquito. Well, he mutates; she is never does the full turn, though she does start getting a craving for raw steak and biting necks while having sex (again, wearing Fredericks). Ray, however, now more "mosquito than man," sees the babe-in-transformation as his mate and is hot to produce a lot of larva with her, which makes Tom see red. Tom hunts Ray, Ray/Mansquito sucks a lot of people dead, Jennifer goes to the hospital (where the outside lightning jaggedly lights up a hospital room with no windows) for blood transfusions, Mansquito shows up and simply annihilates everybody. Tom decides he is actually the Terminator and everything explodes–but no, none of the love triangle actually dies. Not yet, anyways...
By the way, a couple of last things also of note about the film: Firstly, the music is at times absolutely excellent—wonderfully non-obtrusive but continually conducive to sustaining or building tension; it is a soundtrack that deserves as release on CD. Secondly, the climactic destruction of the mosquito man, though much more modern and violent and exciting, is cribbed directly from the final scene of the imaginary film Attack of the Amazing Electrified Man, also found in Popcorn.
But, whatever its inspiration might be, Mosquito Man remains a well-made piece of blood-soaked fluff that can easily entertain a single man or a group of men, providing, as always, enough beer and smoke is at hand.