Thursday, September 18, 2008

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.

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