Directed by Brett Piper
Cast: Anju Mcintyre, Alison Whitney, Danielle Donahue, Steve Diasparra, Ken Vansant, Bob Dennis, Ian Piper, Jared Warren
Chemical Burn / Region 1 / Not Rated Region 1 / 1.85:1 widescreen / ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Stereo / 85 minutes
Disc Extras: Up From The Swamp: Making Muckman / Creature Commentary with Brett Piper, Mark Polonia, Steve Diasparra, and Anthony Polonia
I’ve been a Brett Piper fan ever since I watched A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell on late night Cinemax. If you’ve seen any Piper film, you know what to expect. His trademark brand of stop-motion creature effects have made him notable on the cult movie circuit. Movies like Drainiac, Bite Me!, Psyclops, Shock-O-Rama, and Arachnia have been met with mixed reviews, but the true B-movie fan knows Piper’s the real deal. I’ve counted on Piper for a fun ride in the past, so my hopes were really high when I found out about his recent effort Muckman.
I’ll admit Muckman‘s plot isn’t very original. A film crew is sent out to investigate the monster legend. The crew, made up of a snobby reporter, dumb male crew hands, and a couple of cliche female characters who are tougher and smarter than everyone else in the lot interview local rednecks and bumble about the woods trying to piece together the facts about Muckman. This investigation eventually culminates to a very, very brief monster showdown. And that’s where my criticism begins.
Most of the film is spent wasting time with our film crew as they interact with rednecks and experience close calls with the monster. This doesn’t have to be a problem, because with Piper’s previous films, this downtime was fun to watch. Humor, nudity, and ridiculousness keep things rolling. But this time, the humor and general sense of adventure are missing, or the attempts hit the cement. Also subtract any real bloodshed or boobs whatsoever. The cool monster in the suit and stop-motion monster sequences both have limited screen time. I’d say less than five minutes. That limited. I get the sense this movie was kicked out on fumes (about $50k according to imdb. -Ed). The production quality is decent, for low-budget film, and the acting performances are good enough for what it is. So the real problem is by the time the monsters come out, Muckman is already over.
The image quality and audio are up-to-par considering the movie’s production budget. The making-of feature and audio commentary are filled with tidbits from the cast and crew about production challenges and set-backs. This is where you get a real sense of the passion behind this movie, though the final product sadly falls short. I still look forward to the next Brett Piper film, don’t get me wrong. I’m a hardcore fan. Tonight, I might even watch Brett Piper’s better film Shock-O-Rama to get over this misfire.