Thursday, August 20, 2015

Project: Metalbeast (1995)

In my last review (first review?), I pointed out that sometimes watching horror movies can suck, given just how many of them are terrible nowadays. But as I started thinking about my next write-up, I realized that there is also a flip side to that coin; even though you are more likely to be subjected to watching a shitty movie, as a horror fan, you are also more likely to enjoy that shitty movie.

Which brings us to Project: Metalbeast.

P:MB is a movie that answers the age-old question that many viewers ask themselves while watching The Terminator: what if Arnold Schwarzenegger's T-800 was also a werewolf? The premise of a cybernetic werewolf is enough on its own to make me forgive the movie's many flaws and just appreciate the wackiness that is about to ensue.

The movie begins in the mid 70's, with a special ops team investigating a castle on a remote island. While searching the castle, naturally, they are attacked by a werewolf. After one man is mauled, they are able to kill the beast and extract some of its blood. It is then revealed that the purpose of the mission was to obtain the werewolf blood so it could...(wait for it) used to make super soldiers for the military. The attempts to make were-soldiers are not successful, with all of the test subjects going insane, so the special ops soldier who obtained the blood from the castle takes matters into his own hands by injecting himself with the last vile of were-blood. This causes him to transform into a werewolf and flip out. He is shot with silver bullets and subdued. Then our token evil CEO orders to have his body cryogenically frozen as to preserve his blood in order for it to be used sometime in the future when the technology is perfected...or something. Flash forward twenty years, and the same company is now working on a synthetic skin technology that uses metal alloy to bond skin cells. They are experimenting with this technology on dead bodies that the facility has stored away, and eventually they make their way to our frozen werewolf (now reverted back to human form), they give him the metal skin and remove the silver bullets that were lodged inside his chest. This causes him to wake up from his twenty year slumber and go on a rampage as the titular "Metalbeast".
"It's more of!"

As long as you can wrap your head around that clusterfuck of a plotline, the movie itself is pretty entertaining. As I mentioned earlier, just the idea of a half robot, half werewolf is enough to satisfy most horror fans, and it delivers pretty consistent action throughout. The effects are all practical, which is always a plus, and the design of the Metalbeast is pretty imaginative. I actually found myself laughing because of the monster's resemblance to South Park's ManBearPig, and I honestly wouldn't be surprised of the creators had seen this movie and gotten inspiration for their design.

Speaking of inspiration, another thing really jumped out at me during my last viewing; if you take all the main plot points for this movie and replace the werewolf with a masked killer, you would pretty much have the 2001 movie Jason X. They both feature a monster that is cryogenically frozen, woken up in the future, and given cybernetic upgrades to create a more badass version of it's original self. And if that isn't enough, there's also the fact that both monsters are played by the same person. Kane Hodder, best known as the man that played Jason Vorhees in several entries of the Friday The 13th franchise (including Jason X), also stars in this movie as the Metalbeast. When you consider all the similarities between the two movies, the fact that they star the same person, and that this one came out six years before Jason Vorhees would become a cyborg, you have to imagine that the writers of  Jason X probably figured that no one had ever seen this movie and they could take several of it's ideas and no one would ever notice.

I've always thought this movie deserved more attention from genre fans. It definitely has it's fair share of problems, like low production values and some painful acting in spots, but overall it is quite entertaining, and without a doubt its more fun than about 80 percent of the generic werewolf movies that have come after it. With its cool monster design and overall batshit insane premise, it has all the makings of a cult classic. It's the perfect movie to watch while sitting around drinking beers with your friends. I mean, if the idea of a seven foot tall robotic werewolf being blown up by a bazooka doesn't excite you, then I'm not sure why you even began reading this review, let alone finished it.

No comments:

Post a Comment