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Review: Blue Monkey (1987)

Directed by William Fruet / Dark Force / BD-25 / DTS HD 2.0

A hospital is suddenly put under military quarantine after a deadly foreign bug species begins to prowl the spooky underground labyrinth beneath the building as a group of doctors and a police detective (Steve Railsback) struggle to kill the overgrown insects. John Vernon gives serious and concerned looks as he walks through hallways. Joe Flaherty checks in for comedic relief playing a man who savagely micro-manages his wife. A bunch of rugrat kids (one of whom is a young Sarah Polley) manage to squeeze in the name of the movie through some random looped line. The title monster is in shadow throughout and rarely-seen, but the gooey monster and gore effects courtesy of the late FX Wizard Mark Williams make for a thrilling finale worth waiting out all the filler in the first part of the movie.

Imagine that Joe Dante movie-within-a-movie Mant  played for serious and that’s kind of what the movie feels like. This Canadian-lensed direct-to-video staple feels like it was trying to wed the classic fifties big bug movie with high-concept eighties sci-fi ala Aliens but the result comes out looking more like Fred Olen Ray’s Deep Space. And that’s okay, I love Deep Space and I love this goofy little movie. Some producer must’ve had pictures of Joe Flaherty and John Vernon in some compromising positions with some donkeys in Tijuana because I can’t understand how they found themselves wandering around in this movie. Maybe they’re pulling a favor for a friend; if so, they must be very loyal guys. Director William Fruet also made the killer snake film Spasms which is definitely recommended over this one.

Previously only available on dingy VHS (but with much better cover art), Dark Force’s new Blu-Ray is an incredible HD transfer with which renders the cold blue lighting and smoked corridors quite well. The only extra on the disc is a theatrical trailer.

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