MONSTROID (1980) Reviews and overview of eco-horror

  

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‘Part animal… part shark… all devil!’

Monstroid is a 1980 American horror film in which a rural Colombian village is attacked by a sea serpent, aroused by industrial pollution. Also known as Monstroid: It Came from the Lake; Monster; Beast from Beyond and The Toxic Horror.

Directed and co-produced by Kenneth Hartford [as Kenneth Herts] and [uncredited] Herbert L. Strock from a screenplay co-written by Kenneth Hartford, Walter Roeber Schmidt, Herbert L. Strock and Garland Scott, based on a story by Kenneth Hartford. Also co-produced by Garland Scott.

The movie stars James Mitchum, John Carradine, Philip Carey, Anthony Eisley, Andrea Hartford and Glen Hartford.

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Reviews:

“I have a soft spot for stop motion monsters, and while these are not earth-shattering renditions of the art form, the animation is at least on par with other low budget flicks like The Crater Lake Monster. Like that movie, though, whenever the monster is not on screen, the audience flounders with a negligible story and characters we come to neither love nor despise.” B & S About Movies

“Aside from four brief appearances by the giant puppet head creature, the movie happily gives us non-stop scenes of bland characters talking about how nothing is in the lake and how the nosey reporter should stop snooping around. Only in the final 10 minutes does the movie get down to business, but by that point we are all ready to hit the eject button.” DVD Talk

“Ultimately, this is a cheaply done, unfocused and uninvolving monster movie with little to recommend it, unless you really have to hear some silly snatches of dialogue.” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

“There is absolutely nothing – nothing – that could express just how bad this flick really is. From top to bottom, from the acting to the directing to the monster, itself, this is a complete and utter disaster. It’s scary just how awful it is.” IGN

“The film circles around a host of big themes from the era – business exploiting a poor town, pollution that may have created the monster – but seems unattuned to even making a token attempt to dramatically use these issues Even John Carradine – one of the most prolific B movie actors of this era and who turned up in some total sh*t in search of a paycheque – is wasted in a role of little significance.” Moria

“The plot point of the townspeople thinking an innocent woman is a witch is completely wasted, and the resolution is insanely confusing! All I know with certainty is that it didn’t end up being quite as depressing as Don’t Torture a Duckling. The tease at the end annoyed me, as I felt it made the entire movie, especially the climax, pointless.” Not This Time, Nayland Smith

” …the creature as fake as it seemed, served its purpose. While the film was not all that bad in the strictest sense of the term, it has all been seen before in dozens of other movies thus making this creature feature less than exceptional and a little more than inconsequential. As a curiosity, it works and is a film only for completists or those wanting a mad dash of John Carradine to liven up their day.” The Telltale Mind

” …there’s a lot of negative things that I could say about this low-budget film but the monster is simply adorable and must be seen by anyone who appreciates the rubber monsters that populated horror films in the days before CGI. Plus, how can you resist a film that features not only Robert Mitchum’s son but John Carradine as well?” Through the Shattered Lens

“The stalking POV shots of the monster, where you get to see its webby claws slashing people, are more effective than the money shots of the monster itself.  After sitting through all those bland actors endlessly jibber-jabbering about god knows what, seeing anything resembling a monster is something of a relief.  There’s also a superfluous set-up for a sequel that thankfully, never happened.” The Video Vacuum

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Cast and characters:
James Mitchum … Travis
John Carradine … Priest
Phil Carey … Barnes
Anthony Eisley … Pete
Andrea Hartford … Andrea
Glen Hartford … Glen
Coral Kassel … Girl in lake
Connie Moore … Patty
María Rubio … Juanita
Aldo Sambrell … Victor
Luis Suárez
Emanuel Smith
Leslie Meigs
Roberto Martínez
John Lamarr

Filming locations:
Ambalena, Colombia
Espanola, New Mexico

Technical details:
1 hour 38 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1
Audio: mono

Fun facts:
Although producer Kenneth Hartford received directorial credit, in an interview with Tom Weaver cast member Anthony Eisley said Hartford had very little to do with it: “[Herbert L. Strock] directed everything. Then later on Hartford shot a couple of scenes in Griffith Park with his kids and claims to have directed it. It’s totally fallacious.”

At various times, Doug McClure, Burgess Meredith, Aldo Ray, Cesar Romero and Keenan Wynn were all announced for this project.

Trailer:

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