Sunday, March 29, 2009

Skeeter (1993)

Reviewed by Jeremy Melton

Somewhere between Tremors and Ticks, we get the weirdness that is Skeeter. This movie was made in those glorious early nineties, when the straight to video horror market was hitting its zenith. This was made before the affordability of digital cameras and the inexpensiveness of DVDs allowed any moron to film his buddies “acting” and release it as a horror movie to an unsuspecting public (see Zombies Gone Wild). The straight to video horror movies of the nineties were cheap… but professional. From Inner Sanctum 2, to Cyborg 2, to Return of the Living Dead 3, these movies were almost always entertaining. And, Skeeter is definitely one of my favorites.

Unfortunately, with a title like Skeeter and the idiotic tagline “Earth Is The Final Breeding Ground”, no one had any idea what this movie was about. So, hardly anyone has ever seen it. To look at the VHS cover, one might think it is a cheapo knock off of Aliens or something. No, it is about gigantic mosquitoes. Or “skeeters”, if you will.

Though idiotic, the tagline, by the way, is accurate. But misleading. Earth is the final breeding ground for the skeeters… just as it is with humans, apes, dogs, cats, et cetera. There is no mention of the mosquitoes being otherworldly. They are just huge.

Skeeter has one of the greatest ensemble casts ever. We get William Sanderson (best known as “Larry” on the show Newhart. Best known to us at Tower Farm for being awesome in Savage Weekend), George “Buck” Flower (from the criminally underrated They Live), Michael J. Pollard (Bonnie and Clyde and just about any movie or show that has needed a slow-witted adult character), and, most importantly…

TRACY F**KING GRIFFITH (Now just imagine the impact if I had included “U” and “C” in place of those tiny stars).

Yes, Melanie Griffith’s sister and star of The First Power and Sleepaway Camp 3: Teenage Wasteland. The same Tracy Griffith that released a country album and, when that didn’t pan out, became a Hollywood sushi chef. My love for Tracy Griffith movies is without boundary.

Our hero is introduced early in the movie. Played by Jim Youngs, the improbably named Roy Boone is a police officer in the film’s small, dusty, desert town. Jim Youngs looks a lot like Billy Ray Cyrus. The Billy Ray Cirus that sang “Achy-Breaky Heart”. Not the Billy Ray Cyrus that dyed his skin orange, got a “Rachel” haircut, and started promoting his crush/daughter all over the Disney channel.

Roy reconnects with his old sweetheart Sarah Crosby (Tracy Griffith), who has come home to Clear Sky for her mother’s funeral. I guess one broke the other’s heart back in high school or something. Given that they are both in their thirties, it seems like they have been letting that torch burn for a bit too long.

Wouldn’t you know it, though? As Roy and Sarah rekindle their romance, we find out that a lot of Clear Sky’s residents are dying off… mysteriously. We also find out from a guy from the Advance Geological Inspection Agency that a lot of animals have been dying off, too… mysteriously. Oh, and we also find out that some greedy corporation is buying up land in Clear Sky to hide away toxic chemicals.

Could their be a connection between the strange deaths and the toxic waste? I don’t want to give anything away here. But, there may or may not be some very unconvincing mosquitoes that have grown very large living in abandoned mines with these chemicals.

Oh, and get this, Michael J. Pollard’s character may just keep a couple as pets and feed them directly from his arm.

Let me tell you, the skeeters in this movie are a delight. They look like dollar store Halloween decorations.

I have to say, there is a real earnestness to this movie. The acting is good. I mean, when was the last time you saw someone weeping quietly at a funeral in a horror movie? In this type of movie, that is called “nuanced”. Also, that bit about the Advance Geological Inspection Agency? Using something that phony sounding is inspired.

Skeeter also includes, to my knowledge, Tracy Griffith’s only topless scene in a movie. It is done pretty tastefully and from a distance. Fortunately, the advent of DVD now allows me to pause and zoom right in.

Four fingers!

1 comment:

  1. JM,

    This is truly the finest review in the history of reviews. I really think we should just discontinue the site now, as we'll never improve upon this perfection.

    By the way...laughing hysterically at Billy Ray's "Rachael" almost got me busted at work. Thanks.