Thursday, October 1, 2015

Brett Piper's Queen Crab!

Cody cracks open a creature feature that was recently released on DVD.

Around twenty years ago in Crabbe Creek, Nowhere U.S.A., a young girl named Melissa discovered a freshwater crab in the pond outside her family's home and, unbeknownst to her parents, took it in as a pet, naming it Peewee. Needing to feed her new pet, Melissa got the crab a snack from her scientist father's home laboratory... Which wasn't the best idea.

Melissa's scientist father was working on a growth serum, seeking to make bigger foods to help keep the world's growing population fed, an endeavor that will sound familiar to fans of old school sci-fi/horror creature features. What happens to Peewee after eating the food from the lab won't be a surprise to anyone who has seen Tarantula.

Soon after Melissa meets Peewee, her parents die in a lab accident. She is adopted by her uncle, the local sheriff, and grows up to be a hermit, living on her family's land and enforcing a strict "No Trespassers" policy. The reason why Melissa doesn't want anyone snooping around her place is revealed when locals catch a glimpse of what has been snatching animals and destroying property in the area: Peewee, who has grown to an incredible size.

Although Peewee has been living peacefully in Melissa's care for around twenty years, that peace is shattered over the course of the film, leading to crab vs. human battles.

Queen Crab is the latest film from writer/director/special effects artist Brett Piper, who has built an admirable filmography of low budget sci-fi and horror films over the last thirty-plus years. His frequent collaborator Mark Polonia, a micro budget horror legend himself, co-produced the film and also appears in the early scenes as Melissa's father.

The movie's greatest selling point is the special effects that were used to bring the giant crab action to the screen. Peewee is stop-motion, sticking with the idea of paying homage to the creature features of the past, and she looks incredible. It took some very impressive talent to bring Peewee (and her offspring) to life.

Peewee gets a good amount of screen time, especially when you take into consideration the fact that the movie was made on a very low budget and was shot on a very short schedule.

Still, I was left wanting more crab action, because when Peewee was offscreen the bulk of the film focuses on the quirky interactions of the locals. While these scenes are meant to be comedic, the humor just didn't work for me. Some viewers will find the characters amusing, but I found those scenes to be a bit of a chore to get through.

There were things I didn't like about it, but I'd say if you're a fan of Tarantula, Attack of the Crab Monsters, Attack of the Giant Leeches, and other movies of that type, Queen Crab is absolutely one to check out. Don't expect it to be packed with action like a modern movie would be, this is something just like they used to do sixty years ago.

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