Rodents of Unusual Size (2017) – Movie Review

Rodents of Unusual Size movie poster

Produced & Directed by Quinn Costello, Jeff Metzler & Jeff Springer
Narrated by Wendell Pierce

So I’m going to admit something to you. If you’ve been hanging around this site for any length of time, though, it’s not exactly a shock revelation. I have a fondness for When Animals Attack films. I especially enjoy the When Giant Animals Attack sub-genre. If a week goes by where I can’t make a Food of the Gods reference, I feel like something’s spiritually wrong. Night of the Lepus is a staple of annual Halloween viewing. So when I heard there was a film about giant rodents eating Louisiana, I expected it to be ATOMIC giant rodents or stop-motion giant rodents or…something. But it was a documentary. Oh yes.

Enter…the nutria. I know it sounds like I’m about to launch into a sales pitch for a new smoothie diet mix, but no…nutria are basically what would happen if naked mole rats got sick and tired of being picked on, so they overdosed on Rogaine and steroids. These things are as big as beavers and have orange teeth. See? Orange teeth. That’s weird. They should be atomic, glowing orange teeth but no, it’s something apparently normal having to do with the enamel.

I won’t rehash the story of how the nutria came to Louisiana, because that’s part of the docu Rodents of Unusual Size. And the animated sequence towards the beginning in which Wendell Pierce (Treme, Jack Ryan) tells you the story does a much better job than I could. Suffice it to say the nutria were brought in with the best of intentions, they got loose, they were fruitful and multiplied, and now they eat vegetation which helps hold the ground together. And with the ground compromised, it has a tendency to just…wash away.

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32 Days of Halloween X, Day 31: Tentacles!

Tentacles (1977)

For the 31st day of our madness, we’ve decided to go out with the potential for some seriously lethal hugs. It’s the 1977 flick Tentacles, and the notion of a killer octopus reminds me of course of It Came from Beneath the Sea. And of course that film makes me think Harryhausen. So let’s start off with a short bit of Harryhausen lore, from his work on Mysterious Island.

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32 Days of Halloween X, Day 26: Grizzly!

Grizzly (1976)

Some more classic radio for you tonight. We start with Jack Benny’s Halloween program from 1940, then we go straight to Inner Sanctum and their episode from 1945: “Wailing Wall.” It stars Boris Karloff. The scariest part of that episode might be the Lipton advertising towards the beginning. Brace yourself for it.

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Headsup: Animals Acting Like People and People Acting Like Animals

Zoo Season 2 DVDBased on James Patterson’s novel, Zoo tells the story of a pandemic of animals turning the tables on humans, going from the hunted to the hunters.  In Season 2, everything is ramped up a level–the team not only discovers that the cure they fought so hard for in Season 1 has become obsolete due to the mutation’s rapid evolution, but that the animals are actually executing coordinated attacks geared toward destroying human civilization itself.  Jackson is busy trying to keep his sanity amid major family issues and a biological identity crisis, ties to the Noah Objective are becoming ever more convoluted, and the team must tackle challenges like crashing a black tie event in Vancouver, tracking down a saber-tooth tiger, and, of course, constantly avoiding becoming prey.  Jackson (James Wolk), Jamie (Kristen Connolly), Abraham (Nonso Anozie), and Chloe (Nora Arnezeder) have certainly had a busy season.

Now available on DVD is a 4-disc set that includes all 13 episodes of Season 2 plus some bonus features, including a gag reel, deleted scenes, and two featurettes: Metamorphosis: A Look at Season Two of Zoo and Welcome to the Bird. Subscribers to CBS All Access have access to the entire season and it is also available on Netflix (a bit surprising as CBS is becoming ever more choosy about what they allow to be released on platforms other than All Access).  As to streaming options, Amazon Video and iTunes both offer the season (without bonus features) for $19.99. If you want the bonuses, you’ll need to get the DVD set (available on Amazon for $39.99), so it’s up to you to decide if having the extras and physical discs on the shelf is worth doubling the price.

 

In The Driller Killer, Abel Ferrara directs and stars as a Driller Killerdown-on-his luck artist going slowly mad from a
combination of money problems and dealing with horrible neighbors, who finally snaps and begins to hunt for victims on whom he can focus his rage–and his drill.

Now out from Arrow Video are two dual format sets of the film: Special Edition and Limited Edition Steelbook. Both include Blu-ray and DVD presentations of a (brand new) 4K restoration created from the original camera negative of the film in its theatrical release version and its (previously unseen) pre-release version.  Both also boast some bonus features created especially for these sets, including an interview with Ferrara, a visual guide to Ferrara’s career by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (who wrote Cultographies: Ms. 45), and audio commentary from Ferrara and Brad Stevens (author of Abel Ferrara: The Moral Vision). Additional bonus features include the trailer and Ferrara’s 2010 feature-length documentary Mulberry Street, never before available for home viewing in the US. Aside from disc content, the Special Edition Set includes a reversible sleeve with (new) artwork by the Twins of Evil, and the Limited Edition SteelBook Set includes original artwork and a collector’s booklet (content from Michael Pattison and Brad Stevens).

The film is not currently available on Netflix or on Amazon (unless you have an add-on subscription to CONtv, Shudder, or Filmbox).  Those looking to get one of the new sets can get them on Amazon for almost the same price: the Limited Edition Steelbook is $28.49 and the Special Edition is $27.99.  Do be aware that the Limited Edition consists of only 2500 copies in the US, so if that’s important to you (especially considering it’s only 50 cents more), jump on it asap.

32 Days of Halloween Part VIII, Movie Night No. 26: Monster From Green Hell!

Monster From Green Hell

Wasps. They’re a nasty piece of work sometimes. Sometimes, they just fly about and are minding their own business. Sometimes, they seem to be very pissed off and want to sting you. And sometimes, they’ve been shot into space, returned to the planet and crash-landed in Africa, been exposed to a great deal of cosmic radiation and grown to ginormous size. Oh, and then they’re pissed off and want to sting your face clean off. That’s Monster From Green Hell, the 1957 B-movie giant wasp extravaganza that you had no idea was missing from your life.

Now you might ask: if they were exposed to cosmic radiation, why didn’t they get the ability to stretch or turn invisible or something…and why didn’t they go fight some crime? And all I can say is: if I had the answer to such deep questions as that, I’m sure I wouldn’t be running a pop culture website. Enjoy.

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