What should be a fun, if somewhat corny, visit to a Midwestern roadside resort becomes terrifying when the resort’s star Bigfoot actors turn into ravenous zombies with a taste for vacationers.
Thank god these were only Bigfoot actors turned zombies and not real Bigfoot zombies. You do not want to tangle with a Bigfoot zombie. Not because they’re vicious or anything, they’re actually pacifists for the most part, eating mostly berries and only the occasional fellow Bigfoot. No, it’s the fact that they smell so freaking awful. Look, we all know corpse rot stinks, it’s one of the only downsides to being among the living dead. I mean, everything else is great, you get a complete and total apathy about the world, you stop having to worry about doctor’s appointments, you even have a plethora of walking, two legged meals to feast on at your leisure, but you kind of smell. Now, most of undead like to take measures to prevent this little problem using various deodorants, cologne, and perfume because, living or dead, no one likes to smell bad. That is no one but an undead Bigfoot. Well, it’s not so much that they like to smell bad, it’s just that they don’t care because they smell bad regardless of being among their living brethren or something more akin to zombiekind. Have you ever had to sniff a Bigfoot? If you haven’t, consider yourself among the lucky ones because those guys stink to high heaven, and they only stink that much worse once they’re dead. So, if you happen to run into a zombified Bigfoot, run the other way, not because you are about to be eaten but because you are in for the aromatic shock of your life. You can thank me for the warning later.
Our Bigfoot themed film begins with two sisters heading out to a Midwestern Sasquatch themed resort called Uncle Slavko’s All American Lodge, a family vacation spot with actors going around portraying America’s favorite and hairiest humanoid creatures. While the sisters settle into their room, a group of Bigfoot actors, one of the sisters’ fiancé among them, prepare for their roles with troop leader Lou (played by Kane Hodder). One of the troop decides to sneak off for a much deserved spliff, but drops his joint into the river next to the corpse of something so decayed as to be unrecognizable. Instead of calling it a loss and getting back to work, he falls into the water attempting to retrieve it, passing out as the water begins to mutate his body. The rest of the Bigfoot actors go looking for him, finding his body floating in the water face first they make a rescue attempt, but the water begins to affect them as well, turning the entire group, minus one who stayed behind, into ravenous, zombie like creatures with greater durability and a hunger for human flesh. The mutated Bigfoot cosplayers put on their costumes and make their way to the resort where they begin to attack everyone that crosses their path. A few of the vacationers are able to hole themselves up inside the main lodge, hoping to make a last stand against both the zombified actors and the animals that have turned as well, the animals having drunk from the same water the actors fell into. Uncle Slavko’s big secret is at stake of being uncovered, and while he tries his damndest to hide his involvement and the others do their best to fortify the lodge, the resort doctor thinks he may be able to come up with some kind of cure, or at the very least a way to stop them, but it won’t be easy and a very hungry group awaits any opportunity to make their way inside and finish off any survivors of their earlier attack.
Oh man, Bigfoot zombies, what does one expect when putting in a DVD about zombified actors wearing Bigfoot costumes? Personally, I was thinking it was either going to be one of the worst or best zombie flicks I’d seen in a while. Lucky for me, it was closer to the later, and I was presented with a hilarious zombie flick that had one of my favorites, Kane Hodder, as a rampaging zombie. At least I think they were zombies, they aren’t really presented as total zombies, at least in the undead sense. In fact, I’m guessing they are still among the living considering the good doctor attempts a cure that will reverse the effects, something more than a little difficult to accomplish when one is dead and no longer contains blood pumping through their veins. I think they were simply supposed to be mutated humans with zombie like attributes and the ability to take a lot of damage. That was just my take on it. Either way, they were freaking excellent, full of equal parts hilarity and terror, making for the perfect balance, and this zombie loved it.
The zombified Bigfoot actors playing the, well zombified Bigfoot actors do an amazing job with their characters, truly making them just as funny as they were threatening so as not to throw off the film’s delicate balance between horror and comedy. Kane Hodder is, as per his usual performances, great as Bigfoot troop leader Lou, proving yet again that the guy has a decent enough range in his acting abilities. Though it wasn’t just the film’s costumed zombies that made Love in the Time of Monsters such a great flick. Everyone did an amazing job with their parts to create some interesting characters that helped to draw the viewer so deeply into the film, the actors adding hilarity and quirkiness to their characters, a quirkiness that was well written for the film’s myriad amount of characters. There’s a good number of interesting characters that fleshed out the film’s cast like the eccentric, America loving Slavko that everyone constantly mistakes for Russian, the lonely hunter Chester that’s deeply in love with Slavko’s wife, or the apathetic Dr. Lincoln (real name Doug, he just plays Lincoln at the resort and nobody ever asked him what his actual name was) whose forced to come up with a cure but couldn’t really care less how things turn out, preferring instead to zone out to his music. I loved all of them, each adding something to the film that would have been lost without them. They also had some great dialogue that made their discourse a blast to listen to, including one of my now favorite lines in which Lou is asked to put a decision up to vote among the Bigfoot troop and he asks “Since when is this a democracy?” The response he receives back, “Since America.” It was witty dialogue like this that made for a humorous movie, though when a more serious approach is needed, the filmmakers wisely wind down the humor.
The effects went back and forth between being excellently done and being gloriously awful. I found them to be very reminiscent of 80’s B-Movies in their approach. When people are shredded or ripped apart it looks gory and awesome, and there is plenty of it throughout the film, but there were other effects that looked to be done almost purposely awful in how they were made, particularly the animal attacks involving the creatures that had drank out of the tainted water that mutated the actors. They reminded me of old Ray Harryhausen films like Jason and the Argonauts where the titular heroes had to fight a small squadron of reanimated skeletons. Harryhausen would be proud. Some of it looks pretty bad, but I felt it added to the overall old school feeling of Love in the Time of Monsters by showcasing some great practical effects while at the same time giving the viewer near laughable puppetry that was so bad it was great.
There are some things that the viewer might have to let go of though, silly things that work within the context of the film, but are none the less kind of silly and don’t make a whole lot of sense. A few of the more prominent examples:
- Why does the guy who first falls in the water trying to retrieve his fallen spliff even bother trying to get it? Sure, you can’t tell exactly what it is that’s rotting in the water, but you can still clearly tell that it’s something that’s rotting. I’m pretty sure even the most dedicated of pot heads would have let that one go.
- When the Bigfoot actors are turned into vicious cannibals they go and put on the rest of their costumes since they entered the water without their masks and furry gloves. They’re supposed to be fairly mindless, rage fueled attack dogs at that point. What part of their head still held the need to put on the costume? It’s not like when they lose pieces of said costume they go back for them like its some deep instinct within them to do so.
- How does a small doctor in a cheesy roadside resort like Dr. Lincoln have so much medical expertise, enough to identify and then try and cure the disease infecting the actors? I would think someone of his talent would be working in some of the best hospitals in the world. He’s even able to do all this with not much in the way of medical equipment, essentially making him the MacGyver of doctors.
As you can read from the above examples, it’s nothing major enough to warrant an angry response or even a scowl, but it does cause one to do a double take to think about it. They most assuredly work for the movie, and I didn’t hate these oddities at all, but I definitely noticed them.
Love in the Time of Monsters is a strange, hilarious, and yet still chilling film that I would highly recommend. Even if I didn’t have a wee bit of a man boner for Kane Hodder.
The Undead Review
Directed By: Matt Jackson (Backgrounded)
Starring: Doug Lincoln (Hocus Pocus, Hellboy), Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th Part 7, 8, 9, and 10, Hatchet), Michael McShane (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust), Gena Shaw (The Occupants, Containment), and Marissa Skell (Slumber Party Slaughter, Sorority Party Massacre)
Written By: Michael Skvarla (Junkyard)
Released By: TBC Films, Red Cube Pictures, and Indican Pictures
Release Year: 2014
Release Type: Limited Theatrical Release
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Rotten Heads: Four and a Half Heads Out of Five