Friday, October 7, 2011

Big Bug (w/ Director Interview)

Director: Kenneth Cran
Writer: Kenneth Cran
Starring: John Charles Meyer, Jessica Simons, Christine Haeberman
2011 | United States | Not Rated | 88 mins

The world may not have ended after Y2K like some believed it would, however some long practiced aspects of cinematic magic did. The art of practical effects began to die out and long gone are the days of the man in a rubber suit, or really any monsters be them small or giant on screen being done in this fashion. Everything is being replaced or replicated digitally and actors are instead reacting to tennis balls on sticks. Kenneth Cran is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker who grew up on the works and talents of Rick Baker, Rob Bottin, and the magic of the giant monster films that came out of Japan. With this love he decided to make his own giant monster movie in this day and age complete with a man in a suit, miniatures, and absolutely no CGI whatsoever.

December 31st, 1999. The Haskin family escapes into the mountainside to get away from the city and technology in case the world does delve into pure chaos Y2K may bring about. They set up camp and prepare to celebrate the New Year regardless of the outcome but will soon have more to fear as they are attacked and kidnapped by an incestuous hillbilly clan that has been living in a nearby ghost town. But on this very night even more danger lurks as this night marks the arrival of The Millennium Bug, a giant 300 foot tall creature that gestates for 1000 years before being birthed onto the earth to lay its offspring before the dawn. And it's hungry.

The Millennium Bug, as described by its own director, is a cross between Godzilla and The Hills Have Eyes. Pitting a family in peril against two separate foes is a wise move to make an entertaining lower-budget horror film that can appeal to more than just the straight horror crowd. Aside from a few mountainside shots, the entire film was shot in a rented industrial garage where the filmmakers had to be creative since the film takes place in a forest, a hillbilly home, a jail, and a ghost town. Not to mention there's a giant bug with Godzilla-esque spikes rampaging about. Kenneth Cran and company successfully combine the use of miniatures, the man-in-a-suit monster, and some well worked compositing to get this all blended together. Considering their work space confinement this is really an impressive accomplishment.

The cast all work well in their roles with the hillbillies all cranked up way past campy. This isn't the most serious film, so if it was this would probably deter from one's enjoyment but here it's not out of place and good for comic enjoyment. The gore effects, again all practically done, are inventive and disgusting and will satisfy those who are looking for a bit of splatter. In an age where CGI has replaced the magic in filmmaking, The Millennium Bug is a welcome homage to the good old days of movie magic and an entertaining, and often hilarious, giant monster movie.

Kenneth Cran Interview:

All contents copyright 2011 Tyler Baptist

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