John’s Horror Corner: Love in the Time of Monsters (2014), a horror comedy filled with chest-bursting zombie squirrels, mutant rage zombies dressed as bigfoot, and delightfully deliberate stupidity.
MY CALL: This B-movie gets a solid A+. I love the gore and the zany creatures, and after a slow start the movie keeps stacking on the gore and lunacy more and more until the end. MOVIES LIKE Love in the Time of Monsters: Other horror comedies like Smothered (2014), Zombeavers (2014), Piranha 3D (2010), Slither (2006), Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010), Tremors (1990), Club Dread (2004)…and Blood Glacier (2013), although it takes a more serious approach to evil contamination of mother nature.
With all the style and subtlety of a summer camp slasher combined with a strong sense of self-aware satire, Love in the Time of Monsters sweeps horror fans away to a land of laughter. There are no scares to be had here–just gore and giggles. I’ll admit, I came in skeptical (and curious) and it took me a little while to figure out what kind of movie I was watching. Just know this, I love horror comedies and I grew to enjoy this film more and more as it revealed its nature to me.
Marla (Gena Shaw; Insomnium) and Carla (Marissa Skell; Sorority Party Massacre, Slumber Party Massacre) arrive to some tourist trap family vacation destination in the woods with cabins, fishing, hunting and buffet dining. Pretty much ‘Murica!!! The place is staffed by Lou (Kane Hodder; Wishmaster, Hatchet, Smothered) and his bigfoot suit-wearing entertainers.
The story takes root when one such furry entertainer is exposed to some contaminants. Subsequently, the other four fully-suited entertainers (including Kane Hodder) become infected with some sort of virus-thingy-whatever that makes them get slimy, put on their bigfoot masks, and become belligerent jerks that chase all unafflicted humans and eat their human flesh…sometimes…it’s not very consistent. LOL.
Now that we’ve delved into flesh-eating and what I can only describe as “mutant rage zombies” we should address the special effects and the apparently low budget. Whatever afflicts these bigfoot-costumed men is pretty simple to recognize by our now-hunted protagonists. A dash of ooze on the face, a couple of wart clusters on their face or neck and, oh yeah, they’re wearing bigfoot costumes. But this silly premise and low budget seem to be something to celebrate rather than ridicule. I was dazzled with glee when a bigfoot tore off a woman’s head with a dangling spinal cord in tow. It was sloppy and gory and it made me smile. It’s at about this point in the movie that I realized “this movie isn’t stupid, it’s FUN.” This film knows what it is and runs with it much to my pleasure.
Hey, bro. I think you’ve got an STD on your face.
All logic goes out the window in this film. A favorite scene of mine is when a bigfoot “sneaks up on a cop” by bum-rushing him in the middle of an open area and then projectile vomits face-melting acidic bile all over his face. Why can it do that? No clue (well, it’s quasi-explained later). But it’s a gore-slathered mess and I like it. Afterwards we get a Romero-esque rubber gut-ripping display and another guy has his face torn off and eyes popped out. Lots of gore. Pure joy.
What’s more is that this silly script and it’s often lame lines are delivered strikingly well. The acting rightly feels deliberately campy. I roll my eyes and grin at the lines, but the lines are intentionally delivered in such a manner as to bring about that very reaction. Everyone is hitting on everyone else, drug and alcohol placement is blatant, and some girl clumsily runs through the forest in high heels and lingerie. Oh, right, and some murderous afflicted men are killing people in bigfoot costumes. This is just plain silly. This film clearly has no illusions of being taken seriously by viewers. So if you’re taking this movie seriously and thinking “what am I watching and why am I watching it,” you’re doing it wrong!
All the characters have their overblown clichés and the film is stitched together with one farced trope after another. A favorite character of mine was the Sasquatch hunter Chester (Hugo Armstrong; Coherence). He’s weird and played with a straight face but has some of the funniest lines…”A woman on the radio in the gentle forest silence…It’s like diarrhea in a kiddy pool” and “I couldn’t leave you running around in the dark like that, so…I shot you.”
This happens… A lodge entertainer goes full throttle while trying to create a diversion.
There’s a simple brilliance behind the bigfoot costumes. Without them, we’d have slimy warty jerks as antagonists. It would have looked stupid; it would have been stupid. Lord knows I’ve seen enough lousy student films helmed by visionless filmmakers. But with these silly costumes we are given something to laugh at and playfully mock instead of sneer at and hatefully criticize.
Speaking of silly, completely out of nowhere a doctor in a felt Abraham Lincoln beard (Doug Jones; John Dies at the End, Absentia) explains that the cause of the affliction is a combination of medical and pharmaceutical waste and some bacteria giving the men irregular strength and pain tolerance. He explains that they will continue to get stronger, faster and meaner until they die from overcharging their body. How Dr. Lincoln could know this is beyond me. This was just another utterly ridiculous nugget that made this silly movie work in its own way. Oh, and he can make an antidote…because he’s an expert in medicine, toxicology, pharmacology, and pretty much everything else and can conduct ground-breaking science in an hour with whatever is on hand at a vacation lodge in his office.
So far this movie is pretty fun, but there’s room to grow. But just then, in the spirit of Blood Glacier (2013) we encounter a mutant rage zombie moose, mutant rage zombie trout swimming upstream, and a flock of mutant rage zombie geese. Again, these effects are not necessarily good, but they are abundant and easily “good enough” and most importantly they are FUN. The real treat comes at the end…mutant rage zombie squirrels!!! They swarm lodge entertainer Brandi (Heather Rae Young; Chillerama), strip her naked while biting her all over, and make roaring sounds. Then, as if combining “The Cat from Hell” (Tales from the Darkside: The Movie) with Alien (1979), one of them forces itself down her throat and then tears out of her chest between her breasts, ringing the dinner bell for the bigfoot gang to chow down on some bloody, gut-covered boobs.
Because mutant squirrel zombies roar. LOL
Things are really getting out of hand at this point. Then, out of nowhere, the “real” bigfoot shows up (with a moderately more convincing costume than the mutant age zombies) and battles the electrically charged Kane Hodder mutant rage zombie. Then zombie raccoons, a moose and roaring squirrels show up for a final fight battle montage. This is nuts.
This movie is loads of fun and the moment you think you’ve hit the climax of the excitement it gives you more zany, gory madness again and again. Give this fine slapstick horror comedy a chance.