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John’s Horror Corner: Critters 2: The Main Course (1988), the gorier sci-horror comedy creature feature sequel that is somehow NOT rated R.

October 6, 2018

MY CALL: Every bit as fun as part 1 and a satisfyingly fun creature feature for fans of Gremlins (1984) and Ghoulies 2 (1988). Loads of off-the-wall inventiveness, some blood and boobs, and likably cute miscreant monsters make this a blast! MORE MOVIES LIKE Critters 2Critters (1986), Gremlins (1984), Ghoulies 2 (1988), Tremors (1990), Grabbers (2012)… maybe even Munchies (1987) and Hobgoblins (1988), although they are of considerably lower quality. Leprechaun (1993) is also a decent R-rated horror comedy follow-up for fans of Critters.

Remember how part 1 ended with a clutch of eggs? Well, after yet another cheesy sci-fi spaceship opening, Charlie (Don Keith Opper; Critters 1-4), Ug (Terrence Mann; Critters 1-4) and Lee (Roxanne Kernohan; Not of this Earth, Scream Queen Hot Tub Party) the alien bounty hunters receive orders from their big-headed ruler Zanti (Cynthia Garris; Sleepwalkers, Psycho IV, The Stand) to return to Earth and eliminate the residual “crites.”

In the stupidest way possible, the yet unhatched crite eggs are sold as Easter eggs by local yokels—just in time for the resurrection! And when they hatch, they’re like a batch of rabid infernal Pomeranians gnawing on dead dogs and biting off toes and chunks of feet! The blood is moderate and the gore is mild for horror in general, but perhaps on the heavy side for PG-13.

With ironic timing, Brad (Scott Grimes; Critters) returns home two years after the first Critter invasion just in time for the hatch. And things kick into gear during Easter service bringing an edgier approach to the franchise we love.

Brad teams up with Megan (Liane Curtis; Girlfriend from Hell), Charlie and the bounty hunters to protect their little Kansas town from these diminutive carnivorous threats yet again and things are goofier than before. We see Lin Shaye (Critters, Insidious 1-4, Chillerama) with a fire axe, the Easter Bunny death scene is riot, and the eating scenes are 100% Gremlins influenced (in the most wonderful and self-aware way).

Director Mick Garris (Sleepwalkers, Psycho IV, The Stand) brings all the fun and humor to this sequel to make it a worthy follow-up to the beloved original. When an alien hatchling is stepped on it makes a gooey mess, another is cartoonishly flattened when run over by a car, they ravage kitchens like Gremlins, and everything feels just and lively and feisty as before. They still talk in subtitles saying silly things and zany sound effects complement the humor. Not only that, but this PG-13 movie managed to slip in some healthy boobage during Lee’s transformation into a naked Playboy Playmate (which includes the actual STAPLE from the magazine binding). That said, this sequel is less kid-friendly than part 1. Even the gore is notably dialed up with macabre flesh-eaten bones. How is this not rated R?

Part 1 had a giant critter, so they sequel balls up loads of critters into a giant killer ball of mouths that mows over panicked townsfolk like a flesh-eating lawnmower leaving bloody skeletons in its wake. Meanwhile the individual critters get loads of screen time, both as cute and menacing as ever, with a combination of animatronics and cute puppet work.

This sequel isn’t trying to be anything it isn’t. Despite taking place in the exact same setting with many returning characters, it remains a delight all on its own and every bit as good as (or better than) part 1. In the end Charlie saves the day, Ug beams up to another spaceship (to go home I guess), Charlie is deputized, and everyone acts like this happy ending didn’t at all involve seeing people eaten alive.

This fun creature feature will happily please fans of Gremlins (1984) and Ghoulies 2 (1988).  What it lacks in intrigue, it more than compensates in off-the-wall inventiveness, frequent self-aware nods to the genre, and likable miscreant alien monsters. Enjoy.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 6, 2018 8:49 am

    I would love to have the critter ball in my backyard. I would build a replica of Raiders of the Lost Arc temple and use that ball to chase me down as I pretend to be Indiana Jones.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      October 6, 2018 9:17 am

      Am I old when my first reaction to that is “that sounds dangerous!” LOL

    • John Leavengood permalink
      October 6, 2018 9:30 am

      I mean, you only get one chance with that. Hahaha. Although, for some reason, young Brad had no time fending off like 10 critters at once when they were chasing the girl on the tricycle. So they’re not really all that tough… when you see them coming and already know what they are.

Trackbacks

  1. John’s Horror Corner: Critters 3: You Are What You Eat (1991), an inferior sequel with less gore, blood, action, humor and storytelling. | Movies, Films & Flix

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