Wednesday, March 30, 2005

BITE ME!

Director Brett Piper’s second movie for ei Independent Cinema’s Shock-O-Rama label is BITE ME! (2004), and while it’s not as good as his previous flick for the studio, THE SCREAMING DEAD, it’s got its moments.

Essentially a monster movie comedy, BITE ME! begins when a crate of bio-engineered marijuana gets misdirected to a cut-rate strip joint after a drug deal goes wrong. The crate also contains a bunch of mutant spiders, which get loose in the club, prompting the owner to call in an exterminator (played by Rob Monkiewicz, Piper’s regular Bruce Campbell-wannabe goofball hero). Before long, the whole thing has become a screwball farce, with strippers, an insane DEA agent, and a few other random characters running around being chased by cheesy CGI bugs.

I normally like Brett Piper’s films, but this one was a bit of a letdown. For one thing, I’ve always admired Piper’s use of classic special effects techniques in his low budget films, particularly his stop-motion animation, but, while there’s some of that in here and it’s welcome, most of the spider effects are executed with decidedly shoddy CGI. The performances are broad, campy and badly underwritten, with even the usually likeable Misty Mundae coming off poorly.

However, as I said before, the movie does have its moments. Piper is a good director, and the flick is briskly paced and well edited. The cast includes several of ei’s trademark naked starlets, including Julian Wells and Caitlin Ross, and some of the jokes work. For girl watching, it might be worth an undemanding evening’s rental, but if you’re looking for giant spider mayhem, I’d suggest picking up the similarly themed ARACHNIA (2003, MTI Video), instead. Also written/directed by Piper and starring Monkiewicz, it’s a delightful homage to 50’s giant monster movies like THE BLACK SCORPION (1957) and THEM! (1954) and a lot better than BITE ME!

ei’s DVD of BITE ME! Is a full-frame video transfer, crystal sharp and clear. The usual generous ei extras include several documentaries on the making and selling of the film, another Misty Mundae personality featurette, a music video (also featuring Mundae), and the usual slew of Seduction Cinema and Shock-O-Rama trailers.

BUY: Bite Me