Friday, July 1, 2016

TRICLOPS

From independent genre filmmaker Brett Piper (QUEEN CRAB, SHOCK-O-RAMA) comes another refreshingly old fashioned creature feature romp, TRICLOPS (2016), recently released as a DVD-R by Alpha Video.

An Air Force pilot named Glenn Edwards accidentally crashes his jet into the remote and forbidden Amorak Crater. After appeals to the government for help are ignored, his fiancee, Samantha Katzman (the appealing Erin Waterhouse), decides to stage her own rescue mission, backed by Glenn's brother, Tom (Matthew Crawley). They hire a down-on-his-luck pilot named Denning (Ken VanSant, QUEEN CRAB) to fly them into the restricted crater, and there, along with a tag-along crook (Richard Lounello), they soon discover that the crater interior is a bizarre lost world, populated with a wide variety of strange, mutant creatures... and a thirty-foot tall malformed giant with three eyes.

TRICLOPS is a fun throwback, a homage to classic B-movie Atom Age monster movies of the Fifties. The plot itself is mostly borrowed from the 1957 Bert I. Gordon flick, THE CYCLOPS, but Piper's movie is full of in-jokes and references to dozens of classic creature features, and spotting them is part of the fun. The effects - featuring a plethora of Piper's trademark stop-motion critters - are pretty remarkable for a movie with such a meager budget, and it's all even more impressive when you discover just how much of the film is composed of special effects shots.

The acting by the game cast is stronger than in some of Brett's other recent productions, with a good lead actress in Erin Waterhous and solid character work from the rest of the small cast, with VanSant and Lounello standing out.

Alpha Video's DVD-R presentation of TRICLOPS has some minor authoring issues, but overall it's a decent release, with a 16x9 anamorphic widescreen transfer and a handful of cool extras. First, there's an excellent audio commentary by the cast & director Piper (with Waterhouse joining in by phone) covering virtually every aspect of the production and revealing just how many jobs everyone involved had to handle in order to pull the whole thing together. Special effects secrets are revealed, and anecdotes about everything from location scouting to costume choices are shared. An amusing blooper reel rounds out the package.

For fans of Old School B-movies and unabashed monster mayhem, TRICLOPS is a treat. The disc is available through online retailers or directly from oldies.com. And if you'd rather sample it first, filmmaker Piper has made it available for online streaming through his own Atomic Age Cinema channel on Vimeo.