The Crater Lake Monster (1977)

In 1977, a film came out that was the pinnacle of special effects technology, and it redefined what a film could be. That film. . . was Star Wars. Today I am reviewing this garbage, The Crater Lake Monster. I’ll give it one thing: with the subject matter and score, it emulates a 1950’s B-movie far better than The Giant Spider or Demon with the Atomic Brain, albeit mostly accidentally. 

The story begins when a group of scientists are studying some cave paintings, showcasing that at least one species of dinosaur, namely the plesiosaur, coexisted with humans. Suddenly a meteorite falls into the nearby lake. We find out later that meteorite acted as some sort of incubator, and facilitated the hatching of a dormant plesiosaur egg. How it hatched fully grown is anyone’s guess.

Aww, who’s a cute little baby? You are! Yes, you are!

Now in a movie titled The Crater Lake Monster, you’d be expecting the film to focus on the monster. Unfortunately for you, like so many other bad monster movies, you will see very little of the monster. It’s not as bad as Monstroid, but still, I came for a monster, so give me a monster. When the creature does bear his ugly mug, it’s done with either stop-motion animation or a large puppet. The stop-motion sequences were overseen by David W. Allen, largely viewed by many as one of the best in the stop-motion industry. This is probably not his best work. It’s not terrible, but it’s certainly cheezy. Maybe that’s what they were going for. At least it’s not as bad as the puppet that was used for the scenes in which the monster has to be swimming because that thing is goofy as hell.

It looks even sillier in motion, I assure you.

However, we spend most of our time with a host of colorful characters: Our (kinda) protagonist the sheriff that investigates the killings and ultimately faces the monster head on with a bulldozer, the scientists (although we hardly see them), a man with a terrible British accent and his wife, a robber (weirdly, we get to see a bit of his daily life before we watch his armed robbery of a convenience store, that is gratuitously violent and wholly unnecessary) who gets gobbled up by the monster, and we spend an inordinate amount of time with two comically dumb hicks named Mitch and Arnie and their stupid antics. Honestly, there is so much from those hicks in this film that it should have been called “Mitch and Arnie: The Movie”. Most of their scenes have nothing to do with the plot. We spend a good 7 minutes watching them get plastered and then drunkenly stumble around the woods, and it goes nowhere. Why was so much screen time devoted to these clowns?

The true stars of the film: Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber.

The worst thing about this movie is that it’s just boring, not awful like the others. It doesn’t give me a lot to ridicule. I’m most likely not going to remember anything about this movie by the end of the year. If you’re gonna be bad, be horrendously bad, just so it’s entertaining in that regard. Don’t be the forgettable kind of bad. With the setting being a lakeside woodsy area, I kept hoping that Jason Voorhees would pop out and begin a killing spree. Now that would have been fun: Plesiosaur Vs. Jason!


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