Tuesday, June 21, 2011

June 18 - Zarkorr! The Invader (1996)

The cover of my VHS copy of Zarkorr! The Invader

Zarkorr! The Invader (1996)

Directors: Michael Deak, Aaron Osborne
Format: VHS (Video Unlimited)

What would happen if Full Moon, the now-defunct production company responsible for a string of demon doll movies (Puppetmaster series, Dollman vs Demonic Toys etc), went to the other end of the scale with a Godzilla-esque rubber suit monster flick?

Luckily for me, I won't have to go to my grave without ever knowing the answer to that question, because I've now seen Zarkorr! The Invader.

After the titular Zarkorr ("185 feet tall, 300 tons & deadly laser eyes" the front cover screams) busts its way out of the side of a mountain, New Jersey postal worker Tommy Ward (Rhys Pugh) is visited by a pint-sized alien who tells him he's been chosen to save mankind from the monster (apparently because he's the most average person on the planet).

He kidnaps a crypto-zoologist (Deprise Grossman) and enlists a cop to help his cause. They in turn go to a nerdy genius (Charles Schneider, BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR) and spend what seems like an age in his laboratory talking about how to beat Zarkorr. Determining that they need to go to Arizona to find the monster's off-switch (or some such baloney), our trio impersonate government agents and head off. They find some kind of egg and use it to defeat Zarkorr. The End.

While the plot has a few quirky elements, it doesn't throw up any surprises. The actors are a bunch of nobodies. In fact the male and female leads have no other credits to their names. Schneider is the standout, both for giving the most lively performance and the most grating one. Boy does he ham it up bigtime.

The one thing that I will forever associate with Full Moon movies is chintzy keyboard music. Zarkorr doesn't disappoint on that front, with Richard Band once again twinkling the keys with cheesy enthusiasm.

And what about the monster effects? This is a man-in-rubber-suit monster mash right? Yes it is, and there are enough shots of Zarkorr laying the smackdown on model buildings to keep most kaijuu fans happy.

Zarkorr doesn't take itself seriously and has the right vibe for what it is - a low budget American homage to Toho movies (Godzilla, Mothra etc). Go into it with the right mindset and you're in for a fun time.

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