Ratings Key



★★★★
= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
★★★
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Phantugram ammahit (2004)

... aka: Devil Species
... aka: Doctor Snake

Directed by:
Poom-Opium

Boy, oh boy... After watching what could easily be the worst monster movie of the new millennium (it's so bad it makes SyFy Channel films look great by comparison!) I immediately went to IMDb looking for other reviews and sadly found the page as empty as the heads of the people who made this movie. As of this writing, the film only has the year, director, genre and original title listed here at IMDb. The only way I was even able to find it was because the director has one of the most ridiculous sounding names I've ever heard. Get this... Poom-Opium (!?) Yes, that's right, Poom-Opium. I cross-referenced google and found out that Devil Species (the film I just watched) was originally called Phantugram ammahit. It was also released under the title Doctor Snake, but no matter what title you see it under, I guarantee it'll be one of the worst movies you've ever seen. Take that as a recommendation if you want. It's often hysterically funny. I don't regret watching it. I laughed. A lot.

It starts with a senseless ten-minute pre-credit sequence I think is supposed to be set in America and features campers getting attacked and killed. The problem? For starters, the American campers are obviously played by Eastern Europeans who obviously don't speak of a lick of English and stumble over their sentences as they try to pronounce all the words phonetically. You can tell they have absolutely no clue what they're saying... and neither did I! One of the females in the group goes swimming in a lake, is bit by a snake and then turns into a red-eyed, fanged monster who kills all her friends. After that, the film cuts to some press conference in Switzerland where attractive doctor Diana and her father Dr. Rung have just received an award for their new snake bite serum. The two doctors return to their lab in Thailand. The female monster from the opening sequence is there floating in a tank and they talk about doing experiments on one of their Indonesian "devil snakes" which everyone refers to as "fierce." What, did Tyra write this or something?

Dr. Rung ends up getting sprayed in the face by the devil snake's venom and goes on to become a hilarious fanged snake-man monster that looks on par with some of the schlockier monster creations of the 1950s. He then basically spends the rest of the movie wandering the hallways and on occasion will grab one of the dozen odd female student lab techs working late as the camera cuts away long enough for someone to fling blood on the wall. And that's about all she wrote with this one. The fx, monster, acting and dialogue are all awful, it's full of continuity errors and some hilarious subtitles ("Why hasn't uncle Hem feeded it yet?") However I cannot give this film my lowest rating because even though it appears to have been shot on digital video, the cinematography is at times excellent. I kid you not. There are some excellently lit and composed shots, as well as decent art direction. Well, I don't know about that stuffed gazelle head hanging in the lab, but whatever... Oh yeah, and I wonder if they actually paid for the rights to have Blondie's "Call Me" on the soundtrack? If you like laughably bad monster movies, you'll find a lot to enjoy here.

SBIG

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