Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Munchies
“The fire of the gods? I wonder what that could be”
Jarv’s Rating: 3 Murphs. Offensively awful rip off of Gremlins with all the charm of the fat cunt himself. Unamusing, unoriginal, worthless horseshit. Watch Critters instead if you really want to see Gremlins plagiarised.
Mrs. Jarv is a very patient woman. I’m sure that she thinks that I’m basically a retard, and worth only pity, but she has got a level of tolerance for my idiotic foibles that would put Mother Theresa to shame. This film is a case in point.
In the beginning, there was Gremlins. A film about nasty little midget monsters that terrorise a small town. Joe Dante’s film was successful and as is the way with these things spawned a huge slew of lesser imitators. Some, such as Critters, were passable to quite good, but others were not. Munchies is one of the ones that failed, and it didn’t fail by a little bit- it was such an enormous and crushing failure that it managed to somehow make both Ghoulies and the justifiably maligned Hobgoblin look good. This is a shit film.
Anyhow, being me, I was seduced by the poster. The poster makes the film look like great schlocky fun. Unfortunately, the only thing that poster has in common with the actual film is the little crocodile monster thingy. It’s a complete misrepresentation. This is what the film is actually about: Simon Watterman (Harvey Korman), a nutjob archeologist drags his cretinous, unfunny son Paul (Charlie Stratton) on a dig in Peru. They discover a small affectionate monster, which for reasons best known to themselves they smuggle back to small town USA. Simon goes off to the university to prove that he has a real alien in the bag, leaving the Munchie (that they’ve christened Arnold) in Paul and his girlfriend Cindy’s (Nadine Van der Velde) tender care. Paul and Nadine go off to have possibly the weirdest sex ever seen on film (inflatable hammers!?!) and Simon’s bastard brother Cecil kidnaps Arnold, who turns savage because of poor treatment and then escapes. Hilarity singularly fails to ensue.
Basically, as I’ve touched briefly on, this film is fucking atrocious. To begin with, it doesn’t know what it wants to be- is it a kiddie film (the sequels went down that line) or a proper monster movie? I personally do not consider this to be a kiddie film, despite the obvious cuteness, due to a series of crass and embarrassing sex jokes. I’m pretty liberal, but I’m absolutely positive that I would not be comfortable letting a child see any film where a South American Crocodile type monster wanked itself into a frenzy over an old playboy inside a duffel bag. This is, by the way, a mistake that burrito-breath Murphy produced Giant Robots Hitting Each Othertm; also made. If it’s child-friendly then wank gags should absolutely be off the table. Then there’s the risible and cringeworthy “distract them” scene which has Cindy in full 80’s gear attempting to distract the Munchies by gyrating like a stripper. There’s no skin, so that’s OK, but really- they’re small crocodile monsters, why the fuck are they getting sexually aroused by a small (and quite cute) human woman. I’ve not seen such stupidity outside of Splice (albeit it was a man aroused by an animal in that instance).
The writing in this film is fucking wretched. Paul works out that the monsters reproduce like worms for no good reason, then proceeds to watch as his idiot uncle cuts one into 4 pieces. He also works out how to kill them from a conveniently placed book that may as well really be called “how to kill Incan crocodile monsters”. The rest of the characterisation can generously be described as paper-thin and downright irritating. Furthermore, there are gargantuan plot holes- one I particularly like is that they just forget about one of the monsters that is persecuting Cindy. Paul kills the rest of them, but this one just disappears, and they weren’t planning for a sequel (that’s done another way), it’s just rank incompetence.
The acting is shit, with the honourable exception of Korman, but that’s to be expected with a script as bad as this one. The Munchie effects are utterly meh, the humour is flat-out unfunny, the score is an irritating Kiddie-movie score and the direction (by otherwise accomplished editor Tina Hersch- who even edited Gremlins) is just utterly shambolic.
As if all of the above wasn’t shit enough, Munchies is a film that knows damned well that it’s basically stealing from Gremlins. Therefore there are fucking nods galore to the vastly superior model. The shitty car that the munchies steal has “Gizmo” as part of its number plate, there are Gremlins posters, and other such references. It’s fucking maddening, because instead of being clever and postmodern (which is what they were obviously trying for), every time I saw one it just made me think “I wish I was watching Gremlins instead of this annoying, unfunny shit”.
Overall, would I recommend this film? Well, I’d recommend Gremlins, and I’d recommend Critters, but if you ever catch me recommending this utterly third-rate facsimile then you will know that I’ve been on the receiving end of a massive blow to the cortex. It’s fucking diabolically awful garbage (although I am told that the sequels are better) that leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. It isn’t violent or gory enough to be an adult film and yet has sex gags that prohibit it being family fare, the ending is unsatisfactory, the acting shit and, oh fuck it, everything about it on any reasonable critical or entertainment level fails.
Munchies is celluloid dogshit of the lowest order and do not under any circumstances put it on. It’s terrible.
Until next time,