A review by Robert Long ©2011
Tagline: He Clawed His Way To The Top!
Produced by Lorenzo Loco and Edward L. Plumb
Written and directed by L.J. Dopp
Widescreen, 92 Minutes, Unrated
A lurid sideshow carnival pulls into a one horse town (literally – there are only two families in this “town”) to perform. One of the local women (Angela Berliner) falls in love with a main stage freak – the Lobster Baby (Zenius Muleckis). Badly abused, the Lobster Baby escapes from his cage – leaving a wake of bloodied bodies behind him as he searches for his new found love. He also ends up impregnating several of the town women during his rampage. Horror and hilarity ensue in this terrific send up to low budget grind-house films from the 1950s through the 1980s.
Crustacean is done very much in the style of John Waters – I think the trailer park featured even has some pink plastic flamingos in it as a homage to that quirky filmmaker. Everything plus the kitchen sink has been thrown into the mix, and makes for a lot of unrated fun. Written and directed by LJ Dopp and produced by Edward L Plumb, this production has a real nice sheen to it that does not betray its low-budget nature.
The writing (penned by L.J. Dopp) for this is so tongue – in – cheek that the tongue actually drilled a hole through the side of the mouth. Taking on everything from gun control to Girls Gone Wild, the hot topics and pop culture references fly fast and furious in this screenplay. Basically this traveling freak show makes a huge mistake of plopping down in an area that maybe – maybe – has all of 20 people living in it. Way to make a profit folks. The citizens of this community are mostly composed from two families. The first group represented are the Stains – a family of gun toting rednecks consisting of a hick father (Tom Rees), a flatulent mother, three moron sons (lead by Brian Sheridan as Demond Stain), and a daughter (Elissa Dowling) that turns so many tricks that she wears knee pads.
On the “other side of the tracks” you have the Anderson family, whom seem to be well to do, but you wonder how they could be in a town of twenty. However, just because they seem to have some money does NOT mean that they aren’t a bit strange. Mom and Dad Anderson are a little bit outside of left field to be considered “normal.” Their adopted son Milo (Jacob Goble) is of German descent – walks on crutches – and has the “hots” for permanent exchange student Brittany Jones (Hannah Harper). Allison Anderson (Angela Berliner) is the somewhat normal, somewhat geeky daughter in the family, and is being hounded by her boyfriend Billy Ray Charles (Bryant Dillon) to “give up the goods” and have sex with him.
And what of the freak show itself? Well we have the ringmaster whom wears a fake mustache, a bearded lady that is really a man, a pirate that looks like he should tour with Jimmy Buffet, and a pair of Siamese pinhead twins that are neither joined together or twins. If it were not for the Lobster Baby, there would not be an honest “freak” in the whole menagerie. Of course after the Lobster Baby gets abused by the Stain brothers and escapes, the traveling sideshow is REALLY screwed.
CRUSTACEAN is a movie that is working on many different levels. There is the parodies (cop reality shows, talk shows), the homages (Motel Hell, Alien), the John Wateresque humor (the film is saturated with it), the nudity (most of it provided by the ever-sexy Hannah Harper), and the over-the-top Troma-like gore. Most of the characters do get a character arc by the end of the movie: the cripple becomes a bully, the bully becomes the victim, the hero becomes a drunk, and the Lobster Baby becomes a television talk show celebrity. Oh, and the shower scene between Hannah Harper and Angela Berliner has to be seen to be believed.
FINAL RATING: 7.5 out of 10 Lobster Tails. This is a fun movie that never takes itself seriously. While this will be too crude and risque for wee ones to watch, this is a fantastic party movie to share with friends. Also, the DVD comes jam-packed with extras – so grab a beer with some buddies and put this up on the widescreen; you won’t be disappointed.
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