The Merits of Sin: Monstroid aka Monster aka It Came from the Lake aka The Beast from Beyond aka Monster, the Legend that Became a Terror aka Are You Still Reading This? (1980) (USA)

It always amazes me just how much fun I have with films made from scrapping the bottom of the barrel. Monstroid should never be considered entertainment. It’s boring, poorly filmed and has the acting talent of balsa wood that was left out in a thunderstorm. Yet, here I am ready to ramble on about it in a positive light. Does that make me a hero? No. It makes me an idiot.

Anyone who watches anything based on my recommendation

The Dorado cement plant has been polluting the ever loving fuck of a Colombian lake in the small village they’ve set up shop in. Not only has it made the fish inedible, it’s managed to piss off a large sea monster/local legend. The creature has made itself known by chowing down on a local. The monster attack has not only turned the dead man’s wife into a reclusive widow but has allowed for one Victor Sanchez to use the beast as a means to turn the village against their major employer and hopefully get the pesky Americans out of his beloved country. Add to that an intrepid female journalist reporting on all the pollution and Dorado has a hell of a mess on their hands. This forces an ass grabbing executive to send in a troubleshooter and salvage his business. Bill Travis, who is played by Jim Mitchum (who looks like gonorrhea took human form), travels to Colombia to take care of business.

Some antibiotics will clear him right up

Bill has a run in with the reporter Patty and they immediately get on each other’s nerves. They go at it so hard that there’s no way in hell they’re not falling in love. He refuses an interview and pretty much tells her to fuck right off. The Colombian plant boss has some shit going on as well as we are introduced to him breaking up with a blonde secretary for the mayor’s daughter/the only helicopter pilot in the village. Trust me…it’s an upgrade. The jilted blonde gets eaten shortly after Pete (the boss) throws her a farewell bone (wordplay!).

Surely this late night dip in the lake will end well

When the dead blonde’s corpse is discovered, Bill decides its time to do some investigating. The plant supervisor’s son claims he has seen the monster before and Bill doesn’t dismiss him like so many others have. More issues arise when the locals blame the widow for summoning the monster because apparently grieving women are witches. At least I think that’s how the train of thought went. A full plate of shittery keeps everyone busy (but not so busy as not to find love) and the goofy ass monster lurks around, causing a shockingly minimal body count.

DAAAABLAAAAAAAR!!!!!

I have suspicions that this film was shot on used film stock near the end of a cocaine fueled Colombian vacation. The muddy night shooting mostly showcases indecipherable action and the film warps almost at every chance it gets. John Carradine shows up as a priest that half asses an exorcism and Jim Mitchum is there to remind you that his father passed on nothing but his looks to his kids. Patty the reporter struggles through her lines and the whole thing sends out some racist vibes. The obviously shitty cement company is made out to be the hero and the Colombian freedom fighters perish in a witch burning that turns into a gasoline explosion. It’s all so wrong but oh so right.

He gets it…. and he’ll probably give it to you

Monstroid is garbage but the kind of garbage you think fondly of every time you pass an odorous dumpster. The monster isn’t seen till the climax… well, it may have been seen earlier but fuck if I can tell… and everyone gives off that vibe that they were either working for a free Colombian vacation or paying off a large debt. It’s the kind of dire straits that makes for primo trash cinema. 6/10


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