Let’s Talk About Monster Island (dir by Mark Atkins)


Oh hell yeah, the Asylum strikes again!  And this time, it’s all about Kaiju, helicopters, and Eric Roberts!

Listen, folks, if you don’t get automatically excited when you see the words “Kaiju,” “helicopters,” and “Eric Roberts” all in the same sentence, I don’t know what to tell.  Obviously, you’re not the audience that this film was made for.  This is a film for people who enjoy monster mayhem, things exploding, and helicopters.  Seriously, it’s not an Asylum film without a helicopter.

Admittedly, Eric Roberts’s role is actually pretty small.  He plays Admiral Butler and he’s got an entire fleet of warships at his disposal.  You’d think that would be just what you would want when dealing with a bunch of recently awakened ancient monsters but it turns out that  the Admiral is pretty stubborn.  He’s better at shouting into telephones than understanding the logic behind Kaiju.  And if you’re saying to yourself, “Would we really want Eric Roberts to be in charge of the U.S. Navy?,” you are again missing the point.  Asylum films, like this one, create their own parallel universe.  It’s a universe where monsters live, sea creatures can take down helicopters, and, of course, Eric Roberts is going to be in charge of a battleship.

The main character is Billy Ford (Adrian Bouchet, giving a cheerfully flamboyant performance), a billionaire who operates out of a beach house and whose underwater sea mining operation may be responsible for awakening the fearsome Tengu.  (Tengu looks kind of like a giant starfish and has molten magma for blood.)  Billy has two people working in the basement of his beach house.  Cherise (Donna Cormack Thompson) has been working with him forever.  Riley (Chris Fisher, giving a nicely neurotic performance) is such a recent hire that Billy still calls him “James.”  When it becomes apparent that something has awakened at the bottom of the ocean, Billy, Cherise, and Riley head underwater to investigate.

Coming along with them is Sarah Murray (Natalie Robbie), who works for the government and who is an expert in geomythology.  Geomythology is the study of alleged references to actual geological events in mythology.  Geomythology is a real thing and, after having watched this movie, I kind of wish that I had at least minored in it.  At one point, Sarah has to go to her former Geomythology professor (Margot Wood) for advice on how to stop Tengu from destroying the world and it turns out the professor lives in this huge cabin.  There’s money to made in keeping track of the world’s Kaiju.

Anyway, needless to say, once Tengu is awakened, it’s pretty much determined to end the world.  This movie, as you can probably guess from the title, pays homage to the Japanese monster movies of old.  When flying, fire-breathing monsters start hatching from eggs and attacking the world, their battle shrieks will be familiar to anyone who has ever seen a movie featuring Godzilla, Mothra, or Rodan.  When the film reaches the point of two giant monsters fighting each other while a bunch of human beings watch on, it’s impossible not to be reminded of Godzilla fighting King Kong.  It’s all in good fun, a monster movie made by people who loves monster movies for people who love monster movies.

Monster Island is a film to watch and to enjoy for the mayhem and the destruction.  Watch it to enjoy Eric Roberts bragging about the Navy’s new “sonar weapon.”  Watch it for the scene where one person makes the mistake of taunting one of the monsters.  (Piece of advice: Don’t ever yell “Come on!” at a create that can breathe fire.)  Watch it for giant starfish rising out of the ocean and the crashing helicopters.  Get a group of your friends together and enjoy the movie because the Asylum is back and so are the monsters and the helicopters!

Monster Island aired on the SyFy Network last night and it’ll probably air again.  Keep an eye out!

Let’s Talk About 6-Headed Shark Attack (dir by Mark Atkins)


Right now, we’re in the middle of SyFy’s Sharknado week. On Sunday night, SyFy will premiering what they say is going to be The Last Sharknado. In the days leading up to that moment, they’ve been reshowing all of their classic shark films and premiering a new shark film each night!

Saturday night’s premiere was 6-Headed Shark Attack!

“Oh, Hell yeah!” I shouted when I first saw the title of this movie.  So much attention has been paid to The Asylum’s Sharknado franchise that people tend to overlook that the Asylum has another equally entertaining franchise, the multi-headed shark franchise.

Starting with 2-Headed Shark Attack in 2012, the Asylum has steadily been increasing the number of heads on its sharks.  Indeed, one of the pleasures of these multi-headed shark films has been trying to guess just how exactly all of those shark heads would fit on just one shark body.  With last year’s 5-Headed Shark Attack, we ended up with a shark who had four heads at the front and, rather awkwardly, one head on its tail.  The shark in 6-Headed Shark Attack is shaped by like a starfish and is perhaps the most impressive multi-headed shark yet.

What was it that made the 6-headed shark so impressive?  Well, have you ever seen a shark crawl out of the ocean and chase someone across a beach?  Watch 6-Headed Shark Attack and you will!  By using two of its heads as legs, the shark could move pretty quickly across sand.  As a result, the timeless advice of “Don’t go in the water” isn’t going to help you out when it comes to the 6-headed shark!

Another great thing about the 6-headed shark is that it had super healing powers!  For instance, if it lost one head, another head would eventually pop up in its place.  In perhaps one of the greatest scenes ever to be found in an Asylum shark film, the 6-headed shark actually ripped off one of its own heads and threw it at someone!  Not even Jaws could do that!

Whereas previous multi-headed shark films pretty much ignored the question of just how a shark ended up with multiple heads, 6-Headed Shark Attack actually does provide a bit of an origin for its title character.  It was created as the result of a military research lab that was located on a remote island.  The lab has long since been abandoned but the 6-headed shark is still out there.  Unfortunately, the island is currently being used for couples therapy, which is being led by Will (Brandon Auret).  Even once the 6-headed shark shows up, Will remains determined to bring everyone together and help them achieve their full potential.  There’s something oddly touching about Will’s effort to do his job, even when there’s a shark throwing one of its heads at his clients.

I liked 6-Headed Shark Attack.  This is one of those films that works because it delivers exactly what it promised.  The title declares that we’re going to get a 6-Headed Shark Attack and that’s what we get!  If you can’t enjoy the sight of a shark with 6 heads chasing people across the beach, I worry about you.