Comedy, Family, Monsters

Munchies (1987)

0 Comments 23 August 2012

Studio: CAV/New Concorde
Theatrical Release: March 1987
DVD Release: March 23, 2004
Director: Tina Hirsch
PG

Review by James Klein

Roger Corman’s Gremlins rip-off came out a little too late by the time 1987 rolled around. Gremlins, Ghoulies, Critters, and Troll had all been out by then; all of which had some sort of small, nasty, mischievous creatures terrorizing the innocent. By the time Munchies was released, the little creature faze was pretty much stale. Maybe if Munchies had something new to show or say; maybe even if it was R rated and filled to the top with gore and boobs, this low budget comedy may have been worth a look. However, unlike other Roger Corman films, he opted to go soft and make a family film with Munchies. This is where the film ultimately fails.

The great and usually hilarious Harvey Korman stars as Simon Watterman, an archeologist who, along with his son Paul, find a rare creature inPeruwho they capture to bring back to the states. The kind and cute creature is taken back with them and no sooner have they arrived at home, Simon asks Paul if he could watch over the creature while he goes to a seminar to listen and speak to Dr. Crowder (a brief cameo by Corman vet Paul Bartel) regarding the creature. While Paul is trying to make out with his girlfriend Cindy, he gives the tiny creature (who they name Munchie as he likes to eat) a Playboy to look at. Meanwhile, Simon’s brother Cecil (Harvey Korman again, wearing a bad toupee and fake mustache) and his stepson capture the creature so they can sell it but just basically pisses the little guy off. Munchie grows fangs and claws, quickly attacking the stepson before the creature is cut apart. Little does anyone know, if a Munchie is cut apart, it’s pieces soon grow into other Munchies. From there on, you can pretty much guess the rest of the film as this plot follows Gremlins to the T (except without the decent special effects, directing, writing and laughs).

Director Tina Hirsch was actually the editor of Gremlins which seems odd that she has no idea how to make a decent little monster movie. The film seems as if it was meant for five year old children as the Munchies do nothing but spout off lame one-liners (“Head for the hills, momma!”) and talk about naked women. While I would normally laugh at such immature jokes, it just doesn’t come off very funny and is almost forced. It’s as if the director and writers are saying, “You loved Gremlins and Critters, right? Love The Munchies too! See? They like boobies and talk like perverts.” Maybe if their language and jokes were more adult oriented, we may have some laughs. But alas, Corman, Hirsch and company went right for the family friendly genre and basically wastes our time with this dreck.

What the hell is Harvey Korman doing in this? Did he lose a bet? He tries real hard with the horrible lines he is given but is never once funny. Not even bizarre cameos by Paul Bartel and Robert Picardo justify giving this film a chance. The movie is a mess and even families won’t find this entertaining. The Munchies don’t even eat much so why even call them Munchies?

The out of print DVD by New Concorde doesn’t look very good. The colors are all washed out and the theatrical trailer (yeah, somehow this played in theaters briefly) looks much better than the actual film. The colors look dull which I guess suits the movie. With just a trailer, the DVD doesn’t contain any other special features. I would love to hear the filmmakers trying to explain this one. Rating: ★½☆☆☆

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