“Love in the Time of Monsters” is a 2014 horror comedy of Bigfoot proportions. Sisters Marla and Carla visit the cheesiest Americana tourist trap known to man, only to find it overrun by toxic mutant zombies wearing Bigfoot costumes. Faster than you can say “Apple Pie” the mayhem ensues and they soon find themselves fighting to save each other, and their loved ones. Directed by Matt Jackson and written by Michael Skvarla. Starring Gene Shaw and Marissa Skell; featuring talents such as Michael McShane, Doug Jones and Kane Hodder.
“Love in the Time of Monsters” is a horror comedy full of snarky quirky quips and one liners, and I love it! It is such a fun movie! It’s right up there in terms of crazy woodland creature puppetry as “Zombeavers.”
You can always tell what kind of movie it’s going to be when the opening scene features a Paul Bunyan statue whose axe falls and “axedentally” ( Ha!) kills a tourist.
Enter two sisters: Carla and Marla, of whom occasionally get called Carlie and Marlie, amongst other names. I swear, this movie purposefully changed the name of actors in some scenes because I got a little confused as to who was called what at one point. Is it a sign of poor writing? Maybe. Or maybe it was done on purpose. Considering just how clever the script is in terms of character interactions, I’d like to think the latter is true in this situation. Yes, I think that highly of the script writing of this movie.
One interesting thing I noticed about this movie is that the women have more one liners than the men do, and it doesn’t feel forced at all. Overall there is a very strong cast of quirky characters, which impressed me considering that this is a cheesy B-movie. More importantly, the women are not damsels in distress (DIDs), they are strong and proactive in each scene they appear in. In a genre where beautiful women make up a good portion of the main cast, there are very few instances of scenes made purely for eye candy. Except for that one at the end, but hey, it’s a B horror movie, it has to have at least one pair of exposed boobs, right?
You’re not allowed to hunt mythical creatures on a family campground!
Once the sisters make it to the lodge, we have the typical run down/introduction of the colorful characters that work and live there:
- Uncle Slavko (Michael McShane)
- The Big Kahuna and his Hula Dancers
- Bigfoot impersonators 1-5: One of which is Johnny, Carla’s fiance and hunny bunny.
- Armando the poetry quoting bartender with fake “Rico Suave” accent
- Chester: the Manly Beard of Power wearing, cabin dwelling, Bigfoot hunting softie with a heart of gold.
- Agatha: Manager and Head Bitch in Charge
- Lou (Kane Hodder) Head fake Bigfoot impersonator/resort actor. Hodder does a fantastic job in his role. He really seems to enjoy bossing the other ‘Squatches around.
- Dr. Abraham Lincoln (Doug Jones) who is far smarter than a resort doctor should be. Nothing says cool like Doug Jones playing a doctor dressed up as Abraham Lincoln singing the “Oonce” trance song as he works.
- Jade: The sassy Bitch in Charge of housekeeping
The Bigfoot impersonators are a bunch of guys working an extra summer job for a variety of reasons. Well, except for Dan; that job is his life! They’re at a meeting in their Bigfoot costumes and one of them sneaks off go to take a smoke break, I mean smoke some weed, over by the swamp. The genius drops his doobie in the water and for some reason goes to fish it out and he falls in and is killed by the disgusting lump of toxic sludge sitting on its surface.
The guys argue about calling the cops about the accident and it turns into a fist fight that lands all of them into the toxic laden swamp water. The water turns them all into zombie mutant cannibals wearing Bigfoot costumes, which is freaking hilarious.
After this, all hell breaks loose and the mutant Bigfoot cannibal zombies go on a killing spree, turning Uncle Slavko’s All American Family Lodge into a zombie buffet. Please note, being scratched by one of these monsters will NOT in fact, turn you into a zombie. Take that zombie trope clichés! Mwahahahaaa!
People start dropping like flies, and amidst all the carnage; two different love stories unfold. Yup. That’s right. There’s love in them there forest lodges. It’s a surprisingly sophisticated turn of events I might add, as I wasn’t expecting a love triangle to be so sophisticated in such a fun, silly horror comedy.
The romantic side plot development raises the stakes, makes the audience care more about the characters, and is quite engaging, making this more than just a shallow romp through mutant zombie cannibal land.
Just about everything is this film is a set up of common horror movie clichés that are quickly torn down. And I love that. For once a horror film accurately portrays what happens when drunken assholes try to have a random hook up at a bar. Yup, that’s right. Nothing! They get turned down.
To quote Armando, “Don’t stick your dick in crazy.”
Carla is chased by her now mutant zombie Bigfoot fiance and ends up at Chester’s cabin in the woods. Chester isn’t the usual woodlands recluse hick. He is honorable, and treats her like a lady. How about that?
The only Bigfoot actor left unscathed is Dan, who takes his job super serious, but doesn’t really want to get involved until he’s forced to help Chester get Carla back to the lodge.
Meanwhile, Marla gets into a fight with Armando, and is told by Marianna to look out a window facing the woods as that is the best place to see the tree line to look for her sister. Carla, Chester and Dan make it to the lodge and fight their way through the mutated Bigfoot cannibals to get inside. Dan gets stuck on the outside stairs when the window slams shut.
“This job is my life!” he shouts throws an axe to hit a ‘Squatch zombie and totally misses. This axe then becomes Chekhov’s Axe in the climax of the movie. More on that later.
Marla is attacked by a Bigfoot Zombie and shoves a bottle of liquor into its mouth and makes it drink it, and it passes out. Liquor is their only weakness? Awesome!
They tie up the Bigfoot zombie and Dr. Lincoln takes blood samples to study and try to figure out what happened. After some time passes they talk to Dr. Doug Lincoln and agree to sit and eat some pie while he explains what he’s discovered about the creatures.
The Bigfoot actors have been affected by a super cocktail of various toxic and medical wastes, and a bacteria that grows in pesticides, which mutated their DNA and gave them +25 Strength and Endurance! D&D jokes FTW!
According to Dr. Doug, “They’re going to continue to mutate to get meaner, faster, stronger until their heads blow up”, unless he can find the missing toxic ingredient and create an antidote to reverse the mutation process. (This is a lighthearted horror comedy after all, not a dark one.)
The survivors come up with a plan to distract the ‘Squatch zombies while Chester, Dan and Jade run over to the swamp and get a sample of the water so that Dr. Doug can uncover the final ingredient and create the antidote.
So, the Big Kahuna and his Hula Dancer dance like life depended on it and put on a crazy light and dance show with loud music to distract the ‘Squatch zombies, and it works. The windows and doors were boarded up and covered with barbed wire to keep the monsters from getting in.
Everything goes crazy bananas from this point on, and it’s glorious!
Over at the swamp, a zombie moose shows up. They try to lose it in the river, and mutant zombie fish attack! Soon after, mutant zombie Canadian geese, and mutant squirrels attack them. They barely make it back to the lodge alive.
Dr. Doug makes the antidote, only to have it stolen by none other than Uncle Slavko! Turns out he was paid by companies and let them dump toxic waste in the swamp on his property. He takes all the evidence pointing to his guilt and makes a run for it. His wife, Marianna goes after him and they have their last fight together.
The remaining Hula Dancer is attacked by a mob of mutant killer squirrels, in an homage to Alien with a chest-burster squirrel scene. It’s hilarious!
The sisters fight to get Johnny the antidote, and soon after they give it to him, an entire horde of various mutated zombie forest creatures attacks, led by the huge killer mutated moose.
Chekhov’s axe is retrieved from the pavement where it landed the previous night after Dan threw it, and Armando, Marla and Carla fight off the mutant animals in a glorious fight to the death!
Just when it looks like it can’t get any worse, the lightning powered Lou mutant comes onto the scene and attacks! Then real Bigfoot shows up to kick Lou monster’s butt.
There’s a really awesome montage rock n’ roll fight scene with mutant animals, and Bigfoot helps save the day.
Yay! Happy ending!
We love family vacation!
If you like cheesy campy B-movies and smart horror comedies, you’ll really enjoy “Love in the Time of Monsters.”