In this issue of Tubi Terror, Malevolent Dark will dig deep in the creates of dusty eco-horror selections from our favorite streaming dungeon. We chose 3 movies where God’s creatures finally get pissed and get revenge on mankind for disrespecting Mother Nature. These might not represent the very best of the beast-attacks-man sub-genre of echo-horror films, but they have their own charm or in the case of Squirm (1976) a complete and total lack thereof.
George McGowan’s 1972 film Frogs is not a great movie. Critics are more than happy to enumerate the things wrong with this movie. Damn, I love this movie. The film follows a set of events that occur to wildlife photographer Picket Smith (Sam Elliot) as his life intersects with a filthy rich families plantation in a secluded bayou. After years of poisoning the bayou to get rid of the frogs, the wildlife fights back.
The critics are quick to call out that most of the kills DO NOT come from pissed off frogs. While this criticism rings true, this fact fails to detract from the things that this film does well.
For starters, Sam Elliot is flipping brilliant. Quite frankly his stage presence leaps off of the screen and its a wonder that his career didn’t go nuclear sooner. Notably, Joan Van Ark establishes her aristocratic bona fides in Frogs. While lesser known, Judy Pace delivers a fantastic performance as well. The film is a total slow burn. McGowan supplements this burn with some incredible nature photography depicting the wildlife of the swamp. We are talking National Geographic quality here.
In simply eco-horror fashion, Frogs tells a simple tale of about the risks we take as a society when we desecrate the mother nature.
This next chapter in our “Nature Revolts” extravaganza happens to be an old-school favorite at Malevolent Dark. It begins with a young woman enjoying some sunshine with her baby well outside of any immediate danger from the churning scene behind her. When her friend distracts her for nary a moment, she finds her baby nowhere to be found. Where did go?!?!? That delcicious baby went right into the hungry beak of a giant pissed off octopus!!!!
Rewatching this one offered a special treat as the last time I viewed the film it was with the eyes of a 7 year old child. While I always remembered the film affectionately, finding this gems on Betamax eluded me. Since seeing Tentacles as a child, I have learned so much about the horror film industry that many of this films charms artfully dodged my junior intellect. Most importantly among these is the fact that Ovidio G. Assonitis directed this film. Those might remember Assonitis as the director of demonic possession eurocult film Beyond the Door (1974).
Unquestionably, Ovidio infuses this otherwise American production with Euro-Italian flair. The results prove brilliant.
To summarize the plot, an offshore conglomerate is using “ultra-sonic drilling” techniques in their relentless pursuit of capitalism. Much to the chagrin of a giant napping octopus, they run these ultra-sonic drills above approved levels creating a classic Nature Revolts plot line.
Seemingly, this film fails to get a lot of love from the community. It’s often berated as a lazy clone of Jaws (1975). One common criticism involves the films reluctance to provide a clear picture of the monster for most of the film. While these criticisms offer fair commentary, they gloss over the brooding European flair of the soundtrack and classic Italian suspense building. Never mind the cheerful addition of trained Killer Whales into the mix. The bottom line, is that Tentacles delivers the goods of classic 70’s cinema. Further enhancing the bona-fides, John Huston, Henry Fonda and Shelly Winters bring the cast solid credentials. Considering it’s free to all on Tubi, it begs for a watch.
Finally, the movie that Malevolent Dark loves to hate (or at least this contributor with a weak stomach). We lovingly reviewed Jeff Lieberman’s Squirm a while back, so be sure to catch the full review. This is another one that had a major impact on an impressionable youth back when he was watching KPLR-11’s “Saturday Night Shockers”. This one stuck with me for decades after a single view. There’s just something hard to shake about a town being overrun by ravaging blood worms.
Starting with this films credentials, Jeff Lieberman would go on to direct the fan favorite slasher Just Before Dawn (1981). In other notable names, Rick Baker cutsw his teeth by performing the special effects for Squirm. In some instances, the results are utterly fantastic.
From a plot perspective, this one has everything required for an eco-horror tour-de-force. It begins with a lightning storm downing power lines. Repeated shocks not only drive billions of flesh rending blood worms from their burrows, this electrification also imbues these worms with a taste for human flesh. Slowly, people begin to disappear. Eventually, the worms aggregate into a slithering force of nature hell-bent on destroying everything in its path.
So yeah, this Tubi Terror might be a bit hard on a weak stomachs. It impacted me so much that I never forgot it, but I also never really wanted to watch it again for decades. This film manages to pack more than a few hugely impactful scenes. From a special effects perspective, close-ups of the worms and the over amplified gnashing of horrid little blood worm teeth and the unholy screams of disgusting little creatures induce nightmares. As far as Nature Revolts films go, this one has serious staying power and needs to be seen at least once.
Eco-Horror From Tubi Terror
Whether or not you like your eco-horror hanging on the strong shoulders of Sam Elliot, or slithering in the bottom of your egg-creme, Tubi once again has you covered. By far, these are not the the only Nature Revolts flicks out there, but they certainly are notable ones. Once again Tubi Terrors has you covered.