Mark of the Beast
|Starring:||Matt McCoy, Haley Joel, Lance Henriksen, Paul Gleeson, Dee Wallace Stone, Jeffery Combs|
There is something to be said for genes. Lalo Schifrin is one of the most talented composers in Hollywood. It would make sense that his offspring would inherit creative genes. If his son Ryan Schifrin’s first feature film is any indication, the senior Mr. Schifrin passed on the creative trait. The younger Mr. Schifrin’s music is what Bela Lugosi would call the sweet music of the children of the night. Ryan Schifrin’s musical notes are screams and growls. I’ve been a monster movie fan my whole life. Sure, I learned to like other forms of horror films later on, but my first cinematic love was and always will be the Monster Movie. Thanks to Ryan Schifrin’s “Abominable” that love is once more fufilled.
“Abominable” shows that not all mythical, or better yet, as yet undiscovered, creatures are friendly. Unlike the family friendly Bigfoot from “Harry and the Henderson” this badass creature has very sharp teeth. Director Schifrin borrows a plot twist from Hitchcock by placing the hero in a wheelchair. He watches through binoculars as his mountain retreat neighbors are picked off one by one.
The film’s pacing is just fine. The creature isn’t exposed until the proper foundation of suspense is laid. The creature design is impressive. A number of familiar character actors pop up throughout. “Reanimator” star Jeffery Combs is a quirky standout. Lance Henriksen is also funny as a macho hunter.
Matt McCoy stars as mountain climber Preston Rogers. Preston returns home for the first time since the accident which killed his wife and left him in a wheelchair. The adjoining cabin is being used by five nubile young women including co-star Haley Joel, American Idol contestant Ashley Hartman and scream queen Tiffany Shepis. Ms. Shepis guarantees that the movie also includes boobs as well as blood.
Blood. The movie doesn’t rely on gore, but it does include enough of the gruesome stuff to satisfy fans. There is one particular monster attack that results in one of the coolest demises I’ve ever seen. You will know it when you see it.
Humor is another element in good monster movies. Unfortunately, the main characters do not provide the fun stuff. As a leading man, Matt McCoy is very staid. The good news is that the supporting actors provide the comic relief.
Hollywood is an industry town. In many, many cases multiple family members work and thrive in the town. Nepotism might get one in the door, but a lack of talent will lead to a quick exit. I don’t know if Ryan Schifrin’s family name got him in the door, but I will say this. Ryan Schifrin’s talent behind the camera will keep him in the room for a long time to come.