Movies from the Black Lagoon

Lavalantula - 2015, Unrated

By Tom Doty - For The Floyd County Times

A washed up action star is all that stands between Hollywood and an invasion of lava spewing arachnids in this enjoyable monster show in the “Sharknado” vein.

I love a movie that knows how to hook you from the first scene. This one opens with our hero strapped to a chair and getting the snot beat out of him by goons while a smirking villain waits for him to spill his guts. Suddenly our hero springs from his chair and starts handing out the lumps until his mini-bomb fizzles out and we realize this is a movie set.

Turns out our hero is an ex-action star, Colton West, from the 90’s trying to earn some bread . He flips out when the director reveals that giant cockroaches are the new star of the film they are shooting after a hasty rewrite. Infuriated the Coltster storms off .He then realizes that shooting late has cost him a ball game with his son. He hits the freeway in a bad mood but his day is only just starting to stink.

Traffic grinds to a halt as explosions rip through the Hollywood Hills. He steps out of his car just as flaming boulders drop down on the highway. This tremendously bad situation now goes into overdrive as giant fire spitting spiders emerge from the rocks.

Colton opts to run all the way home as the freeway has stalled into a giant parking lot. His wife is a bit surprised at his story but only shakes her head as Colton heads back out to retrieve their son using her car. Meanwhile his boy is finding out about the spider storm the hard way. A lava puking arachnid has just bitten one of his friends so they are forced to barricade themselves in a former movie studio.

He loses his wife’s vehicle to spider related damage but manages to hijack a Hollywood tour bus. The passengers think it’s all a game and happily snap pictures as their new driver does vehicular battle with the hard charging bugs. Meanwhile Mrs. Colton becomes a believer when she must battle several of the insects using her props from her husband’s memorabilia collection.

He proceeds to Hollywood Boulevard where he promptly ditches the bus. A spider attack ensues which makes for a great sequence as the costumed workers who pose for tourist pictures find themselves battling bugs while dressed as assorted characters, like Spider-man and Pirate Jack Sparrow.

It all comes down to a pitched battle between Colton (and his movie making friends) against the red hot spiders. The finale is a hoot with Colton resurrecting the super hero costume that was featured in his biggest hit, “Rocketman.” The sight of a guy in bright red costume bouncing off skyscrapers like a pinball is a fun visual and fits with the quirky tone of this tale.

Though this aired three days after “Sharknado 3” it is definitely the better film. That is mostly thanks to director Mike Mendez(The Convent). He stages lots of fun bits and manages to assemble a game cast.

Steve Guttenberg leads the back as Colton. It is a fun performance that resists too much winking at the audience. That said the film itself throws a huge wink by also casting three other actors who appeared with Guttenberg in the “Police Academy” flicks. The film avoids the ADHD effect of the “Sharknado” trilogy by keeping the characters to a minimum and staging most of the action on the ground. That said there is a nice cameo by Ian Ziering who is way too busy to help out.

Best Lines: “You gotta get off the streets, there are giant spiders everywhere.”

“I saw spiders the size of men raining down on cars with fire coming out of their mouths.”

“I’d love to help you but I have shark problems right now.”

Lavalantula – 2015, Unrated

By Tom Doty

For The Floyd County Times

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