Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Watchers (1988)
Dir. Jon Hess
Starring Corey Haim and Michael Ironside

This one stars Corey Haim, Michael Ironside, a superintellegent golden retriever named "Fur-face" (yes, really), a broad swath of truly stunning bad actors, and an apeman. And it’s pretty much exactly what you think, only more so.

It’s based on a book by Dean Koontz of the same name. Well, loosely based. In the book, Haim’s character is a former Delta Force Member who meets his girlfriend while hunting the apeman. In the movie, he’s Corey Haim and the girlfriend is his mom. You know, loosely based. It’s pretty much ET but with a bunch of gruesome violence from an escaped genetic experiment apeman with a never-explained penchant for ripping people’s eyes out. And Michael Ironside. But you know, those two factors go a long way.

Look, I’m not going to tell you this one is good, but it’s a pretty endearingly earnest attempt. For all the ridiculousness of the plot, they take it commendably seriously. You’ll actually be more likely to laugh at the inept cast than the computer-hacking dog that beats Corey Haim at Scrabble. Actually now that I think about it you’re likely to laugh at both, but still. They treat it as if you should care and I respect that. Ol’ M. Ironside even has a pretty badass [spoiler] death scene, where he gets stabbed through the neck and keeps coming.

 Most of the movie is pretty sloppy, though. The creature attacks are all choppy editing, which is a shame since the creature actually looks pretty good when you can get a look at it. But more memorable is the inexplicable parade of side characters that are all cranking weird stereotypes to 11.

I mean, you got the blond bimbo cop, the grizzled over-the-line cop, the nerdy Asian computer science teacher, the mousey hotel clerk who seems to be paying homage to the still-embarrassing-53-years-later retarded hotel clerk from A TOUCH OF EVIL, the abrasive Latina, a totally what the fuck super Cockney mulleted English guy, a creepy redneck guns salesman, and of course a couple of totally rad teens (afflicted by the then-incurable plague called the 80s -- one of them who would go on to be cured and become the ubiquitous Jason Priestly) with a little brother named “Piggy” (I know, because they must scream his name 157 times in the scene where they’re being chased by the apeman). 
And when I say these roles are cranked to 11, I mean 11. If there was an Oscar for ensemble overacting, this one would have it locked up. You know that part at the end of WAYNE’S WORLD 2 where they replace the “bad actor” with Charleston Heston? This movie has no less than 10 versions of that guy. It’s wild.

Anyway, to summarize: superintellegent dog, Corey Haim, M. Ironside, Apeman, overacting ensemble, gruesome violence, and at the end Corey Haim goes gun-crazy survivalist on everyone’s ass (yes, really). I can’t honestly recommend this movie, but if you’re in the mood for that most particularly delicate sort of cinematic pleasure pleasure –the 80s irony-free teen horror film--  this one delivers.

1 comment:

  1. WATCHERS 2 and 3 also have a certain charm to them, and if you wasted your time on this one you might want to waste your time on those as well.

    I have not seen WATCHERS REBORN because I have not been able to track down a copy of it cheap enough that I'd be willing to buy it.