Carnal Monsters (2021)

Rating: D-

Dir: Joe Cash
Star: Harmony Filth, Lauren Annetts, Ian Sen, Laura Barker

On hearing that this was made for the princely sum of £500, my first reaction was, “What did they do with the other four hundred and ninety-five?” Because this is the kind of thing which gives no-budget cinema a bad name. I would call it the worst thing Troma have ever released, except we inhabit a world where Deadly Daphne’s Revenge and Evil Clutch exist. There’s no coherent plot, the execution is woeful and the audio is, no lie, the lowest quality I have ever heard on a commercially-released production. They can’t even spell “bikini” correctly. The sole saving grace is, it runs less than 50 minutes between Lloyd Kaufman’s introduction and the glacially-paced end credits. This is a mercy.

I guess the basic story has a group of young women, wandering around an abandoned RAF base for no reason, who come across two others who – and I’m guessing here – are survivors of some nasty experiments by Dr. Dilf (Sen). He appears in an introductory scene, with his pair of topless sidekicks, before dying in a fiery car-crash, taken entirely from another movie. This blatant thievery was the only point in this I actually laughed. Anyway, the two “victims” put on masks, and chase their rescuers round the base for a bit, before a posses of vigilantes show up and fire Air-soft guns at them. As well as Kaufman, there are guest appearances by Stan Lee and, according to the opening credits. James Marsters. The latter may be a Cameo. Not a cameo: as in, they paid him $50 and incorporated it into the movie. Guess that’s where some of the budget went.

Got to respect Cash for going out there and making a movie, no resources be damned. But he’d have been better off snorting half a grand’s worth of coke. Scenes start, stop and fail to connect to the next one, fading to black with a “Later on…” intertitle. Actors appear to be making up their dialogue on the spot, often yelling it simultaneously with other actors, rendering all of it entirely inaudible. Even when there’s just one person speaking, the audio levelling is non-existent. If I cared, I’d have been leaping for the volume control every other scene. However, I just couldn’t be arsed – why should I, when Cash apparently couldn’t be bothered to execute basic quality control?

Worst of all for an exploitation movie: it’s boring. Scenes of the women playing with a beach-ball on a beach, or walking randomly about, add absolutely nothing to the plot, and go on for what seems like forever. Even the nudity outstays its welcome, and that takes real effort. Things pick up fractionally for the stalk ‘n’ slash at the end, at least in terms of energy. In terms of competence, it’s still very much at the level of “people not being bit by a very obviously plastic weapon” level. That whirring sound is Stan Lee (“archive footage”), spinning in his grave.

The film is released on Blu-ray and Prime Video, on 28th February from VIPCO & BayView Entertainment.