Movie Review (Arrow Video FrightFest October Edition): Cyst

November 4, 2020

Written by Joseph Perry

Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5. He is a contributing writer for "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" print magazine and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, Ghastly Grinning, The Scariest Things, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Decades of Horror: The Classic Era" and "Uphill Both Ways" podcasts. Joseph has also written for “Scream” magazine, "Filmfax" magazine, “SQ Horror” magazine, and the websites That's Not Current an HorrorNews.net. He occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.

Imagine classic science fiction creature features of the past such as Fiend Without a Face mashed up with modern gross-out comedy gags and you are on the right track toward describing Cyst, a loving tribute to the black-and-white creature feature classics and clas-sicks of the 1950s and 1960s with a garish coat of cinematic color. 

With Cyst set sometime in those aforementioned decades, Eva Habermann stars as Patricia, a put-upon nurse in a medical clinic who serves notice of her intention to quit when physician in charge Dr. Guy (George Hardy of Troll 2) tells her that patent officials are due any minute to have another look at Get Gone, his laser invention meant to be a pain-free way of removing cysts. Patricia still bears the scars from one of his earlier attempts with the device, and she wants nothing more to do with it — though she must serve out the rest of the workday. 

Naturally, the machine doesn’t work and when Dr. Guy uses a concoction to make a small growth on his new assistant’s back grow larger, the cyst develops a life of its own and soon turns into a monster that looks like it came straight out of an old low-budget tokusatsu production, one that would make a creature from The Green Slime even greener with envy. For whatever reason, this huge cyst has a murderous streak, and the medical staff and visiting officials all find themselves battling for their lives.

Russell, working from a screenplay that he cowrote with Andy Silverman, sets out to entertain and to gross out with Cyst, and he absolutely succeeds in both departments. There isn’t a lot new in the film, but it is a blast watching events unfold. The cast is a lot of fun, with Habermann grounding the film with her all-in portrayal of a woman working for a boss who grows more insane by the minute. Guy walks the fine line between chewing scenery and just taking the occasional bite or two, and the supporting players nail their roles, as well.

Director Tyler Russell’s 68-minute feature moves at a frenetic pace and once the pus starts spouting from the titular ailments, it rarely lets up except to let blood have its turn at running, too. The practical effects may be low-budget, but they look impressive, and a couple of times when a growth gets squeezed and gives away a bit that it is a practical appliance, it only adds to the homage effect of the film. 

 

Cyst screened as part of Arrow Video FrightFest’s Digital Edition 2, which ran from October 21st–25th, 2020. 

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