Blu-ray Review: Lake Michigan Monster (2018)

November 13, 2020

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Lake Michigan Monster concerns the adventures of Captain Seafield (Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, who also co-wrote/directed the picture); a man obsessed with the monster he believes killed his father in the shallow depths of Lake Michigan… though the details of said event are rather mutable in our hero’s constantly shifting narrative.

Anyhow, that slap-happy seaman assembles a crack team to find and dispatch the beast… a team who’s ranks include: sonar expert Nedge Pepsi (Beulah Peters), weapons master Sean Shaughnessy (Erick West), and former N.A.V.Y. (Nautical Athletes and Venture Yunit) man Dick Flynn (Daniel Long).

Of course Seafield is pretty much a complete moron, and his epic plans, which feature such grandiose titles as ‘Operation Master Baiters’ and ‘Operation Naughty Lady’, are pretty much a complete bust from the get-go; but still he soldiers on no matter how many monsters and madmen (besides himself) stand in his way!

Lake Michigan Monster is an insane love letter to late ’50s/early ’60s beach-centric horror cheapies (such as The Monster of Piedras Blancas and The Horror of Party Beach) made by people that may or may not ever seen a single film in the genre… it also comes off like H.P. Lovecraft writing an episode of Spongebob Squarepants, and if you can wrap your head around that, you are the exact audience for this cinematic lunacy!

But as silly as the storyline is, the visuals Tews and co-writer Mike Cheslik achieve here are fuckin’ wild; especially given the budget they had to play with. We get a grainy, black and white, 16mm aesthetic that flashes everything from animation, silent movie techniques, miniatures, and so much more visual razzle dazzle that the entire affair comes off as a particularly wild fever dream one would have after an absinthe binge… and by absinthe I mean turpentine…

Because the main event is so imaginative, and often defies description, you will doubtless want to know just how this brilliant nonsense came to be. Well, Arrow Video (along with MVD Entertainment) have your arcane asses well and truly covered!

Kicking things off in the info department, we have three audio commentaries; two cast and crew commentaries featuring Tews, Cheslik, Long, Peters, Erick and West, in both drunk and sober conversations (both of which are a hoot to listen to), and a lively and informative examination of the film’s themes by critics Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Emma Westwood.

Following that we get an effects breakdown of the film’s underwater sequence, a lyric music video of the picture’s closing theme song, a trio of interviews with cast and crew, and an animated/live-action hybrid series called L.I.P.S. from the film’s creators (this is worth the price of admission alone).

Finally we get a trio of promotional videos, the film’s theatrical trailer, and a behind the scenes stills gallery.

Additionally, all of that madness mentioned up yonder comes in a container featuring a reversible sleeve featuring original artwork by Jade Watring, as well as new artwork by Colin Murdoch, and stuffed with an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film courtesy of author Barry Forshaw.

Look; I summed it up already… H.P. Lovecraft writing an episode of Spongebob Squarepants… that should send you lot rushing to ye olde Amazon to grab this mother fucker post haste!



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