Goon Review: Mosquito (1995)

(Submitted by a Goon who never always says die, Mr. Andrew Peters…Thanks, Ho-rror Ho-mie! xoxo)

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There was a spider in my toilet. A fucking toilet-spider. A big, black sucker with four long front legs and two white stripes going down its back. I don’t know how it got in there or what it was doing, but it was waiting to jump up someone’s ass and lay some eggs in there, where little baby spiders would hatch and eat their way out. Luckily, I was cleaning and not going to use it and sit down, so I immediately flushed and watched the little bastard circle the drain until he vanished. I quickly googled to see if I could identify the spider, but found articles about how you shouldn’t flush spiders, because they can live for hours or even days under water. Now, this thing is pissed and plotting its revenge. Anyway, I hate bugs and we’re gonna be talking about Mosquito, a movie about bugs that are considerably worse than spiders.

I have a hard time believing this film almost had a theatrical release, but Hemdale, the company that acquired the rights to theatrical distribution for the film, went bankrupt shortly after picking it up and maybe it was for the best. It’s a low budget film and it shows. The acting, the special effects and even the premise makes it seems like something that would debut on the Syfy channel now, only with practical effects instead of CG. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but I just find it hard to believe someone saw this and said, “Yeah, let’s get this in theaters!” The big selling point the film had going for it was that it starred Gunnar Hansen and yes, he does wield a chainsaw and make a Texas Chainsaw Massacre reference. Get it? Cause he was that guy in it. It also stars the bassist from The Stooges, so take that as you will.

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The opening of Mosquito, also known as Blood Fever (although I’ve never heard it referred to as that), opens with a UFO crash landing into a forest to which the local mosquitoes feast upon the corpses of the aliens. It kinda reminds me of the opening of Night of the Creeps in the sense that an alien based object crashes on Earth and is found by something local, changing it. It could have done the usual trope and have it be some sort of ridiculous biological experiment, so I gotta give the movie credit for doing something unique. After that, however, it becomes a pretty standard monster flick. Ray is driving along a lonesome, wooded road with his girlfriend Megan who is on her way to start her career as a park ranger. She also happens to be an expert on bugs, so that’s a happy little coincidence right there. Speaking of happy coincidences, a giant mosquito smacks right into their car, knocking a hole in the radiator causing the two to take shelter at a local hotel where they meet Parks who is chasing the meteor that crashed. Parks inquires about their car to which the two tell him they hit something and even go as far as to discredit that it was a giant insect. So… a thing with a three parted, segmented body, six legs and wings is not a bug? I don’t know why they are so in denial of it, because from the audience perspective, it just makes them look stupid. I mean, the only point would be to try and fool the audience, but we already say that it was a giant mosquito and… I’m overthinking this or maybe I’m not. Megan is able to identify the proboscis, a very specific part of the giant mosquito that destroyed their radiator, but is unable to identify the giant creature that it was just attached to and they ran over. I blame public schools and cell phones.

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Meanwhile, the entire Parks Department (not to be confused with the character we met earlier, Parks) is letting the shit roll downhill by dumping all the responsibilities of the local push-over, Ranger Hendricks, who is given the duty of spraying for pests while a trio of thieves, led by Gunnar Hansen, are looking for an escape out of the park. Now that all the players are here, we can get this shit show underway and it doesn’t take long for that to happen. The thieves are almost immediately attacked by the flying mosquitoes, followed by a number of campers, which to the film’s credit, this is where we get a gratuitous sex scene, complete with belching!

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Parks, Ray and Megan, after having been attacked by some stop motion mixed with puppet mosquitoes, find Hendricks hiding and the four try to devise an escape plan, which involves bailing in an RV. Unfortunately, that plan is botched by the thieves who want to go back into the woods for a reason I can’t remember (I’m fairly confident it was for a stupid reason), but then that plan is botched by a giant mosquito attack. I have to admit, this sequence is pretty awesome given the limited amount of space the actors had to move in and the driving stunts. Aside from casting Gunnar Hansen, I’m assuming this is where a majority of the budget went. After the wreck, the survivors take refuge in the sewers and this is where I really question Megan’s abilities as a bug expert, because I can think of a certain insect that likes dark, dank, moist places. But then again, I’m no bug expert. After another attack and driving off the mosquitoes with fire like villagers scaring Frankenstein’s monster, they move on and stumble across a cottage. Keeping in line with the theme of major plot coincidences, it just so happens that in the basement is the mother load of giant mosquito eggs. Looks like it’s time for that inevitable final battle, filled with chainsaws, shotguns and gore that ultimately just kind of ends semi-abruptly.

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I know a lot of people love this movie, but let’s face it; it’s a pretty bad movie that was doomed from the start. How do I know? The original special effects artist, assumably just staring into the distance with a blank, dead gaze, said he was going out to get a pack of cigarettes and vanished from the production, never to be seen again. A real baby-daddy move. That’s the kind of production this is; the one you didn’t want and those closest bail on it. I don’t know how the special effects would have looked, but I do have to admit that the ones that appeared on screen are pretty damn good. The mosquitoes look terrifying, twitch like Jeff Goldblum in The Fly and explode into green goop when they are exploded or chopped up. The stop animation mosquito parts are also done extremely well, considering the low budget of the film. I get a strong feeling this is where most of the money went, that and casting Gunnar Hansen as their ticket into trying to get this film into theaters, which almost worked. Having the iconic Leatherface drop a reference to TCM and wave a chainsaw around is really trying to sell it to horror fans as, “Hey look, it’s that guy from that movie doing that thing he did in that movie!”

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A movie about people fighting giant insects, the actors must have been very self aware of what was going on and they really ham it up for their performances. The actors are certainly trying their hardest, but they know what kind of film they are making, so you can tell they are having a lot of fun and you know what? I was too. The performances are a lot of fun and the concept of the entire film isn’t too bad for the nature run amok genre. Of course, I talked about the special effects being pretty good and I think you’ll also enjoy watching people being sucked dry of blood kinda like Lifeforce and their eyes bulge out of their skulls and explode. The Synapse film release on Blu-ray has a handful of special features, like a commentary with director Gary Jones, producer David Thiry and co-writer Tom Chaney, deleted and extended scenes, as well as a making of featurette called Bugging Out!

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There’s some sort of morbid joy to get out of watching the most annoying insects in the world just get brutally mutilated by a number of different gore-filled ways. For a bad film, this is highly enjoyable.

Thank You, Gunnar Hansen. :(

My silly little personal/site announcement can wait ’til tomorrow, as today is yet another grieving day all across the Ho-rror Community. 🙁

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R.I.P. Gunnar Hansen, who played one of the truly iconic movie monsters in existence, Leatherface. Despite his gruesome persona, he was always a gentle presence at conventions. Hansen was a kind soul in person, yet a truly terrifying ghoul on screen. It’s funny how often that seems to be the case…

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Well said, Mr. King, and thank you for all your awesomeness, Mr. Hansen. Your sweet, beautiful presence is already missed. 🙁 xoxo

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