October 2nd, 2014

NIGHTMARE AT BITTERCREEK (1988) **

Like yesterday’s movie, Summer of Fear, Nightmare at Bittercreek is a Made for TV movie with a potentially promising title that really isn’t a horror film. It’s more of a survival thriller than anything. If you can come to terms with that, you might enjoy it.

The police try to unsuccessfully siege a Neo-Nazi camp in the middle of the wilderness. Some of the Aryan brothers manage to get away and escape to the mountains nearby to hide out. Meanwhile, Lindsay Wagner takes two girlfriends and her daughter on a mountain tour. They hire drunkard Tom Skerritt to be their guide and it doesn’t take long for him to start flirting with Lindsay. Eventually, the group stumbles upon the Aryans, and they soon find themselves fighting for their lives.

Nightmare at Bittercreek has an OK enough premise I guess. The thing is; the villains are kept off screen for most of the movie, so they never really become a threatening presence. When the filmmakers finally do getting around to showing them, they’re nothing more than a bunch of dudes in camouflage. Let me tell you, they aren’t exactly menacing or anything. The scenes of our heroes cowering in the wilderness also get a bit repetitive after a while.

Tom Skerritt and Lindsay Wagner are good enough to keep you watching. They have a couple of nice moments together; my favorite being the tender campfire scene where he talks about the need for a cowboy in the modern world. I also thought Joanna Cassidy did a nice job as Wagner’s slutty girlfriend. I have to admit the scene in which she found her inner Rambo, picked up a machine gun, and blew a bad guy away in slow motion was rather hilarious. If there were more of these nutty scenes in the picture, Nightmare at Bittercreek might’ve been worthwhile.

Tomorrow’s Bargain Bin Horror Movie: No One Could Protect Her.

DINO WOLF (2009) **

I’m a sucker for a good werewolf movie. I’m even down for a genetically mutated werewolf movie (as long as they’re better than Project: Metalbeast that is). However, I think Dino Wolf is the first genetically mutated PREHISTORIC werewolf movie ever made. Because it was directed by the great Fred Olen Ray, I knew I just had to check it out.

A secret laboratory creates a genetically mutated prehistoric werewolf. It gets loose, slaughters a security guard, and escapes to the woods. While the town sheriff (Maxwell Caulfield) investigates the lab, his deputy (Blake Griffin) combs the woods to find his missing girlfriend. In the meantime, the Dino Wolf chows down on plenty of unsuspecting victims.

Dino Wolf is not the campy cheese-fest I was hoping for, but it’s not a total washout or anything. For starters, the werewolf suit looks pretty cool. Actually, it just looks like a cheap costume rented from Halloween City if I’m to be perfectly honest, but oh well. One thing is for certain, I’d rather see a cheesy practical werewolf in a low budget horror movie than a cheesy computer-generated werewolf any day. The gore is also pretty good as the Dino Wolf rips the guts out of lots and lots of people.

Then there’s the cast. I had fun seeing Maxwell Caulfield playing a southern sheriff with OCD and it was cool having Buck Rogers himself, Gil Gerard playing a devious colonel. They don’t exactly make or break the movie, but I’m glad they’re there.

The scenes that don’t revolve around the Dino Wolf killing folks are pretty tough going (and even the attack scenes themselves get a little repetitive eventually). The scenes of the shady government agents snooping around in particular drag the movie down, and things get awfully talky near the end too. Still, as far as these things go, it’s a lot better than Project: Metalbeast, so that’s a relief.

AKA: Dire Wolf.