Lake Michigan Monster is an irreverently humorous riff on z-budget monster movies of the 1950s, complete with shoestring special effects, deliberately tacky plotlines, and unusual characters. A bizarre product of writer/director Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, Lake Michigan Monster arrives at a time of great need for strong laughs at a brisk and breezy running time.
The film’s necessarily paper-thin plot follows Seafield (played by Tews), a deranged ship captain, enlisting the help of three others to kill a purported lake monster that killed his father. Shot in an oneiric black-and-white style that both thematically and aesthetically recall the films of Guy Maddin, Lake Michigan Monster strategically and comedically plays with the codes and conventions of sea monster movies, pitting an erratic, drunk sailor against a Lovecraftian abomination in a tale of ludicrous revenge.
Largely unprofessional and distinctly lacking in polish, Lake Michigan Monster is evidently a product of a generation of film-lovers raised on Mystery Science Theatre 3000, though the film is more affectionate than incisive in its parody. Many of the jokes, which are absurd in nature rather than dependent on broader references to popular culture, are well-conceived and well-timed.
Lake Michigan Monster, an inventive and absurdly comical experience, is worth taking a dip with.
The Toronto After Dark Film Festival (in association with Arrow Video, Circle Collective, and Altavod) will host a virtual, one-day-only premiere of Lake Michigan Monster.
Click here for details on how to purchase your ticket for this exclusive event!
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Mark Barber: @WorstCinephile