Critters 2: The Main Course
Get ready for seconds... they're back!
Year of Release: 1988
Genre: Horror/Science Fiction
Running Time: 87 minutes (1:27)
Director: Mick Garris
Scott Grimes ... Brad
Don Keith Opper ... Charlie
Terrence Mann ... Ug
Roxanne Kernohan ... Lee
Gregory Patrick ... Lee / Ug 'Nothing-Face'
Liane Curtis ... Megan Morgan
Herta Ware ... Nana
Lin Shaye ... Sally
Barry Corbin ... Harv
Sam Anderson ... Mr. Morgan
Tom Hodges ... Wesley
Lindsay Parker ... Cindy
Eddie Deezen ... Hungry Heifer Manager
Krites, the carnivorous "Critters" from outer space are back for seconds in the sci-fi horror film CRITTERS 2 - THE MAIN COURSE. It's been two years since the fiendish Critters first terrorized the town of Grovers Bend and sent the Brown family packing. But the "boy who called Critter," Brad Brown (Scott Grimes), is back... and just in time. Krite eggs have been hatching lethal litters and the bloodthirsty hairballs are eager to partake in their favorite pasttime - eating. In no time, Critter eggs are popping open everywhere - a field full of livestock becomes a gigantic feeding ground, and local residents are disappearing by the mouthful. Fortunately, three bounty hunters from space, Ug, Lee and Charlie, are flying back to eradicate the problem. But can they wipe out the Critters before Grovers Bend is erased from the map? With outstanding special effects, CRITTERS 2 - THE MAIN COURSE is bigger and better - and sure to satisfy everyone's appetite for action, thrills and horror!
Critters 2, the movie that reminds us that even when the eggs are hatching man-eating dust mops, there's still less carnage than real life Easter egg hunts. I'm sure you've all read the newspaper the day after the local Easter egg hunt for the children. Usually begins something along the lines of "15 people were arrested yesterday after beating the bejezus out of each other when their child was unfairly robbed of a 25 cent chicken's egg." A little further on in the article you'll discover that little Jenny happened to be just a tad more assertive than young Tina, which is about the time that Tina's Mom steps in an yanks the egg away from Jenny, at which point Jenny's Mom steps in an grabs Tina's Mom by the hair an before you know it they're rolling around on the ground clawing each others eyes out while their husbands try to avoid being kicked in the huevos as they try to separate them. Then one of the husbands invariably says something like "gee it's sure a good thing I pulled her off, she was really giving your wife what for." An about that time the second guy sticks his fist in the first guy's dentition an they too are now pounding the tar out of each other. All the while little Jenny an Tina are crouched on the ground in the fetal position bawling their eyes out an requiring extensive therapy. There's no moral, I just think it's funny. So, Critters 2, the best sequel to a movie about intergalactic porcupines filmed in Santa Clarita, California ever made, it's gotta have some choice cuts of wisdom. One, no good ever comes of dressing up as a holiday figure. If you're not having lethal dust bunnies jumping up into your suit trying to eat your junk, you're sitting in a mall with ungrateful snotty brats telling you all about what they want. Well you know what? Fuck what they want. Santa needs a scotch.
Two, no matter how tempting it may be, when being attacked by rabid wooly rolly pollies, do not under any circumstances roll up the car window. This is essential. I dunno why, but I can't believe they'd do it twice in the same movie if it wasn't. An third, furry animals have an undisclosed immunity to fiery explosions, so long as they stick together. But what's really important to remember here is this: never buy anything from a curiosity shop. Sure, it seems like it might be valuable at first. An it seems like maybe the guy behind the counter doesn't know his business, after all, it's 90 degrees inside an he's got 3 fans sitting around that aren't doin' shit but pushing the hot air around, so his brain may be pretty well sun baked, but how many movies have to be churned out before someone takes notice of the trend here? Gremlins, Needful Things, Trilogy of Terror, Cronos, Inferno, even the Lament Configuration turns up over an over in the hands of these same kinda guys. These places are bad news, the best you can hope for is to clutter your house with useless objects that you have to tiptoe around because someday they're gonna be worth big bucks, only by the time they are, if it even happens, you've had 'em so long that you can't bear to part with them. So remember, just because that weird guy's eyes go in different directions sometimes an he's so old an dessicated that he doesn't seem to notice the six flies crawling on him at any given time, he's just luring you into a false sense of security. And here's the horrible twist of an ending, you end up amassing so much garbage that one day, you become him. An pro tip, if you ever find one that begins talking about an item that dates back to "aught" something, it's probably already too late.
The movie begins out in the deepest reaches of Carlsbad Caverns, with the bounty hunters from the original movie looking around for anything that might potentially try to chew their faces off if they get too close. They're pretty cool, calm, an collected, except for Charlie of course, whose antics we're already familiar with, namely, being a bungler on even the best of days. So naturally, they give him a gun big enough to blow a brick shithouse off its foundation. But even with the Problem Solver 5000 at his disposal, Charlie panics an gets mugged by a giant centipede an Ug has to blow it off him with his own lazer bazooka. So with that big centipede money as good as theirs, they figure they can kick back for a while, but the Warden from the first movie tells 'em to get back on the clock cause they did a really shitty job of wiping out the Krites back on Earth an they're not getting paid until they finish the job. Doesn't even offer 'em any gas money. The Warden's a real ingrate sometimes. So they hit the emergency brake on the ship, flip a U-turn, an head for Earth. There, Brad is visiting his Grandmother back in Grover's Bend. The family has since moved away, which is just as well because they really can't afford Dee Wallace for the sequel anyway. But, their old house is still standing, as is the barn we left in the last shot of the first movie with the twitching Sasquatch turds. And on this farm we had a dick, ei ei o. The dick is trying to sell the Sasquatch turds to a local antique dealer that says things like "these aren't worth dick" an then tries to sell 'em to the church for $10 each. So he's pretty much a dick too. Elsewhere, at the local paper office, the police dispatcher from the first movie (Sal) is now working for the paper, an she spots Brad rolling into town on the bus an decides she's gonna go nag the hell out of 'em until he tells her all about the space monsters. By now, the dick (Wesley) has sold the antiques roadshow candidate (Quigley) the eggs in exchange for some beer an a stack of dirty old magazines. Not to be confused with old dirty magazines. Meanwhile, Sal goes to see Harv, the ex-sheriff, to see if she can't get a space monster round table goin, only Harv's bitter about losing the sheriff job an he spends his days watching Lets Make a Deal in his skivvies.
Back in town, the newspaper editor's daughter (Megan) is being accosted by Wesley's mental ineptitude at the local burger joint an Brad has to stick up for her an get tossed out the front door on his ass. Just so Wesley knows he means business. But Megan picks him up an takes him home because she used to be real ugly an hasn't ever had anyone stand up for her before. Back at the antique shop, Quigley thinks he's gonna make a big score on the Sasquatch turds, only he didn't anticipate the masterful haggling skills of Brad's Nana an if you actually stop to do the math, he probably loses money on the deal when he accepts $20 for the lot. The good news is, he still has some left that Nana didn't know about. The bad news is, he left 'em by the radiator an they start hatching. After a while he notices the dog's feeding hubcab looks like it was the only thing standing between John Goodman and the Denny's buffet breakfast, an his dog's just laying on the floor lookin' like his rib cage caved in. Which it has, and from it emerges a pack of ravenous hedgehogs that run Quigley up a stool an chew his toes off before gnawing through the stool until it collapses an one of 'em yells "dogpile." Meanwhile over at Megan's place, Dad puts the youngest daughter (Cindy) to bed, only Nana gave her one of the Sasquatch turds earlier an it hatches while she's sleepin' an tries to get at her finger steaks. But before that can happen, Dad hears her coughing repeatedly an comes to check on her an the poor little guy gets squished like Tom Arnold under Rosanne. The next day, the old church ladies are gearing up for the big Easter egg hunt, complete with the sheriff dressed up as the Easter Bunny. Do churches really do this kinda thing? Seems kinda... never mind. So anyway, the stage is set, the sheriff gets in his costume an discovers... the zipper doesn't work. Fan-fucking-tastic. As if that wasn't bad enough, the angry plush toys spot his der Weinerschnitzel danglin' an find the easy access extremely convenient an they pile into the suit an start gnawing his naughty parts until he bursts through the stained glass window, spasms all over the pulpit, an spits up about three pints of gaspacho broth. Afterwards, Brad's still trying to pretend like the monsters were just make believe, but Megan wants to go see Harv an he figures if he's ever gonna see her nekkid he'd better go with.
But Harv's heard about enough an he's not about to risk his life for the jerks that took away his cushy sheriff gig an he takes off like his woman just told 'im she was pregnant. Meanwhile, the bounty hunters have finally landed, an Ug tells Lee to transform into Charlie so they can finally be rid of his dead weight. Only Charlie shields himself with one of the dirty magazines that blew out of Wesley's truck earlier an Lee turns into a buxom blonde with jugs so big they literally burst through the seams. This shot alone is worth the price of admission. Then Brad an Megan head back to town when they have to slam on the brakes so they won't have to spend the rest of the day picking Sal out of the grille of the truck. She's flipped her shit after seeing one of the little nap-haired fuzzies roll into Quigley's place an when Brad opens the door Quigley's corpse is conveniently propped up an ready to collapse onto the next sap that opens the door. After a few of 'em roll out of the antique shop an fill the truck's door with quills, Megan finally quits screwin' around an gets the truck outta there. They arrive at Nana's house just as one of the little red-eyed razor faces pops out of the fridge an tries to eat her. She tries to convince it she's all gristle an bone as she braces the door, but you just can't reason with the famished. Then Brad heroically abandons the two women without a word, searching frantically for the intergalactic pager Ug left him at the end of the first movie. He mashes the button just as the door gives way an Ug splinters the front door with his big splatter-gun an the furry little creep gets porcupwnd. With that handled, the bounty hunters make their way over to the burger joint where the nerdy manager impotently tries to get the great white hunters inside to blast the little jerks for not paying for their meals or tipping the waitress. Once inside, Ug slowly breaks the leg off a stool an bars the door with it, and with no place to run, they proceed to blow the living piss out of everything that moves. The Krites are so scared shitless they don't even try to fight back, but rather to escape, and after one goes Gus Frerotte on the exit, they formulate a better plan an group up into a larger ball, where they're then able to bust their way out.
Over at the newspaper office, Megan's Dad's doing his best to fend one off with a trash can, only it quills 'im in the jugular just as Brad an Megan roll in an drag his carcass outta there. Around this time, the entire town amasses at the church so the little face shredders know exactly where everyone is. However, the bounty hunters are out on muppet patrol. Unfortunately, Lee walks into a dark alley where she's ambushed by a whole pack of 'em that really wanna get a bite of them boobies an they swarm her under. When Ug sees what's become of her, he has a psychotic breakdown an transforms back into his nothingface form. A nothingface is a sad face. Charlie tries to get him to transform, but he's seriously bummed an doesn't wanna play anymore, an Charlie's scared shitless cause he knows he's totally inept as a bounty hunter... mechanic, barfly, even just as a man for that matter. Later that evening, the clever watchman wanders off alone an gets snacked on while he's distracted by Cindy, who won't go back in the church. After which, she figures the smartest move is to take her trike down the highway to the dangerzone an peddle her way to safety. Buckle your seat belts everyone, we'll be approaching speeds of THREE. But Brad hears her screaming an beats the nasties back with a rake as they try to chew through her jammies. But just when things're startin' to look real shitty Harv shows up outta nowhere an goes all John Wayne on the pursuers until he's outta bullets an they're outta heads. Upon reentering the church, Brad tries to convince everyone that they have to fight back or the Krites're gonna be picking them outta their teeth before long, but about half the locals are complete yokels an they think Brad brought 'em with him in his luggage or some such an they don't wanna listen. Then Harv has to play the bad cop an tell 'em all to pull their heads outta their asses cause he's not about to miss Wheel of Fortune to listen to this shit. Then Brad has a genius moment. He proposes they lure the whole group into the hamburger factory an make like the Unabomber once they lock 'em inside. Harv thinks it's crazy, but it's still a lot better than sittin' around listening to Elmer Fudd use expressions like "mighty queer" so he volunteers the whole town to get this shit done so he can get home in time for $25,000 Pyramid. That should do, we'll draw the line here.
Critters 2 is a damn good, under rated sequel. It's certainly not any 4.8, as the IMDB would indicate. Or the 38% on Rotten Tomatoes. Yeesh, tough crowd. Although I can't help but notice I'm still finding the word "Gremlins" in some of these reviews. Don't say it, it's okay when I do it. It's not quite as good as the first one, but it's still really enjoyable. While it's not as "good" as the first one, it's more fun. Although it would be a good example of a bigger budget doesn't necessarily make a better movie, and it's got a rather strange trade off goin' on when compared with the first movie. It definitely improves upon some of the problems that the first movie had, but yet, fails to do other things as well as the first movie did. It's also quite a bit more on the light hearted side. The original was a pretty dark movie, despite being rated only PG-13. Which more or less explains it, because from my perspective, darker horror movies are the ones I generally consider "good", where movies that're lighter in nature are almost universally inferior, and yet, more fun. They don't take themselves quite so seriously and it really provides a better defense against critics that would slander them otherwise. Because the reality is, if you're berating a movie that doesn't take itself deathly serious, you're missing the point. And should yourself, be berated. This particular series is kinda strange, in that regard. The first movie is pretty dark and atmospheric, where the first sequel sheds a lot of that darkness and puts a more comedic spin on it. Then the third movie takes that comedic spin an spins it so hard it pukes all over the audience. I know what they were going for with that third movie, but I really wish they hadn't. They went too far into the comedic zone an it lost much of its redeemable value. But then, just when you're sure the series is tapped out an completely ruined, the 4th movie actually brings that dark feel back. Which is something that virtually no horror series does. Once they go comedy, they stay there, but not only is the forth movie dark, it's realistically even darker than the first movie. I'm real proud of those guys for getting their shit together after the 3rd one an fixing their mess. They ended the series on a positive note, despite what the IMDB may say about it.
Alright, so anyway, got off tangent there a bit. Okay, a lot, but that needed to be said. As for the specifics of this particular movie, the acting is still pretty good, and there are several returning characters, which is a huge plus. Scott Grimes and Don Opper of course, as Brad and Charlie, but also Lin Shaye as Sal, and Terrance Mann as Ug. No M. Emmett Walsh returning in the role of Harv but I have to say, an it may be the only time I ever say it, because I hate it when sequels replace an actor. Normally, if you can't get that person back, I recommend simply excluding the character entirely. However, Barry Corbin is fantastic as Harv, an I actually prefer him to M. Emmett Walsh, for that particular role. So the acting is pretty good, and we got some of the original characters back as well, which is a great start. The plot is essentially just carry over from the first movie, picking up not long after the first movie ends, same deal as before, only because the eggs are brought into town there's a lot more faces to be munched. Perfectly adequate. The special effects are where it drastically improves over the first movie, these new Critter effects are 10x better looking than the originals, particularly when they move. Much, much better. There's not much blood or gore to speak of, as can be expected of a movie that made it past the MPAA with a PG-13, but the first one wasn't all that bloody either, so it's basically what you'd expect after seeing the first one. The soundtrack is what I believe pulls the movie away from the darker, more atmospheric feel that the first movie had, more than any other single element. It's not a bad soundtrack, it's simply more light hearted than the original. Certainly not goofily so in the least, but it's just lost that suspenseful edge that the first one had. I like the soundtrack quite a bit, it fits perfectly for what they were trying to achieve, but I think it keeps things a little more on the silly side, even more so than the humor deliberately written into the screenplay. Overall, a worthy sequel, very enjoyable. Fans of the first should enjoy it, though not quite as much. This one's really on the border for me, I'm not sure if I'd call it good enough for the general public to view or not. The first one is. Think I'm gonna have to go with just "fun" on this one. It's got charm, heart, and sophistication. But charm is probably the strongest of the three. Check it out.