Cult Classics: Lake Michigan Monster

lake michigan monster indexA very low budget effort from writer, director and star Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, Lake Michigan Monster is a mad old film, a black and white comedy that serves as a sort of spoof of monster movies but is also brimming with originality, quirky dialogue, over the top performances and some playful visuals. Amazingly it was shot for only seven thousand dollars and while some of the effects are slightly dodgy most of the time that’s intentional and it’s being deliberately daft.

Tews plays Seafield in the film, a man who wishes to take revenge upon a monster that lives in the titular Lake Michigan after the creature is responsible for his father’s death. To do so he’s recruited a sonar expert in Nedge (Beulah Peters), a weapon’s expert in Sean Shaughnessy (Erick West), and former N.A.V.Y. (Nautical Athletes and Venture Yunit) officer Dick Flynn (Daniel Long). Their various plans come complete with pun filled names like “Operation, Eggscuse Me, Time To Die” and “Operation Master Baiters” but alas for Seafield they don’t work, and soon one of the team is dead and the other two have left him. But can he persuade them to help him once more? And just why is the monster so murderous?

It’s an absolutely daft film but one which leans in to the silliness and has so many different plot strands that it’s rarely not a delight. It does sag slightly in the middle but only for about five minutes or so, before ramping up for a fantastic finale, with the film ending with a succession of very, very funny jokes and when we finally get to meet the monster it proves to be a rather delightful kind of villainess. Shot in black and white it often looks stunning, and the effects team deserves a huge amount of kudos for creating some very funny sequences on such a low budget, the best of which involve an army of ghosts, a ship all but sinking but then not doing so, and a dream sequence which is hilariously odd. There’s two very short songs which are fun too, and though a couple of the cast members won’t be taking home Oscars all are very game and the main cast are excellent.

Packed full of memorable dialogue and more ideas than the majority of twenty mainstream comedies have, it’s a rare occasion where I’d describe a film as pretty damn unique. Ryland Brickson Cole Tews has created a film which is undoubtedly strange yet extremely lovable, and it never lets up, leaping from one crazy moment to the next with aplomb. Perhaps you have to be fond of the more unusual kind of indie cinema to gel with it, but if you do like this sort of thing than Lake Michigan Monster may well be a film you’ll rave about for a long time to come.

★★★★

Alex Finch.
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Lake Michigan Monster is available to view via Amazon Prime right now.

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