Written by: Carroll Jenkins on March 29th, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 2012
Director: Peter Dang
Writers: Steve Goldenberg, Francis Abbey
Cast: Michael Harding, Sherri Box, Mike Gaglio, Matthew Easton
DVD Released: May 13th, 2014
Approximate running time: 95 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78.1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Camp Motion Pictures / Pop Cinema
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.99
Synopsis: A teenager escapes an encounter with a lizard man and aspires to become a billionaire and hire mercenaries to capture one and display it to the world.
In many respects this is a ‘true’ story, as the plot is generally based upon the actual Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp sightings in Lee County, South Carolina. Additional plot devices come straight from King Kong (33) and the monster bears a striking similarity to the Creature From The Black Lagoon (54).
The Carl Denham character is split into the two distinct roles of Bill Hansen as the driving force and backer of the ‘expedition’, and unscrupulous TV personality Professor Reeves (Michael Harding) as the zealous promoter. There is no Fay Wray love interest, but we do get a John Driscoll type hero nonetheless, Mark Turnball (James Lewis) was the leader and co-survivor of the mercenary team that captured the creature. He and the appalled doctor tasked with examination of the creature each work independently to prevent additional slaughters of innocents by the creature.
This is an exciting throwback to classic fifties sci-fi monster movies with many themes and characters represented. Any vintage monster movie fan knows that they were mostly low-budget with talky exposition and usually with extraneous and unlikely romances thrown in for padding. Lizardman mostly steers clear of these pitfalls with numerous action and attack scenes in between the bickering and in-fighting between the principle characters.
The monster suit is very well realized and a highlight of the production. The cast are very good in their performances as well. Complexity of both cinematography and script is quite impressive. Most problematical are budget induced shortcomings in the minimal gore effects. Most injuries take place off camera or are ‘enhanced’ with CGI blood effects applied on the cheap with no regard to continuity. Thus a character can look severely injured but be barely bruised in the next scene.
Camp Motion Pictures always provides a class presentation of their features and Lizardman is no exception. It looks great in anamorphic widescreen, though no subtitles or closed-captions are provided. After the close of the movie proper a rap Lizardman music video appears prior to the credits. A trailer for it and other releases are the only extras.
This is a very entertaining blend of modern monster sightings with the grand tradition of schlock men-in-rubber-suit monster movies. And as Gill-Man knockoffs go, it’s more ambitious than virtually any of it’s predecessors; Horror Of Party Beach, Slithis, Beach Girls and the Monster, Monster from the Ocean’s Floor, Humanoids from the Deep, Revenge of the Creature, or The Creature Walks Among Us.