Retro Review: Critters

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A small farming town gets besieged by a bunch of small extraterrestrial creatures with big appetites.
 
 
 
 
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Written by James Orrell
 
 
I have been on a bit of a creature feature kick lately. When thinking about what one of my favorite creature feature films that doesn't get discussed often enough(or may not be known at all by younger fans), I immediately turn to Critters. I've been a fan of those little bastards for thirty years now, so I figure what better movie to talk about than this one.
 
Critters is definitely not a movie that takes itself to seriously. It's loaded with campy scenes and dialogue yet it never falls into the schlocky territory. The puppetry work from the incredible Chiodo Brothers is still some of my favorite work today. These mean little bastards are viscious, but the model work gives them so much more personality than you'd expect. It's no wonder four of these films were made.
 
Dee Wallace is one of those actresses that in my opinion can do no wrong. I've yet to see a single film where she's given us a less than stellar performance. Throw in M. Emmet Walsh, Billy Zane, Lin Shaye, it's a cast that I can really get behind. 
 
The real scene stealer is Don Opper as Charlie. While he could have been written off as a much smaller character, it's his Charlie that is the heart and soul of the franchise. Hands down he is my favorite character in this film and it's sequels.
 
Director Stephen Herek may not be a well known name(fitting for this flick, especially since it was his first), but he does a fantastic job putting the film together and really setting the tone for the series. The shots are all fantastic and framed perfectly. It's no wonder he followed this up with Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.
 
Overall if you are looking for a fun time with some fun, voracious little creatures then you should find a copy of Critters(and it's sequels) right away. They are one of the reasons the 1980's is known for being such a fun and creative era for the horror genre.

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