Saturday, December 6, 2008

Man, That's a Big Monocle!

How is it that I sat through a gawdawful direct-to-cable movie? The remote was in hand with fully-charged batteries. Yet, I could not look away. "Cyclops" aired on the SciFi Channel tonight and I saw it ALL.

Cheesy monster movies have always been a weakness of mine. There hasn't been one quite like this since the 1970s. The premise is that an evil Roman emperor (Eric Roberts) procures a 20 foot tall cyclops and puts him to good use in the arena. All the while there is a slave rebellion, a commander turned gladiator / champion of the people, intrigue among the senators, and a semi nude slave girl. Every spear and sandal epic ever made was plagiarized in an attempt to produce a vehicle for the star of the show, the Cyclops.

A plot is not necessary. If the cyclops is not on the screen, the film stalls, but provides enough fodder for fish-in-a-barrel wise cracks by the hundreds of viewers watching in dorm rooms and retirement homes all over the continent.

Redundancy at its best: "I now present the one-eyed cyclops!"

The film's mood is derived by a woeful short-fall of extras. The big slave revolt numbers all of 8. The Roman arena is a venue more suitable for a Pampered Chef party than the emperor's anniversary games. It's an epic story done on a vignette budget.

The Cyclops, however, rules! He rips off no less than 20 heads during the movie. I lost count of the dismemberings, squashings, and disembowelings wrought by the fairly well rendered computer cyclops. Did I mention that he likes to eat his victims? Gore like this hasn't been seen since From Dusk 'Til Dawn.

So what happens is that the former military commander befriends the cyclops before they have to face off against each other in the final round of a convoluted playoff system. The Cyclops learns to talk, spares the commander, is cut loose, runs amok, kills the emperor and his pals , while those in attendance slaughter the skeleton crew acting as security. The emperor's chief sycophant nails the cyclops square in the eye with a spear and kills him, but the commander proceeds to chop ofF the assailant's head. The head rolls around the arena while blood spurts from the neck of the unusually lively torso like the Fountains at the Bellagio.

I was thoroughly entertained.

No comments: