Saturday, April 27, 2013

Monster Crap Inductee: Bats (1999)

First of all, I would like to say that this is for all those who were affected by the tragedies of the horrific events that happened in Boston on April 15. Also this is for those who have been affected by the fertilizer factory explosions in West, Texas on April 17. As fellow Americans, we are all with you through these hard times and hopefully, this induction will help bring some light into your life.

Monster Crap Inductee: Bats
Creature Feature That Is Dipped In Guano


Bats, they are the creatures that many people are terrified of. My mom considers them flying rats. But the truth is a lot of them get a very bad rap. Most bats are not those diabolical creatures that vampires turn into. In fact other than the vampire bat (that drinks blood in a different way than actually vampires and they drink mostly cow blood), bats eat either fruits or insects. So yes, bats get a horrible rap. But that has never stopped Hollywood from going after legends instead of actual science to make bats the monsters they want them to be and in 1999, Destination Films decided to use bats (although bio-engineered ones) to be the killers in this film with the name of the creatures that stars Lou Diamond Phillips and Dina Meyer.

It had of course been 12 years since Lou Diamond Phillips had made his big break into Hollywood by playing Richie Valens in La Bamba. After La Bamba, he was one of Jose Chavez y Chavez in Young Guns (he would also be in the sequel 2 years later). But other than a role in Courage Under Fire, his career was becoming a joke for the public eye with his first wife Julie Cypher leaving him, for another woman in Mellissa Etheridge. It also didn’t help that one of his good friends, Brandon Lee, died on the set of The Crow, due to an accidental gunshot that was caused by a stunt gone wrong. In 1999, Lou Diamond Phillips was coming off a chance to resurrect his career by having co-starring role with Mark Wahlberg in The Big Hit which was released in 1998. Hoping to capitalize on that, he decided to star in a creature feature that would actually make it to theaters in Bats.

Dina Meyer got her big break as one of the only good things about the disappointment that was the cyber-punk bomb called Johnny Mnemonic. After that, she would be the female lead in films like Dragonheart and Johnny Rico’s friend with benefits in the awesome film called Starship Troopers. So with her doing well in films that were outside the real world, it would be easy to see her being in this film.

Add to that Bob Gunton, who had been in several movies I really liked like Shawshank Redemption, Glory, Demolition Man, Dolores Claiborne, and Broken Arrow; and Leon, who was in movies I like like Cliffhanger, Cool Runnings, and Above The Rim……..and we should see a movie that I might like. Well, unfortunately for everyone, this movie would end up bombing and considering it is going to be inducted into Monster Crap, something must have gone wrong. So let’s find out…..

We begin this film in Gallup, Texas.

There we see a car pull up near a bridge and of course the couple in the car are having an argument because apparently he is trying to hit on her and she had been told by a friend that he does this with all his dates. Of course something comes flying by and the boy says that something touched his hand. The boy gets out of the car and goes his trunk to get two beers. He then tells her that her friend is crazy and that girl means nothing to him. He then says that the girl he is with should have a little more faith in him. Of course it works, but after the two kiss a train comes by and that rattles the bat that was under the bridge enough to where they attack and kills the two teens.

This would be a very effective scene, but the first problem with this movie comes up to screw this scene up is that this camera is so insanely erratic with its nearly 50 jump cuts in only a minute that you know what is going on, but it is fucking annoying. This pics I made out of the scene were a fucking miracle that took several times to get because of how just completely erratic these jump cuts are. You’re going to have a lot of scene like this and I am not even going to bother showing you them so just know now that this is a problem.

So after that completely crazy scene, we get a sign that says “Don’t Mess with Texas” and we get our title screen.

This Title Screen Is Actually Pretty Damn Cool.

The next day elsewhere in Skull Valley, Arizona,

We meet two of our main characters in Dr. Sheila Casper and her assistant Jimmy Sands.

Sheila is in a cave doing some research on the roost of some bats and is talking to Jimmy through a headset because Jimmy actually has a fear of bats (well, a fear of bats up close). Suddenly, a helicopter comes which screws up their signal so Sheila has to come out of the cave and see it. Dr. Casper is understandably pretty pissed. The people in the copter reveal themselves to be Dr. Tobe Hodge for the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta. We learn that there is a biological emergency with bats.

They then land in Texas and are met by the sheriff of Gallup, Texas named Emmett Kinsey.

Everyone introduces each other.

And they all drive into town.

They got to the autopsy room where they look at the body of the boy from the beginning.

Yeah, He Got Pretty Messed Up

We also meet Dr. Alexander McCabe.

If You Know What Films This Actor Has Been In And What Role He Plays In Those Films, You Can Safely Assume That He Will Be Our Douchebag Character.

While all of the authority types and doctors are talking, Emmett notices that Jimmy is a bit uneasy about the whole scene and understandably offers to let him wait outside, which Jimmy more than accepts. Sheila notices a bat tooth and pulls it out. She says what type of bat it is (I’m not even going to attempt to spell it) and says that this is impossible as those bats only eat fruit and nectar. She wonders what the hell is going on here, to which Dr. McCabe and Dr. Hodge show that while this is the first attack on humans, this is not the first body they have found.

Dr. Casper still finds this ridiculous because as she says, “Bats do not kill people, period.” Alexander then explains that she is right that bats don’t kill people normally, but the two bats that escaped from his lab are flying foxes from Indonesia that were experimented upon. Sheila says that she will help them find the bats, but she will not allow the team to destroy them.

They then locate a certain area that is most likely where the bats are hiding. At that time, Emmett gets another phone call about another dead body. Dr. Casper then mentions that these attacks can’t be from just one bat or even two. This would mean that a multitude of bats did this. We then meet Mayor Amanda Branson who wants to know what in heaven’s name is going on. She gets told that it is believed that this attack was caused by diseased bats. Sheriff Kinsey then tells the mayor that people need to be warned and there must be a curfew to prevent more attacks.

We then learn that whatever is infecting the bats is not transferable to anything other than bats, which Dr. McCabe says was the intention of the virus. Of course that makes everyone wonder what the hell did he do, but he says that he’s not allowed to say. Kinsey of course calls him out on that bullshit and wants an answer. We find out that the bats’ intelligence has been increased, their ability to work together communally has been increased, are aggressive, and are now omnivores. When asked why he would do this, he uses the old scientist excuse of that’s what they do; make things better. As much as this is a cheesy character because it’s Jeff Goldblum, I would like to hear from Dr. Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park on this.

But You Were So Preoccupied With Whether Or Not You Could That You Didn’t Stop To Think If You Should.

Thank you Dr. Malcolm, Dr. McCabe………you are an asshole.

When called out on his arrogance on if he thinks he can do better than evolution, he responds that apparently he has. Dr. Casper says that the concern right now is that this disease is not allowed to spread to the bat population at large because if they’re feeding habits are disrupted, you can kiss that whole balance of nature thing goodbye. Jimmy uses his computer to show that they do not have much time to stop this because if the bats start freezing their butts off in February, then they infect a lot of places other than where they are right now. Sheila says that the only way to stop this is to find the roost and to annihilate every living bat there.

They then go to the area they predict that the roost is at and put nets over it to stop them. That night, Emmett talks to Sheila about how his mother used to tell him that if the moon was a bit red, that would mean that there was blood on the moon, which would mean someone was going to get killed tonight. Dr. Casper then talks about the necklace that she has on, which is an ancient Chinese symbol for the bat. When asked about what got her into bats, Sheila explains that when she was growing up, she lived at a barn that had some bats in it, which scared the hell out of her and used to give her nightmares. Then one night, her dad dragged her to the barn and caught one the bats. Then her father explained to her all the good things that bats do and then made her hold it. She says that the bat she held was the gentlest thing she had ever seen so she guesses that she has been bat crazy ever since. The thought of killing one of them goes against everything she believes in so Emmett calms her by saying that if she catches one of them, he will hold it and pet its belly for her. It’s a good character moment and something that I kind of like to see in films like these.

Suddenly, they get an alert and Sheila realizes that there are too many bats. What that means is that there are more bats than the nets can hold. Sheila and Emmett run as the bats start flying behind them. They hide in a car while all the bats fly around them.

Emmett calls towards Dr. Hodge that they are going to need help since the bats are out in masses. Jimmy and one of Emmett’s deputies drive in a police car towards their location as soon as they hear their radio for help. Our sheriff is looking for his damn keys so they can drive as bats start to enter the exhaust pipe. Kinsey finally finds the keys so Casper and he can start to get away, until one of the bats’ cuts one of the lines to the engine. Despite all their attempts, one bat gets in anyway. Emmett is able to shoot the bat before it could kill them. Jimmy and the deputy get there and attempt to shoot the gun into the air to scare them off, but the bats give them a yellow glow with their eyes that warns them against it.

Suddenly the bats just fly away for no reason. But good news for our heroes is one bat has had its wings stuck under the tire.

That means they have a live bat in captivity. Jimmy talks about how fucked up this is and how he wants to move to Antarctica since there is not a single bat up there. Emmett tells his deputy to have the mayor prepare have everyone be inside their houses as they are doing a lockdown. Tobi and Alexander come in and Dr. McCabe wants to study the bat, but Sheila says that they have other plans for this bat. Those other plans being put a tracking device on him and see where it leads them. They let the bat go, but then two other bats come in and kill it. Heightened intelligence, folks……either you die in captivity or they kill you for getting captured so you don’t expose their whereabouts.

I’m Betting That These Two Bats Are Saying “Fuck You, Assholes” In Whatever Language Bats Speak.

After they fly away, Dr. Casper says that they need to evacuate everything from a 100 miles from here all the way to Mexico. She also says that Hodge needs to call in for more help. Jimmy then says that would be a good idea because based on his latest map, they all have been heading to Gallup the whole time.

A woman goes to take clothes that have been air drying outside. Elsewhere there are two adults (a waiter and a customer) at the diner and a kid at the arcade machine. There is also a baby sleeping with the window open. That baby is of course the child of the woman trying to take her clothes off pins.

Oh Dear God, If That Bat Kills The Baby, I Am Calling “Pointless Child Death” And Let’s Just Say That Will Sour On Me When I Give My Final Review.

The waiter of the diner goes outside because he is hearing sirens, but he fails to notice the bats that are sticking to the door on the outside.

And He Dies

The woman outside hears some strange noises too, but thinks nothing of it as she goes back to her work.

Bat Freaks Her Out And That’s All We See Of Her Or The Baby

The ugly bat enters the diner and….

Kills The Customer.

 All the while the kid is too into his game to even notice.

Hey, Can You Keep Your Blood-Curdling Screams Down, I’m Trying To Beat This Bike Racing Game.

Kinsey sees that all these people are out despite his thought that he had the mayor warned and he goes to confront her.

She says that her people warned everyone six ways to Sunday, but they refuse because nobody wants to believe it. Of course at that exact moment is when the bats decide to show up.


This causes everyone to panic and run.

This Bicycle Riding Man Takes A Bat Attack Like To Would Take A Cannonball And He’s Dead.

Sheila has to pull a hid out of the street because he is just standing there.

Seriously, This Kid Has A Freaking Death Wish.

The deputy gets thrown against a glass door by the bats and after warning the bartender to run, he gets attacked and killed by the bats.

Branson for some reason just stands there wondering what is going on and deservedly so, she gets a scratch to the face.

Sorry Mayor Branson, But You Are Not A Kid So You Will Not Get Any Hope From Me That Nothing Happens To You. Kids Being Stupid Is One Thing, But Adults Being Stupid I Will Not Tolerate.

More people get killed and McCabe is back in the lab trying to hide stuff in his briefcase. Sheila hides in a grocery store as Emmett and the mayor hide under a truck. Sheila has to fight a bat that was able to get into the grocery store, but the bat is killed nor is Sheila as she decides to find a new hiding place. Jimmy helps people into the barber shop to hide. Sheila’s new hiding spot is a ticket booth and uses her coat to cover up the only hole the bats can get into.

A guy at a different diner tries to go out there with a shotgun and shoot the damn things. After killing a few bats, he uses the truck to get away, not realizing that Emmett and Branson are under it. Neither the sheriff nor the mayor get killed, but the truck driving idiot isn’t so lucky.

He crashes into the ticket booth that Sheila just so happens to get out of so Dr. Casper, Sheriff Kinsey, and Mayor Branson all have to find new hiding places.

By The Way, Nice Reference To Having The Theater Play Nosferatu, The Original Movie Depicting The Tale Of Dracula.

Sheila starts getting attacked by the bats and Hodge saves her, but sadly….

Hodge Is Killed Instead

The bats leave as Jimmy comforts Sheila. Then the bats just decide to leave.

The next day, all the damage is being assessed as the military gets there and now people start leaving. Emmett finds his deputy dead in the bar and mourns his passing. Everybody seems to be trying to figure out what they are going to do now. Jimmy is wondering what they are still doing here, but Emmett said that they are here to stay so they can help in locating the bats. They only have 48 hours before the military launches a full on military strike that includes Hellfire missiles. Jimmy says that is crazy because they will be killing every living thing in Gallup except the bats. They tell Jimmy that they would appreciate his help, but would understand if he leaves. Jimmy decides to stay.

Emmett decides to fortify a nearby school so they have a chance at having enough time to locate the roost. The sheriff then plays classical operatic singing by Montserrat CaballĂ©. Sheila is touched that he is into the classics while Jimmy is somewhere wondering what the hell this is. Anyway, Emmett says that this is his hidden vice and he hopes she won’t tell anyone as the townspeople will not be pleased. Oh and apparently this movie believes that putting jumper cables to a chain link fence that is set up will result in electrocution. In reality, all it would do is short out the jumper cables when the power is turned on. Jimmy says that this place is as secure as a goddamn Alamo which knowing what happened at the Alamo, Emmett is wise to tell him that was a bad example.

Over a coffee break, we learn that bombing will really only scatter them which means good luck to trying to eliminate these infected ones all at once. Jimmy talks about all of this causing him to never sleep again, which gives Sheila a good idea. If the temperature drops 40 degrees, bats begin to hibernate. But if the temperature is at 32, bats begin to freeze to death. Now she never did say if that would be in Celsius or in Fahrenheit, so that would create a huge problem. All they need of course are cooling units that will freeze the roost.

Emmett is only against the idea because that would mean she would have to go into the caves to set them up, but Dr. Casper says that they really have no choice in the matter. It is nightfall and the bats are flying through an empty town and Jimmy says that he has procured the group with the cooling units needed to do the job. They are given the equipment that may protect them from getting attacked by the bats once they go into the caves. It also protects them from the ammonia from the guano at the caves because those can reach lethal levels when getting to a roost. When they actually find out where the bats’ roost is, they find that it is in an actual mine and not a cave at all.

They tell the authorities that the bats are at the mines and they say that they will have the cooling units for them there at dawn. However after the conversation, a bureaucrat within them decides that they need to go into the mines now and take care of them. When said how dangerous it is, the bureaucrat tells them that the government was in on the bat testing the whole time and they helped McCabe with his research. Yeah, the bats start to attack before the bureaucrat’s plan can even begin.

Back at the fortified school, Dr. Casper, Sheriff Kinsey, and Jimmy talk about how since there is only one known of entrance that this should be a piece of cake, but Dr. McCabe comes in and says it won’t since the bats will know they are there and what they are doing, which will cause the bats to try and stop them. He says that he created these bats to be perfect killing machines.

We then see the bats are coming to them and we find out that Dr. McCabe called them to finish this. He brings out a gun and we find out that the bats did not escape. Instead, Alexander let them go. During the glass breaking, the group is able to get the gun away from the mad scientist and yell at him about all the people that have died, which our crazy guy says that the bats merely need to be controlled.

No. No, Man. Shit No, Man. I Believe You’d Get Your Ass Kicked Sayin’ Something Like That.

Thank you Lawrence from Office Space, those are good words of wisdom for this scientist’s plan. Yeah, this doctor believes he can control them and when asked why he doesn’t tell them to stop, McCabe says, “Why would I want to do that?” He gets knocked out by Emmett and our sheriff tries to turn on the generator. Meanwhile, Dr. Casper uses a fire hydrant to freeze them, but a bat gets in anyway and Jimmy and she are forced to leave that room. In another room, Jimmy grabs a makeshift flamethrower and that of course kills a few bats.

Back in the room, McCabe gets up and smiles. The generator finally starts and many of the attacking bats are electrocuted and the rest are forced to retreat. The mad scientist gets made that the bats are leaving and goes outside. There he sees that two bats is still there. The rest of the group tries to get McCabe to come back inside, but he won’t because he says that the bats want him as he can control them. He then tells the bats to come to him. Yeah, the bats come at him and he realizes that the folly of his plan to control bats, but it’s too late as he is killed.

The bats then feed on the remains.

And the bats leave.

The next morning, they drive to the mines. There they see all the dead army men from that botched plan last night. Over a radio, they get told that there are planes coming into to bomb that mine in under 62 minutes. Anyway since the cooling thing is deep in the mine and was never turned on, they will have to do it themselves. They put the suits on and prepare the dynamite that was already set during the failed plan.

Sheila and Emmett in their suits go into the mines while Jimmy helps them on the outside so just in case they fail, Jimmy will blow up the mines. Using an elevator shaft, the two suited up heroes go to the lowest floor of this mines. Of course there is a fork in the road, but that is easily dealt with because one path has possum bones (possums don’t live in mines so they were likely snacks) and that path probably leads to the roost.

They sadly fall down a hole that appears and they are now in a deeper part of the mine.

Oh…………And The Land In Bat Shit

And with that much guano, you know what that means.

That’s A Lot Of Bats

Jimmy tells them that they have 30 minutes left so they better start freezing the bats and get their asses out of there. Now the good news for them is this.

The Cooling Unit Is Already There

They start to get the unit running, but uh-oh….

One Of The Bats See You

It gets worse because they need a key to complete the job so they start rummaging through dead bodies to find one. They find it and are able to start the machine. They have to deal with that one awakened bat as well. Sheila tries to get Jimmy to blow up the entrance now, but he refuses because they still have 7 minutes. The bat attacks and takes off Emmett’s helmet. Emmett finally kills it by burning it with a flare.


But uh-oh……..

That Ruckus Woke Up All The Bats.

Now remember they need to keep those helmets on because of the lethal amounts of ammonia that could come from bat guano (especially that much)? Yeah, the movie forgets about it too because Emmett is still unmasked throughout this whole scene and he is freaking fine. Of course he uses his pipe to breathe a little bit, but he should be dead at this point. Anyway, apparently they have 4 minutes left even though all that stuff that happens I believe took more than 3 minutes so I guess this movie just said “Screw time” and did whatever the hell they wanted to. They get out in time for Jimmy to blow the entrance without them in it.

Jimmy calls the authorities to tell them that they blew up the mine so the planes are called off and the day is saved.

Or is it??!!

Never Mind…..The Day Is Saved.

And that surviving bat getting run over ends our movie.

This movie bombed at the box office with the film making back less than 1/3rd of its budget back. Lou Diamond Phillips (who played Sheriff Emmett Kinsey) would be stuck in B-Movie hell where he would continue to be in terrible movies involving giant monsters like Red Water, Alien Express and Carny. He got divorced to his then wife Penthouse Model Kelly Preston (no, not the one who married John Travolta). He then go arrested for domestic violence following a dispute with his live-in girlfriend and future wife, makeup artist Yvonne Boismer. He pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 3 years’ probation, 200 hours of community service, and had to undergo one year of domestic violence counseling. However if there is one good thing for Lou Diamond Phillips, it is that he has won two celebrity filled reality shows (I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here and Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off).

Dina Meyer (who played Dr. Sheila Casper) had better luck thanks to her role as Detective Allison Kerry in the first four Saw movies, even if she died in Saw III. Bob Gunton (who played the evil Dr. McCabe) also has not let this film ruin him as he has been in films like The Perfect Storm, 61*, I Heart Huckabees, Dead Silence, Fracture, Rendition, The Lincoln Lawyer, Kill The Irishmen, and the 2013 Academy Award-Winning Best Picture, Argo. He has also done well in TV, guest starring as the Secretary of State in the sixth and seventh season of 24 as well as the made for TV movie 24: Redemption. Leon (who played Jimmy) got his ass kicked in Ali and did Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and Buffalo Soldiers. He had a relationship with Cynthia Bailey, star of the 3rd season of Real Housewives of Atlanta, but is now dating Australian fashion model Ebony McIver.  

My thoughts on this film is while not insultingly bad, it is stupid as hell. The acting is passable for something like this film, but the effects are a double edged sword. When the effects are practical, they are really good. But if the effects are CGI, they are terrible. This could have been cut down to a shorter film and not suffered one bit. Oh and to the people making the bats.

This Is A Flying Fox

This Thing That Looks Like A Bat Had Sex With A Bulldog Is Not

 But sad to say, this is not the worst film in this series because there is a second film as well.

Which Is Way Worse

Now NegaSeth……….what is this revenge you have planned for me to suffer.

Hahahahahaha….My Revenge Entails You To Watch 5 Movies In Five Months, All Of My Choice.

Doesn’t sound bad.

Oh, But they are five extremely terrible movies that you can’t do a damn thing to change and they will get worse and worse until September, where you will receive my ultimate gut-punch with a movie that will make you mad to the very core. But for now, let’s start with the easiest of these movies for you to review.

Enjoy The Madness Of Pollen Based Space Chicken, Guilala