Hurts So Good - MOSQUITO
Remembering my Memorial Day weekend, which was spent on a tropical island soaking up the sun, boating and drinking delicious beverages with umbrellas in them, I was completely drawn to a film that reminded me of the one aspect of my vacation that I could have done without. Gary Jones’ 1995 film, MOSQUITO, tells the tale of the typically tiny pests that have Josh Baskin-ed themselves into a much larger nuisance to the campers that they ultimately bloodlust for.
Opening to a shot of an interplanetary aircraft flying through space, MOSQUITO follows as that alien transporter crash-lands into a remote lake located in the northern Michigan wilderness. After feeding on the dying alien bodies, the mosquitos borne of that stagnant water grow to massive proportions and find their way to a local campsite hell bent on feeding off their blood. Its only when a group of misfits - the unfortunate couple Ray (Tim Lovelace) and Megan (Rachel Loiselle), forest ranger Hendricks (Ron Asheton of Iggy & The Stooges fame), “meteor”-ologist Parks (Steve Dixon) and an ensemble of of bandits lead by Earl (Gunnar “Leatherface” Hansen) – team up to take on this insect invasion that things go awry. As the plot thickens, more and more of these beasts arrive and the elimination of the threat they pose to the human population at large quickly becomes the responsibility of this small group of people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Paying an obvious homage to the radioactively/genetically-enhanced animals that filled the screen in many of the B-movie horrors of the 1950s, this film is a color desaturation away from being completely indiscernible from its mid century counterparts. The cast of this film is composed of truly abysmal low budget actors and the script and characters within it play themselves right to their inabilities. Hendricks, despite being a park ranger, serves as the comic relief, playing a bumbling idiot, completely devout of any form of knowledge. The film’s two scientific minds – Megan and Parks – seem to just ramble random scientific terms (the chick says proboscis like seven damn times) with no sense of an understanding of the facts they are belching out. I’m not going to go too hard on them for this, though, because I do now know a bit more about mosquito biology than I did prior to watching this flick. For a film of this magnitude to display any educational merit is quite impressive.
The most recognizable actor in the film, Gunnar Hansen, who plays Earl, the ringleader of the violent gang, even succeeds in his failure of bringing his character to life. Albeit a big grizzly looking guy, he never seems to incite fear into the rest of the characters, something I’d expect a criminal mastermind of his type to easily be able to accomplish. I will, however, give credit where it is due, as he does deliver one of the film’s greatest lines, a timely pop culture reference to the character from which he claims his fame. In the later moments of the movie, when grabbing a chainsaw from a work shed, he asserts that, “I haven’t handled one of these babies in twenty years!” Apparently, you can take Gunnar out of TEXAS, but you can’t take TEXAS out of Gunnar. It’s all bad, but given the direction the film takes from the get go, I doubt the director would have wanted it any other way.
As far as effects are concerned, which often prove to be the important aspect of these cheesy B-movie horrors, I was quite impressed. While it is obvious that everything was done to meet the film’s shoestring budget – which I believe was in the $200,000 range. The insects themselves were all prosthetic puppets that had limited movement - short of their wings - and often appeared onscreen cheesily superimposed over the varying landscapes. Their lack of movement definitely limited the ways in which the attacks could be shot, but in a way, it seemed to add to the intended feeling of the film. Furthermore, the movie didn’t try to do anything it couldn’t, only showing a few moments of gore and relying on cutaways to add to the “suspense” factor. What they show isn’t a total fail, but trust me that their decision to limit the visuals in this department was a great idea. Finally, the dead bodies that lay strewn about the premises were a hot mess, but their dried up, rubbery skin truly work to sell them as being victims of blood draining super insects.
While the opening acts of the film were done quite well given what the movie intended to do, you truly start to reap the benefits of enduring through it all in the third act. It’s the moment when the radioactive mosquitos corral our friends into a cabin in the middle of the woods that turns out to be the epicenter of their “operation” that things truly get interesting. With a basement full of skeeter eggs and the perimeter walls surrounded by their entire army, the crew must somehow come together to invent some form of survival intelligence that did not exist before, and defeat their buzz worthy opponents. Watching their genius come to be is what makes MOSQUITO the gem that it truly is. I know it’s a cliché at this point, but here is where the phrase “so bad it’s good” comes into play.
While this movie ultimately made its way to the SyFy channel as one of its widely paraded animal-inflicting horror flicks, it is of a much higher production value than the majority of the crap they air. As far as numbers are concerned – not that it truly matters in the grand scheme of things - it’s more than quadrupled its budget and gathered a cult following in the process. With VHS, Laserdisc and several DVD releases over the years, it shouldn’t be hard to come by this one, so I’d suggest you fly out and grab it. I can almost guarantee that this is one MOSQUITO that doesn’t suck.
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June 6, 2012, 10:42 a.m. CST
June 6, 2012, 10:42 a.m. CST
June 6, 2012, 10:44 a.m. CST
91 years old...
June 6, 2012, 10:49 a.m. CST
Ticks had a few nice moments of gore, decent effects too.
June 6, 2012, 10:50 a.m. CST
by Micah fendley
I will check it out... Hopefully its better than Fogs
June 6, 2012, 10:51 a.m. CST
Like the entire internet isn't already buzzing with Bradbury's death.
June 6, 2012, 10:53 a.m. CST
One that stood out was giant bug movies. If I remember right, they wouldn't have the strength to fly or even move. And they wouldn't be able to breath. The other kind of obvious one was that an invisible man would be blind since the image entering his eye would have no visible surface to be projected on.
June 6, 2012, 10:54 a.m. CST
Well, except for AICN... And I really like the expression 'town crier of death'. Well played sir.
June 6, 2012, 10:56 a.m. CST
Or something. Haven't heard of it either...shows me up no end. I recently watched THEM! for the first time and it played out like a modern day movie parody to me really. I also watched They Nest, which was another one that I thought was okay. Is Mosquito worth a watch?
June 6, 2012, 11 a.m. CST
so, in the past 20 some odd years it's made $4000? ;)
June 6, 2012, 11:01 a.m. CST
by MOOMBA is HERE
Growing up, this, alongside 'Pieces' and 'Slaughter High' were among the tapes I saw religiously as a kid in the 90's. This flick is like a low-rent, white trash version of 'Aliens', with terrible dialogue and bargain basement effects- but it works! I'm shocked to this day why this hasn't achieved 'Troll 2' status among hipster assholes, which might be for the best...
June 6, 2012, 11:02 a.m. CST
Maybe to be topical, Harry should just post "Ray Bradbury is dead" and search his childhood memories later.
June 6, 2012, 11:07 a.m. CST
June 6, 2012, 11:10 a.m. CST
by MOOMBA is HERE
One scene in this flick has all the principal actors in a Mobile home, speeding down a dark, forest road, fending off 20 or so giant mosquitoes with shotguns and chainsaws! Really, do whatever you have to do, but you all have to find this movie!
June 6, 2012, 11:19 a.m. CST
by Gabe Vuotto
June 6, 2012, 11:20 a.m. CST
by Gabe Vuotto
fucking non-correctable talkback!
June 6, 2012, 11:22 a.m. CST
also featured a young Seth Green. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BT3WVox0vyE&feature=related
June 6, 2012, 11:39 a.m. CST
I could only find it used and they wanted $75.00 for it. I passed.
June 6, 2012, 11:43 a.m. CST
June 6, 2012, 12:08 p.m. CST
by The Infamous Billy The Kidd
Everything on that second image is covered up by the giant mosquito.
June 6, 2012, 12:11 p.m. CST
Everyone else is gossiping about the "scoop". AICN takes it on themselves to say something loving and respectful about those we consider "geek idols". That takes time. It's not something that should be slapped together quickly to "compete" with the other sites gossiping about this man's death. Not to quote Michael Bay, but fans need to chill.
June 6, 2012, 12:23 p.m. CST
I saw Mosquito during a USA network horror triple-bill. Mosquito was amusing. But their second film... <br><p> Was motherfucking Ticks. And Ticks is seriously the finest creepy-crawly film since Kingdom of the Spiders. Amazingly graphic gore, a surprisingly anarchic tone, and yes, Carleton from Fresh Prince as a troubled inner-city youth with a giant Carleton-sized tick inside him. The scene at the end when the Carleton-tick does... what it does... blew our fucking minds when my buddy and I first saw it. <br><p> Mosquito is a goofy film that winks at you. Ticks is the punk rock version that spits in your face and laughs at itself. <br><p> Then, the third and final horror film on USA that night, was Hello Mary-Lou: Prom Night 2. It was a good fucking night to stay in and watch USA in the mid-90's.
June 6, 2012, 12:32 p.m. CST
by Philip Kelly
Now Mansquito was a movie.
June 6, 2012, 12:38 p.m. CST
I briefly worked on this film so, so many years ago. The crew was made up of Sam Raimi minions. The cast a bunch of hard working local actors. The real shame was that the film was gobbled up by a defunct distribution company and the film makers didn't get any return on their money. Nice to see it is getting some love on here!
June 6, 2012, 12:54 p.m. CST
That killed my VCR that year. And I couldn't afford a new one for a month. Eff this movie!
June 6, 2012, 1:01 p.m. CST
Exactly. That "transformation" scene in Ticks is still pretty damn disturbing to watch.
June 6, 2012, 1:22 p.m. CST
... it was for the promo during the phase when they were trying to find funding for the film. Never realized it had been so successful on cable or had a "cult following". For you effects nerds, the sequence was composited in camera on the original negative. We couldn't afford bluescreen and first generation looks better anyway, so we shot all our moco that way (Moontrap, etc.)
June 6, 2012, 1:26 p.m. CST
I hope they at least give you guys an edit button.
June 6, 2012, 1:53 p.m. CST
by Bart Hughes
June 6, 2012, 2:05 p.m. CST
(Mansquito turns toward our hero apparently aware that he is the Mansquito)
June 6, 2012, 2:15 p.m. CST
You still in the biz in Michigan?
June 6, 2012, 3:59 p.m. CST
post here. Give us some stories if you have them.
June 6, 2012, 4:01 p.m. CST
June 6, 2012, 4:16 p.m. CST
by The Shropshire Slasher
who is the "crown prince of horror"? Gunnar Hansen?
June 6, 2012, 4:31 p.m. CST
That is all.
June 6, 2012, 5:49 p.m. CST
Mostly I do small things on the side for small productions, like stop motion puppets or odd props. Did all the effects for a local production of Evil Dead the Musical (blood cannons, chainsaw, deadite makeup). That was interesting because, though I worked on Army of Darkness, all of it was on miniatures at Introvision, so none of what I did carried over to the musical.
June 6, 2012, 6:31 p.m. CST
I'll always love Tony Randel for Hellbound: Hellraiser II. But when I heard his latest movie was called TICKS, I turned up my nose and ignored it. I know what I'll be watching this weekend! ps - I rented Mosquito in '96 cause I was a Stooges fanatic and couldn't believe Ron Asheton was in it. I thought it was just ok. Hats off to the puppeteers though. Those giant skeeters looked WAY better than they had any right to! The eyeball scene was good too.
June 7, 2012, 7:14 a.m. CST
been meaning to revisit it for years. i'm watching mosquito on youtube now.
June 7, 2012, 8:01 a.m. CST
If you're going back and revisiting old horror films - and I think that's a great thing - then take a look at a '73 film called "Sssssss" with Strother Martin and Dirk Benedict.
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