The first half of this film is made-for-TV gold. I loathe straight to video horror more than the next guy. Having to work at a rental chain introduced me to the macabre world of DIY film making and such horrors as vampire midget films (Ankle Biters). I'd pick any of Winston's Creature Feature series over any Sci-Fi Channel film. This is the early film that beat the Slacker-power film Stay Alive to the punch.
Better than Stay Alive in almost every way, the sniveling, pathetic "in-game graphics" are both on par. Which says a lot, considering the massive budget differences and year made. The graphics in TRON are considered more revolutionary than anything presented in this film. Again, It all lies on the weight of Stan Winston creating a cool bad guy; which seems to rip off Virus in a big way.
In the series, there is She Creature, Earth vs. The Spider, How to Make a Monster, and Teenage Caveman. Teenage Caveman is most known for being directed by pedophile auteur Larry Clark. Each of these films is a modern remake (retelling) of a classic AIP film (American International Pictures). Plot in a sentence: Computer programmers racing to complete a game accidentally unleash "killer" A.I. into a computer game thus possessing a telemetry suit.
Nerdcore is a becoming a prominent voice in pop culture this century. It started with Nintendo geeks, now it is blossoming into the musical category (mc chris) as well as fashion (J!nx). The characters have the charm of old school Full Moon characters (Which isn't too boasting).
Is that a Pikachu?
Self-proclaimed Scream Queen Julie Strain plays a role in this film. As expected, she wastes no time stripping nude and jumping up and down. The title Scream Queen should be buried with the legends and not be used to label Troma stars and low budget models. To me, It's as disrespectful as it sounds. I can't look Strain in the eyes without remembering her acidic role in Tales from the Crapper. That movie was a cinematic cock punch; Arguably the worst Troma film in existence.
Stan Winston's decision to create low-budget films really made me look up to the man even more. His hard-working unbiased work environment should be noted by every director or film crew member. What Geung tried to create with the characters is the food chain, expect presented and highlighted by social status, gender, and race. Being a Chinaman, he places a zen black man in the role, and even makes him an intellectual named Sol.
(The very same Karim Prince.)
Sol: The name is Sol. As in Solomon. As in the King That Is Wise. As in the solution to all of your problems. Why should you hire me? [laughs] Sol: That's just dumb; that is a dumb question. Why do you call that a chair? Why is the sky blue? Why are you dressed like a thirty-two year old when it's obvious you're at least fifty- [gets interrupted]
Then to typecast some more, they place an awkward wrestler in the film (Tyler Mane) whose name is Hardcore. Just don't ask him if it's his real name. This man swings around ancient weaponry as if he knows how to handle such antiques. Not only is the group a social rat race but each character fits a class or race in the standard video game. Hardcore obviously being the "Warrior", Sol being the "Mage", Laura being an "Elf", Bug being a "Cleric", and ironically, Steven being the "Thief".
The film takes a hilariously awkward role when all blame for the approaching carnage falls on the Negro's shoulder. He designed, created, and gave life to the monster. He is also the first to die. The monster then takes his "tainted" pupils and exchanges them for something a bit more "white". The marketing for a "Scary" game in this film is all in vain. The scariest game is not one with a monster and awesome weapons. This film should be re-titled to "How to Not Make a Scary Game"
This is arguably better than the film.
Another flaw is the shameless product placement. P.O.D. can clearly be heard in one scene which warranted some groans from me and Evil Dead video game posters cover the wall. There is something about Video games and women mixing that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Wait a minute, allow me to correct that. Something about Video games and Clea DuVall mixing makes me nauseous. She is up there with one of my least favorite faces in film.
Speaking of video games and actors not fitting, I don't believe any of these "Stars" have ever played a video game in their life. In many scenes, each of these celebrities showed extreme acting vigil while mashing away at their controllers to do the simplest command such as jumping. Swinging a sword should not call for pressing every button as fast as you can and biting your lip.
How to Make a Monster is seriously flawed, but there is something within the first hour which makes it almost worth my time. Tattoo's switch arms and people hear a fluttering rooms away through steel walls. This is a infected film which is dragged down by a horrible climax with a juvenile attempt at a symbolic layered ending. This film's ending is almost as fun as playing Virtual Boy and allowing your brain to bleed. I still think it's partially fun, especially being a homage to the 50's.
"Battle not with monsters lest ye become a monster. When you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes into you."
(Note: This quote is exercised in the film in a most pretentious context)