What’s in a name? Where a lot of feature filmmakers are concerned, savvy audiences can deduce ahead of time what to expect just from looking at the man or woman behind the lens. The big names are out there Quentin Tarantino, Woody Allen, Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg and the no less inspired—but infinitely more budget conscience auteur’s like John Waters, Roger Corman and Lloyd Kaufman. All of those filmmakers have signature style. When I sit down for a Corman schlock fest I know I’m getting today’s knock off of tomorrows big budget blockbuster. Damnit…I expect neurosis and a trip to my shrink after I watch a Woody Allen film—This is the beauty of movie going experience.
B-moviedom has a lot of stylish filmmakers, guys who are identifiable by the kind of film they make, whether it was Russ Meyer or Charles Band you knew what you were getting at the start. Filmmaker Brett Piper is a lot like that. Piper’s films are special effects stories with uncomplicated plots. They’re fun. They don’t require deep meaning. They succeed as both spoof and as serious entertainment. This is what I expect from Brett Piper and this is what he delivers without fail.
BACTERIUM bears all the hallmarks of the Brett Piper oeuvre. It’s got beautiful ladies galore, a spryly satirical mindset, government sanctioned monsters and gallons upon gallons of slime.
Beth (Alison Whitney), Jiggs (Benjamin Kanes) and Miya (Miya Sagara) are just your average everyday twentysometings out for a weekend paintball excursion when they happen on an abandoned palatial home. At least they think it’s abandoned. Deep in the basement an AWOL military scientist is fervently searching for a cure to the deadliest biological weapon the world has ever seen. With a team of crack government commandos surrounding the house—under orders to take down anyone who tries to escape—the small band are stuck between a huge pulsating slime-beast that consumes everything in it’s path and a hail of bullets.
If Brett Piper’s last film SHOCK-O-RAMA was homage to the camp classics of the 1960’s then his latest BLOB-inspired production is the heir apparent to the classic atomic films of 1950’s. With mad scientists, a band of renegade bikers, governmental conspiracies and an oozing amoeba that leaves a trail of bleached bones and gooey sludge in its wake; Piper hits all the right notes in a symphony of drive-in theater style calamity.
With BACTERIUM, Piper has created a Grade-A B-Movie that is almost brilliant in it’s simplicity. Like THE BLOB or FIEND WITHOUT A FACE, the attraction here is the monster. And in that regard the film delivers on all its promises. The miniatures are solid but the slime steals the show and Piper uses a lot of old school trickery to make that mass as menacing as possible.
Sure the film is hokey, but so is everything from that era. If you want chills rent PSYCHO or DIABOLIQUE. If you are looking for mindless entertainment and the sheer delight of one man’s quest to remind folks that genre films can be fun—you need to see this film as soon as possible.