Critters 2: The Main Course (1988)
Starring: Scott Grimes, Liane Curtis, Terrence Mann
Writers: David Twohy, Mick Garris
Director: Mick Garris
It's been 2 years since Grover's Bend was slammed with a Critter infestation. Bradley and his family have since moved away, but he's back for Easter break to spend some time with his Grandma. Most towsfolk aren't too keen on that shit. The kid brings back lots of bad memories. Critters killing police, killing Billy Zane, bounty hunters wrecking the hell out of the local bowling alley... it was harsh times, indeed. Well, Bradley kinda wants to leave all this stuff behind him, too. Unfortunately, two town fuck-wits go to the old Brown farm and discover a few batches of bizarre, bumpy green eggs. Eventually, they get sold to Bradley's Grandma to be used in a Church Easter Egg hunt for the little kids of Grover's Bend. Well, the fuckers start hatching, the Critters start munching, the bounty hunters start blastin', Charlie gets a woody for a local girl, God fearin' Grandma says the word "shit", the town sheriff gets his junk attacked by Critters while in a bunny suit, etc.... Great Easter fun all around!
Critters 2 is one of those rare occasions where I think the sequel doubles the awesome of its predecessor in almost every way. It just feels like a bigger and badder and more entertaining experience. Plus, it's Easter themed, and I eat that shit up quicker than a Cadbury egg! The Crites are back in full effect; they are more mischievous, more plentiful, more evil, more hungry, and more morbidly cute. Pretty sure they watched Gremlins during their time off, too. Also returning are the transforming E.T. bounty hunters, Ug and Lee, and they've brought Charlie with them --now a bounty hunter, too. Topping off this fantastic and gigantic bowl of mini-alien fuckery is Bradley (Scott Grimes), and he's a bit more badass this time around. His balls have dropped since we last saw him, and the fluffy 80's ginger mullet he's sporting screams “I'm not to be fucked with!” Well, maybe not screams it, or does scream it but the voice cracks towards the end of the line. Either way, he's back, and he's not about to let the Critters eat the whole town of Grover's Bend.
Mick Garris is in the director's chair, and I usually find the dude to be a mixed bag in this department. While I have a soft spot for shit like Sleepwalkers, I find most of his Stephen King TV adaptations to be pretty damn disappointing. That being said, I have always felt that Garris excels as a writer, and it probably helps greatly that he tapped the story --along with David Twohy, who directed a badass favorite of mine titled Below-- to Critters 2, as well as directing. This is easily my favorite film of Garris'.
From a visual perspective, a lot of the standard stuff is going on here, but there's a few things that made my winky erect like a critter spike just before it launches off their back! Gonna shout out a couple: When Bradley settles in at his Grandmother's house, he sits in an upstairs room reminiscing of good ole times with his long lost friend, Charlie. Just after he asks “Where did you go?”, the camera slowly zooms over his head and out the window at the night sky, as a flash of shooting star-like light zooms by.... it's brilliant. There's a bunch of awesome Critter POV sequences (such as when they hatch from their eggs), but nothing trumps the POV shots of them rolling through town and lunging at nearby people to feast upon! My absolute favorite camera work in Critters 2 has to be this sickening from the ground scene that aims up and over a hatched Critter egg and into the face of the Easter bunny sheriff, as he gazes in fucking bewilderment. Love it!
Scott Grimes reprises his role as Bradley --the boy who cried Critter-- and he rules. He's kinda like an 'Earth's most unlikely hero' type dude, and that's why I love him. Grimes plays the part well, and this time the character is old enough to have a love interest, which makes things a bit more interesting. He also gives off a few good emotional moments while demonstrating the heartache of his missing friend, Charlie. The buddy reunion is very cute and very real.... awwwww. Speaking of Charlie, Don Keith Opper taps back into the role like he never left it. The character is a bit different this time around, though. The last few years of space traveling and alien battling have made him a better man; he's laid off of the hooch and carries his shoulders a bit higher since he's been away from the town that coined him a crazy drunkard. Opper makes this shit real, especially during a fairly sentimental moment where he explains his worries to Ug (Terrence Mann) about returning to Earth. Liane Curtis plays Megan, Bradley's love interest and daughter of Mr. Morgan, who runs the Grover's Ben Gazette. Megan is a sloppy freakin' mess; she can't dress to save her life, but she's cute as a goddamned button. Curtis gives the role a bit of that 'cutesy girl with a childhood crush' stuff, and it works really well.
Now, onto Harv, the sheriff from the first Critters. I guess sometime shortly after the events of the first attack, Harv was voted out of being town sheriff and was replaced by a snide looking douche that talks through his nose and whines like a little bitch. Harv is none too happy about this, and his life has became nothing more than watching game shows all day in a wife beater, living out of a small trailer on the outskirts of town. Now, M. Emmet Walsh played Harv the first time around; here he is replaced by Barry Corbin. I gotta say I usually detest recurring characters being played by different actors, but Corbin fucking kills in this role. He's chock full of one-liners and carries a severely badass 'fuck this fucking town straight up its fucking ass' attitude. LOVE him. I don't even have anything against M. Emmet Walsh, but Barry Corbin takes this character and just runs like a bat out of hell with it. Performances are all around pretty damn good in Critters 2. Some of the extras are ridiculous during the aftermath of the Church scene, but it's a hilarious kind of ridiculous, and I dig that. Lastly, The late Herta Ware is awesome as Bradley's Grandma, as is Tom Hodges as Wesley, the town asshole.
Chiodo Brothers are up in this bitch for the Critter FX again, and I think they times ten their efforts. I love the looks of these furry fucks in the first film, but the abundance of them in Critters 2 and how mobile they are is amazing. And holy shit to the giant Critter ball in the finale. I saw this in the theater when I was a kid and remember very well how seriously blown away I was when that giant ball of carnivorous carnage came bursting out of the door at Polar Ice Burger. That still rules hard. R. Christopher Biggs serves as SFX supervisor, and there's a good bit of gooey greatness, especially for a PG-13 film. Roll call: The bounty hunter/Crite showdown at the Hungry Heifer burger joint is just one big laser blaster burst of alien splatter after another. There's also a good bit of Critter feasting scenes, a chewed off and gnawed down to the bone arm prop, a half eaten redneck, Critter VS. Foot= smooshed Critter, Critter biting into tire being flattened, Critter in a fryer, Critter wall paint, and more! All the visual FX look pretty cool, too. It's 80's epicness, but I dig the shit outta those old school space flying scenes. Lastly, the bounty hunter transformation into a Playboy centerfold is goddamn brilliant. Inflating ass cheeks and boobs, LOVE.
Nicholas Pike's film score accompanies the small town scenery pretty perfectly. The moments that have no Critter action is where I feel the music stands out the most. I'm not saying the music that plays during the horror and action isn't good, but it doesn't seem as important as it should. As far as little monster flick scores go, I don't think there's much better than what Jerry Goldsmith did for Gremlins.
So, it's obvious that I had a fucking blast re-visiting Critters 2: The Main Course. I watched this beast twice yesterday so I could properly give it the love it deserves. It is one kick ass Easter horror film, for sure.
- Fuckin' paste eaters.
- Quigley, you belligerent bastard. Wish you would die...
- Wish granted!
- The best brand of beer to win over the hotties is... BEER™
- Photo is an actual scene from part 1. Who the fuck took a picture of Charlie shooting a slingshot!?
- Best "I'm having my nuts chomped off by Critters while in a Easter bunny suit" dance EVER.
- All this stuff with Lee transforming into a Playboy centerfold and a nerdy Hungry Heifer manager is cool 'n all, but....
- I still feel a little dead inside because this didn't happen.
- Critter bowling! Strike, bitches!
- He mad.