Stars: Michelle Simone Miller, Kathryn Metz, Rich Lounello, A.J. DeLucia, Steve Diasparra, Danielle Donahue, Ken Van Sant | Written and Directed by Brett Piper
The latest film from cult auteur Brett Piper (They Bite, The Screaming Dead, Raiders of the Living Dead) Queen Crab is – from start to finish – a loving, action-packed tribute to the classic days of practical stop-motion animation, evoking the days of Ray Harryhausen creature features.
The official synopsis reads thus: A meteor crashes into a quiet lake in the remote countryside, awakening a centuries-old beast. She emerges from the deep and tears through a nearby town and its inhabitants. The humans must fight for their lives and stop this Queen Crab before she can hatch an army of babies that will overrun the entire world.
Though to be fair that synopsis exagerates things a little. It’s more a case of girl develops relationship with a crab, which grows to enormous proportions. Said crab then turns out to be a female crab (the titular Queen of the films title), who has baby crabs which then terrorise the town. Meanwhile Jennifer, a former high-school student turned B-movie actress, arrives in town just in time to save it from the crab outbreak… Not quite a terrifying as the official synopsis makes out. In fact it would be very hard for this film to scare, as it’s played out with a similar campy retro vibe which made the original Elvira movie such a success. Speaking of which, Queen Crab shares a LOT in common with that films “film within a film”, Attack of the Crab Monsters, too.
Where Queen Crab scores major plus points is in echewing CGI for stop motion animation to bring its giant crab to life. In a world of CGI creatures, from the likes of the Syfy channel and The Asylum, this movie is a breath of fresh air. And the stop motion is good, really good, and integrated well with the live-action footage. But then what do you expect from a film by Brett Piper? After all, this is the guy that made A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell, whilst the film is a contender for not only the best movie title but also the campest dinosaur movie ever, even camper than the Doug McClure movies of the 70s, the stop motion effects worked, even on a low budget.
Thankfully Piper also really knows his audience – the type of film fan who’s willing to look beyond low budgets, production issues etc., and doesn’t take his or her movie watching too seriously, someone who’s willing to just enjoy a movie purely for fun. And Queen Crab is a LOT of fun.
If like me you enjoy a good, campy, creature-feature then Queen Crab is for you. The film is out now on DVD and VOD from Wild Eye Releasing.