Viddy Well Recommends: Mosquito
Article by Aaron Haughton
Mosquito is a low budget creature feature B-movie directed by Gary Jones and starring Gunnar Hansen (the original Leatherface) and Ron Asheton (guitarist for The Stooges). The film is about an alien spaceship that crash lands in a U.S. national park, killing its extraterrestrial pilot, who then becomes easy prey for the many mosquitoes in the area. After feasting on the alien corpse, the mosquitoes mutate to abnormally large size and reign terror on an unsuspecting summer camp full of vibrantly silly characters, including bank robbers, young lovers, incompetent park rangers, and a meteorologist.
If the film rings a bell, it's because it ran extensively on cable, but before that, it did have a brief and limited theatrical stint before going straight to video. Upon its release, it was describes as "a classically bad monster movie" and was met with nearly unanimous negative reviews, but the film just as quickly found its audience through cult acclaim. Which, lemme tell yah, this film truly deserves. It's a full on 90s cheesefest in the best possible way and is a great film to watch in a group setting over a few brewskis.
Director Gary Jones got his start in special effects and even worked with the likes of Sam Raimi on both Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness before turning director with Mosquito. So, there's little wonder why the effects are pretty outstanding, and the film has a certain kinetic energy and flow that can really only be compared to the Raimi and his Evil Dead trilogy. The effects, which are mostly practical, consists of a combination of stop-animation, puppetry, traditional cel animation, and miniatures, with a few computer generated bits sprinkled here and there. The CGI aspects are obviously outdated and are the worst bits about the film, but the practical mosquito puppets and effects still look pretty damn good today.
This would probably be a different story had the film came out a few years later after the practical effects heyday, so I'd like to pause in a moment of remembrance for the 90s impressive practical effects before the massive shift to predominately CGI post 1997.
The script and acting are admittedly awful, but that's all part of Mosquito's charm. I honestly think that if Mosquito had good, big name actors or perhaps even a bigger budget, that it wouldn't be as fun or effective. I like the film to Basket Case in terms of camp, effects and budget; both are total schlock with bad dialogue and performances, but pretty imaginative practical effects and gory death sequences. The combination of these things culminate into a final product that ends up worming its way into a special place in your heart.
Some highlights include:
- Gunnar Hansen wielding a GIGANTIC chainsaw and saying, "Man, I haven't handled one of these babies in 20 years."
- A giant mosquito getting an ass full
- A death sequence that includes eyes exploding out of someone's head
- An Alien homage nest of mosquito eggs
- A death cry to rival Troll 2's "Oh my god," which is "Mother FUuuuuuuUUuuukkk"
- A female protagonist who isn't sexualized and is actually pretty knowledgable and respected
- Oh yeh, and the word "proboscis," which gets said a laughable number of times
All in all, it's an extremely likable monster movie whose positives far outweigh any of its many problems. For a long time, the film used to be fairly hard to track down, and some DVD copies were selling for somewhere in the ballpark of $400 on eBay and Amazon; however, you can now get a digital copy from iTunes or a physical copy from Amazon for a reasonable price. If you wanna give a quick watch, you can view the full film on YouTube (minus opening credits) here.
Rating: 3.5 proboscises outta 5.
What do you think? Did you grow up watching the film on cable? Is it a guilty pleasure, or maybe a film that you think may be worth checking out? We want to know. Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below, and, as always, remember to viddy well!