Wednesday, August 17, 2005

It Came From Netflix: The Glass Trap

You know you’re in trouble when you rent a movie that doesn’t live up to the expectations raised by the phrase, “A Fred Olen Ray Giant Ant movie.”

Why do I still watch these things? In Irish mythology, warriors were often bound by what was called a geis. This is was prohibition or injunction, which could not be violated without inviting misfortune or doom. For instance, a warrior may have a geis laid upon him that enjoins him to have a drink whenever he is invited to (and in Irish myths, a drink would usually be several gallons of some powerful mead or the like). Even if he were on an important mission or preparing for battle, if invited to have a drink, he would have to stop what he was doing and fulfill his geis.

My geis is to watch any killer insect or shark movies that present themselves, no matter how numerous and predictably awful.

In this case, the film’s fatal flaw was, as fellow bad movie maven Joe Bannerman noted (after dozing off through the latter half of the film), that it was “so boring.” Really, that’s about the worse thing you can say about a giant killer ant movie, you’d have to think.

Basically, it’s Die Hard with killer giant ants, as various ‘characters’ run around a mostly deserted office building while occasionally being ‘attacked’ by ‘ants’. There are stabs at humor (one federal agent reveals that she works for “a branch of the Agriculture Department so secret that even the President doesn’t know it exists”), but the overall film is so dreary that they just kind of sink without leaving a ripple.

Meanwhile, Ray’s usual cast of show biz has-beens—a starring C. Thomas Howell, Stella Stevens, Martin Kove, Richard Gabai (!), Chick Vennera (!!), Ron Harper, Brent Huff, etc.—either take the opportunity to overact outrageously (Kove especially; at least somebody had some fun in regards to this picture), or just blandly coast. Either way, nobody makes much of an impression.

The ants…wow. They’re awful. There are some truly lame CGI shots, but more often they are physical props. Now, I have often stated how I generally prefer physical effects to computer ones (although computer effects are getting better all the time), but yikes. These ants aren’t even puppets; they’re props. By this I mean, they don’t have any moving parts, and are generally just held tail-end by offscreen hands and thrust at the actors. One suspects they weren’t even fabricated for this movie, but instead bought during a post-holiday Halloween Warehouse sale.

There was a time in which you had an oddball respect for Ray’s in-your-face no budget filmmaking, but those days, I guess, are past. And believe me, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers is a classic work of cinema compared to this film. I’m sure Fred’s a great guy, and I certainly like the fact that he’s putting out stuff like Larry Buchanan movies via his Retromedia DVD company, but yeesh. At least Jim Wynorski generally provides hilarious commentary tracks for his horrible movies. Ray instead allows the film to speak for itself, and sadly, it has nothing even remotely interesting to say.

And finally…Glass Trap?! Lamest…title…ever.


At 6:14 PM, Anonymous Foywonder said...

Ken, this time you proved yourself to be a better man than I. I've had a screener of GLASS TRAP in my possession and have sat down to begin watching it on four different occassions only to pull the plug after a few minutes. I keep trying but simply cannot bring myself to endure it all.

Now I challenge you to seek out a copy of AVIA: VAMPIRE HUNTER or ZOMBIEZ. I bet you react to those the way I reacted to GLASS TRAP.

At 8:15 AM, Blogger Marty McKee said...

I have this on my Netflix queue. One thing about Ray's movies is that they are always watchable and I wonder if you're being too hard on it. I can't sit through five minutes of today's SOV home movies with amateurish actors, but no matter how bad GLASS TRAP may be, it still has professional if not exceptional production values and a talented cast.


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