Sep 18, 2014


Shitty Flicks is an ongoing column that celebrates the most hilariously incompetent, amusingly pedestrian, and mind-bogglingly stupid movies ever made by people with a bit of money, some prior porn-directing experience, and no clue whatsoever. It is here you will find unrestrained joy in movies meant to terrify and thrill, but instead poke at your funny bone with their weird, mutant, camp-girl penis. 

WARNING: I tend to give away major plot points and twist endings in my reviews because, whatever. Shut up.

I've seen a lot of dreck. I've seen dreck from low-rent filmmakers, and I've seen dreck made by so-called real, established directors. I've seeked dreck and gotten quality; and, in turn, I've seeked quality, and boy oh boy, did I get dreck. It happens. It's unavoidable. And all during this, Savage Planet comes along - a cinematic equivalent of a really really bad liar - comes up right behind us all, and says, "Oh, sorry I'm late. Did you save any bean dip?"

Savage Planet is pretty special. Not because it's "ha ha" bad, and not because it was made by the Sci-Fi Channel back when their original television movies were bad by accident instead of kitschy bad-on-purpose nonsense like Sharknado (although one can still appreciate Savage Planet for those things), but for a very different and special reason. We'll get to that reason in a bit. I suppose it should be considered a spoiler - not because it will ruin the "plot," but because it would ruin the moment during this film that you would be struck by the sheer stupidity of its "villain" and be so utterly taken aback in joy that I kind of don't want to let the air out of your tires.

But, if you choose to keep reading, that's on you.

The film opens with a group of scientists on another "planet" and machetteing their way through a thick wood. The leader takes readings with a gizmo and mentions how the levels of whatever are better than on Earth. It's really important that the film establish right away that these guys are most def NOT on earth, because what are clearly very plain woodsy areas of Canada should at NO point be mistaken for Planet Earth.

References To Being On Alien Planet And Definitely Not Earth: 1

Lead guy gets his hand hacked off by a machete completely by accident and falls into a hole, where he burns his hand stump in a puddle of radioactive green goo. His hand grows back (kind of), and he is then viciously attacked by a space alien. This poor man's fear is paramount. Never, back on Planet Earth, had he ever encountered such an otherworldly monster, but yet here he is, facing something harvested from his nightmares - something so indescribable and beyond comprehension that H.P. Lovecraft would have needed nearly two volumes and limitless cognac to properly describe every minute detail. 

On a planet that savage, aliens look like this:

Okay, you got me. The "aliens" in Savage Planet are bears. And not just plain old bears, but "mutant" alien bears. This is also something they will say over and over to force you into believing you're seeing, like, gigantic mutant bears. But, you're not.

Even the DVD packaging goes very far out of the way to not drop the "b" word. The front cover is a picture of a mossy-looking planet, on the back is nary a photo of a bear, and the summary reads as follows:
Earth is declared uninhabitable from years of toxic pollution and ecological damage. A team of scientists are sent to visit an unknown planet in hopes of finding a new, safe, world. But within the lush and verdant landscape of the new planet they find a mutated species that turns their expedition deadly. They expected and needed utopia but instead found something more deadly than what they d left behind.  
Yep. They found bears.

Just go with it.

Sean Patrick Flannery plays Randall Cain, a sad earthling man with a haunted past who has a giant scar across his chest that actually looks like an even gianter Cronenbergian sex bug. It' to look at, and even more off-putting to pet. He lives in a "Dystopian" future, which means everything looks exactly the same as it does now, except for the first establishing shot of the city, which is a 3D generation of smoothed-over metallic building blocks probably designed by the guys who made Candy Crush while they were each on their own toilet. From what is immediately apparent by this future, The News is dominated by one bored-sounding voice, everything is really white, and Mexico seems to have become a breeding ground for violence and depravity. 

So, it's pretty much like now, only really cheap looking.

Cain's vacation of looking sad and lying in a future cot with that weird bug-looking scar thing across his person is interrupted by his superiors and is brought on to be briefed on a very important mission that he apparently has no choice but to endure. There, he is told that a planet nearly identical to Earth (let's just get that established as soon as possible) has been discovered and I guess some dudes and dudettes need to go there and do some science stuff to determine if the people of Earth can go live there. The planet is called Planet Oxygen, which is just as imaginative as the person whosever idea it was to film a movie set on an alien planet in the not-so-alien looking woods of Ontario. (See, because there's a whole bunch more vegetation on this planet, and hence, a whole bunch more oxygen.)

Cain and his rag-tag group of colleagues, including Not Stephen Moyer, Guy Who Looks Like A Grown-Up Baby, Token Black Guy, and Almost Lisa Kudrow are beamed directly onto Planet Oxygen using an invention called DST (standing for distance travel). 

Each time someone is beamed onto the planet, the director is quick to use split screen, so we can see everyone's understandably amazed faces while the person disappears right before their eyes!

If they think that's amazing, wait till they see how LARGE these bears are!

Let's make a joke about how this bear's favorite song is Roar by Katy Perry
and get it out of the way, because I know that's what we're all thinking.

One of the last people to beam through - and also the guy in charge of security - dies during transference. He hilariously makes pain sounds identical to that of a monkey's, his bones disappear, and he crumbles into a pile of thin, blankety, wet man. Carlson says, "We all agree this is a tragedy," without looking all that bothered by it, and then he--

Oh, shit!

References To Being On Alien Planet And Definitely Not Earth: 2

Where were we? 

Oh, right.

So, these scientists, I guess, are about to--

References To Being On Alien Planet And Definitely Not Earth: 3


So, the scientists begin their expedition--

References To Being On Alien Planet And Definitely Not Earth: 4


During their recon, they locate the body of a dead bear.

"What the hell is it?" asks one of the many people claiming to be a scientist.

After an autopsy of sorts, this amazing exchange takes place:

"It's a prehistoric cave bear; been extinct on Earth for over ten thousand years...The most formidable predator in its day." 

"How does an extinct bear come to get on this planet?"

"Somehow its DNA sequence regressed. No modern bear, even full-grown, has claws this big, or a hide this dense...Their only known enemy was man."

Later, everyone has a philosophical conversation about whether or not the lives of those already lost are worth whatever discoveries they might find on Planet Oxygen. If this were real life, of course the lives lost would be deemed irrelevant, but since this is television - brainless brainless television - these scientists have hearts and decide it's not worth it and everyone wants to go home. Not Carlson, though, because he's the movie's resident money/fame-driven penis head.

"For a scientist, you know a lot about death, but nothing about life," someone says to Carlson, and god damn does he look SHUT DOWN.

(No he doesn't.)


References To Being On Alien Planet And Definitely Not Earth: 5

One of the scientists decides it would be best to go off on her own. I think her name was Bird Seed(?)

Weird, right?

Then this happens:

It was quite a sight to see!

Cain attempts to take control of the mission, since the whole science part of it seems to have gone out the window and now it's more about survival, which means Carlson can be 100% dick. Bears come and Cain asks Carlson to shoot some of them, but Carlson says "fuck that" and him and his eyebrows peace out of the scene. Cain promptly falls and hits his head on a gigantic rock.

I don't blame him.

Maybe he accidentally watched a little bit of his own movie and it all just got to be too much.

As everyone makes plans to spelunk down a cave wall, let's all pause for a moment of out-of-context dialog:

"Okay, here's the plan: I'm gonna go down first, followed by the two girls." 

Day dims, night comes, and it's almost too easy to take out these attacking bears with a shot gun. A perfect juxtaposition of: stock footage of roaring bear, man with shot gun, stock footage of roaring bear calmly lowering from two feet down to all four = man successfully killed bear with a shotgun. 

Movie magic.

After one of the dudes' girlfriends gets dragged from her tent and eaten perfectly in half, the other scientists begin to really doubt their own faith in science. Talk about horror!

- "You know, I was actually offered 'The Walking Dead' first."
- "Is that true?"
- "Oh, lord, no."

The bears continue to take out our scientist characters one by one, and shockingly, Token Black Guy is still hanging in. Even Harold Perrineau was bear meat at this point in The Edge

Have you seen The Edge

It's great.

Anyway, this shit has gotten far too complicated for a killer alien film where the aliens are played by bears. There's something happening now about "life serums" and Planet Oxygen's habitat becoming "increasingly unstable." All I know is: more bears, please. Token Black Guy is still breathing, as is Guy Who Looks Like A Grown-Up Baby.

Whoop. Never mind.

As the bear viciously attacks Token Black Guy and begins tearing apart his innards and ripping off one limb after another, he screams for Cain to shoot him and put him out of his misery. Count how long Cain stands there holding his shot gun with a stupid look on his face before he actually does anything to alleviate Token Black Guy's suffering, and then convert that to Bear Time. Your final figure should be somewhere around, "Cain's a dick."

Rest in peace, Token Black Guy!

Dear god, I've never seen a more boring film where bears play aliens and aliens rip apart really terrible dummies filled with gooey balloons that play the people. My time would've been better spent digging a hole in my backyard and shitting directly into it, and when my one neighbor called the cops and the cops came and asked, "Just what on Earth were you thinking?" I would say, "Well, it was either that or watch Savage Planet," and they would be like, "Say no more, we totally get it. Please shit some more into that hole you dug," and I would say "Thanks, officer," and I might even buy a couple tickets to their Policeman's Ball, even though I'd have no one to go with, because who's gonna go to a ball with someone who shits in the backyard?

No one. :(

Carlson gets his head beared off and things begin to look really dire for our remaining heroes. Almost Lisa Kudrow manages to beam herself back to earth while Cain falls down for something like the hundredth time in this fucking piece of shit, and then a large mutant alien bear with regressed DNA, bigger claws, and a denser hide (read: a normal bear) attacks Cain before he can beam back to Earth.

The scene cuts to several days (weeks? months?) into the future at a press conference where it's revealed that Cain somehow survived his attack even though I'm pretty sure he was within the snares of a bear and unable to get back to his beamer. Jump-cuts save more lives on the Sci-Fi Channel then firefighters save people from fire. That's a real stat - I just looked it up. I couldn't even tell you what happened during this scene because I was already ejecting the disc and dreaming of the fifty cents I'd get for it at MovieStop.

Production is underway on Savage Planet 2: Beary Scary, and it will star Norman Reedus from "The Walking Dead," which is both a stupid joke I just made up and also an excuse to put the words "Norman Reedus" and "The Walking Dead" into this review, just so a bunch of pre-teen girls and sad moms can find it by accident when Googling the phrases "Norman Reedus no shirt" and "Norman Reedus kiss me" and "Norman Reedus friend bear movie."

Sean Patrick Flannery was in the movie Powder. He played 'Powder.'

Good night.

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