Forgive my tangent. As the resident reviewer of all things new and primarily DTV, I tend to pick out three new horror movies each week for review and eventual submission. Sadly this week two of my charges got pulled at the last minute – one of which was a new movie with Trent Hagga in it. In the UK the title got massacred to the abysmal Gangsters vs Vampires from the quite intriguing Bonnie & Clyde vs Dracula, and word has it that it’s a decent little flick. I had intended for this picture to write a much overdue love letter to Trent as I reckon he’s an icon of b-movie horror, before going on to review the film. I was going to draw upon his cult status as star of such classics as Terror Firmer, Citizen Toxie as well as his awesome directorial debut, Chop. Alas though, the DVD releasing Gods have conspired against me in quite a spectacularly vengeful way. Bastards.
Fear not though, I’ll have my time with Trent on Killjoy Goes To Hell next week… or should we call that Killer Clown. Well, with that can of worms on ice, I present to you a review for Axe Giant: The Wrath Of Paul Bunyan. I must admit when I saw Axe Giant in my box of newbies this week I honestly didn’t envisage it getting anywhere near my DVD player. Its directed by Gary Jones, a man whose work has graced my screen a number of times over the last 15 years or so with such fayre as Mosquito – a rare starring role for Gunnar Hansen, Spiders and also the sequel to the Tobe Hooper creature feature Crocodile.
With a cast that boasts Joe Estevez and Dan Haggerty (Grizzly Adams) we’re thrust without that much knowledge into the legend of Paul Bunyon. For the uninitiated, Bunyon is a heroic lumberjack figure rooted deeply in American folklore. A giant of a man he’s also considered to be a lumberjack of unusual skill who is often accompanied by his animal companion ‘Babe the Blue Ox’. How that exactly morphs into a vengeful murderous figure out to butcher the ubiquitous gang of kids out in the wilderness I’m not too sure, although Estevez does his best to explain in his own gurning way.
There are parts of Axe Giant which are quite spectacularly bad. Not even comically bad. This is coming from a veteran of Syfy channel movies and the lowest budget films imaginable. Take the worst piece of CGI I’ve ever seen in my life for example, the creation of the fabled Blue Ox. Whatever happened to the powers of suggestion? I had the pleasure recently of re-watching Cat People from 1942 – a film whose horror is created purely by your own imagination. To me it seems that if you don’t have the money to create a respectfully accurate CGI Blue Ox, then just suggest its presence via the script and the actors. It’s possible!
Anyway, gripes aside (and there are plenty more I could bore you with) I must admit I wasn’t tempted in any way to turn off Axe Giant. It was just hokily compelling (stick that on your box and smoke it!) with its over the top CGI gore, laughably bad extras, and actors that displayed more woodenness than the trees that surrounded them. I just wish I had some beer to keep me company for the duration, as then I might have been a little less harsh.