FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Sep 9, 2013

VHS Week, Day 1: KOLOBOS

Look, I know you think that I know every little thing about horror movies and that I've seen every one of them. It's natural to think that way, since I do have this blog and all. But...brace yourselves for the cold, hard tits of truth my friends: I do not know every little thing about horror movies, and I have not seen every one of them. Do you need a moment? I'm sure you need a moment. Take all the time you need! I will entertain myself by looking at this picture of a tiny goat until you are ready to continue.

You know what, I look at that picture and this is instantly me:

Anyway, the point is that I didn't know of the existence of Kolobos (1999) until it appeared here, during the 2010 SHOCKtober celebrations, as one of Amanda by Night's Top 20 faves. She always knows what's up, so immediately added it to my "must watch" list and found a copy. So why did it take me three years, then, to feast my eyeballs on it? Well, despite Amanda's seal of approval, I decided to judge the tape by the box, and I found the box to be rather uninspiring.

It's like, what, a supermodel gets attacked by a big lizard monster? I'm not a huge fan of creature features, so I kept putting it off. Besides, what the hell does "kolobos" mean, anyway? I figured it was the name of the green lizard dude.

Perhaps if my tape had this UK cover, I'd have watched it sooner because GUESS WHAT, ALL OF MY ASSESSMENTS WERE 100,000% WRONG and this cover is way more accurate and also defines "kolobos" so you don't feel like a big ignoranus for wondering about it:

A house, a creepy face. No supermodels or monsters and why oh why did the US cover have a lizard monster on it? THERE ARE NONE. This is how Amanda B.N. summarized the film, and it's totally perfect:
This creepy movie predicts the reality craze, pays homage to those crazed Italian horror films of yesteryear and was a complete surprise when I first saw it on a whim. The gore is really, really good, and although the story is extremely convoluted and a bit of let down at the end, as a whole, very few movies of the 90s could touch this oddball and eerie little film.
A bunch of creative-types agree to live together in a house and have their every move and confession recorded–on VHS, even!–only they soon discover that they're trapped amongst some deadly booby-traps. And they're not alone. If the "Big Brother" angle sounds familiar and worn-out, bear in mind that Kolobos came along in 1999, when the idea was fresh. In fact, along with The Blair Witch Project, it's a standout from that year; both films are strikingly original when you consider that '99 also saw the release of tepid sequels such as Warlock III, Children of the Corn 666, and Witchcraft Part fucking X.

The performances sure ain't great. If anything, the acting tends to be the "scream every line" variety, and at least half of the characters are annoying. If you think too hard about the plot when it's all over, it'll come apart completely. To me, movies like this are akin to those Magic Eye books that were so popular once upon a time: to get 'em to work, you have to use your eyes in a different way. You have to sort of cross them and look for something while not actually looking at anything. Then suddenly, an image that's all nonsense will transform into, I don't know, a fucking cactus or something. But if you let your brain say "this isn't how my eyes are supposed to work!" and you focus, you'll lose the cactus. So, Kolobos: don't focus on the plot. Don't lose the cactus.

There are nods to Argento and Fulci throughout, as well as some gentle ribbing at horror's expense. There's a cameo by and an homage to Linnea Quigley within, and the gore is pretty gonzo- a few moments certainly had me throwing my hands up and cringing. All in all, this movie is some seriously entertaining shit! I don't know why it seems to be so ignored and un-talked-about. Hey, maybe everyone's been judging it by the cover! I bet there's a lesson in there somewhere.


Eliot Blades said...

I picked this up on DVD when it was reviewed by (I think) Mondo Digital on original release. It was one of the first region 1 DVDs I imported into the UK. At the time it was a real breath of fresh air considering the cack that was being made at the time and stood up against the classics that I was picking up from the first wave of DVD releases from Anchor Bay, etc. (Remember, in the UK, we had been starved of uncut releases of horror films for 15 years at this point).

The film is just a great amount of fun and blows the similarly-themed "My Little Eye"(2001) out of the water.

That cover though... weird. Also - isn't that Sheryl Lee?!

Nathan West said...

I remember seeing this movie on the video store shelves back in the day, and I always passed it up because of that video cover... I too thought it was a giant lizard/fashion model type 90s horror cheese thing.. Interesting to find out that that is NOT what it is. I'm going to check this one out (they got a dvd copy at my local video store), good 90s horror films are hard to come by and seem to be few and far between. Word.

Richard of DM said...

Oh wow! I totally forgot about Kolobos. I rented this back in 2003 or so. I just watched the trailer and can't remember any of it. Time for a rewatch!