If I asked you to think of a fictional movie-title that would be undoubtedly awful, entirely silly and should probably never be made, do you think you could come up with better than The Killer Shrews?
Sometimes I really do wonder how on earth these things get pitched before creation. THis is low budget, but no so low that it didn't have some funding. The conversation must have gone something along the lines of:
Mr Money: So, what is this film you were asking for funding for?
Jay Simms (screenplay): Ah, well. It's going to be an exploration of the dangers of science. We're talking themes of genetic mutation, we're talking science going bad, human achievement getting so far ahead of itself that it puts humanity in danger. We want people to think about science, about whether it's a good thing, about where the limits of 'playing God' lie.
Mr Money: (yawning) yeah, yeah. Ok, same old, same old. Isn't that what every science fiction book and film has tried to do? So what makes you the new HG Wells? What's the actual premise?
JS: Well, let me buy another round first. Whiskey as well? Yep? Good.
[goes to bar]
JS: Where were we?
Mr Money: You're explaining the premise of your story? Where's it set?
JS: Well, we're opting for an island. You know, our heroes are trapped on an island with these beasts. We're going to set it up so that they can't leave: I'm thinking hurricane or tropical storm, that conveniently imprisons these people on the island at exactly the worst moment, when these monsters are at their most dangerous.
Mr Money: You mean like full moon or something? Are we talking werewolf?
JS: Erm.. not exactly. No. We're talking animals that have been made larger and more vicious through scientific experiments. They've escaped from the lab and are roaming the island. So our heroes arrive just as they're running out of food and turning on their creators. More drinks?
Barman! Two pints, two whiskies ... make them doubles!
Mr Money: Go on...
JS: Well we'll obviously go for the trapped-survivor tensions. We've got it mapped out perfectly, pair of scientists - one completely work-obsessed - pretty blonde girl with nasty coward boyfriend and one handsome rogueish seaman. Oh and we'll throw in a black guy and a Mexican as well
Mr Money: They're the expendable characters?
JS: Oh yes, we'll kill them off with little or no time wasted on characters or emotions.
Mr Money: Well, I must say, that all sounds rather good.
JS: Not exactly...
Mr Money: Well come on, tell me, I want to know...
JS: Ah... shrews.
Mr Money: Shrews?
JS: Shrews. Savage, dog sized shrews with massive pointy teeth.
Mr Money: Shrews? I think I'm going to need another drink before I sign that cheque....
And, after that next drink he signed over his cash and so The Killer Shrews was made. Replete with dogs-in-furry-costumes playing the shrews, this is one of the most ridiculous films I've seen. It's not even that bad: well paced and you're guarranteed to be laughing throughout...