Okay kids I am back with a series that frankly is a doozy. So strap yourselves down, put in your mouth guard and going out swinging. This is Critters Collection.
Spoilers can save your sanity…
New Line Cinema attempting to branch out Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Ator films with Miles O’ Keefe and Son Chiba’s Street Fighter series. Wes Craven’s pet project, A Nightmare on Elm Street truly breathed life into the company and offered with a series of creature features. Of these modern day monster films, the Critters franchise is born. In 1986, Critters was released just after the success rate of Joe Dante’s Gremlins and has been a long standing of dispute on cashing in on its popularity but this reviewer says nay nay. The focus of the movie is around the creatures themselves, the Crites or Critters if you will. These carnivorous aliens from outer space resembling hedgehogs with more teeth than the entire Osmond family spread like a plague from planet to planet eating whatever they can. They live to simply eat, breed and the cycle repeats. LAND SHARKS!!!!
The standard storyline is the aliens attack a small town in Grover’s Bend Kansas thrashing a farm and of all things they attack Billy Zane (Back To The Future 1, 2 and 3, Demon Knight, The Phantom, Titanic) A duo of these faceless bounty hunters Ug and Lee and yes I did not make those names up have a chameleonic head allowing them to blend into whatever society they are hunting in. Not to mention enough firepower to take on the Bolivian Army. A family of four fends off the Crites with fire axes, ball bats and of course the old fashioned double barrel boomstick. We even have a bumbling sheriff and town rummy. Town rummy Charlie (Don Keith Opper of Android, City Limits, Critters, Critters 2, Critters 3, Critters 4 and Infection) takes off with the two hunters. All is said and done from the first film but apparently these space mammals lay eggs. (Suck it Darwin!)
These eggs of course make our way to Critters 2: The Main Course. Our bounty hunters are off world popping a giant worm creature when they are given a contract that Crites are still on Earth. Hunter Lee has more face shifting issues and he hasn’t settled on one. Ug (Terrance Mann of Critters, Critters 3, Critters 4 and The Dresden Files) seems content to using a popular rock star’s visage. Lee is ambushed by Crites and killed. Ug and Charlie rally together and throw down with said Crites blowing the lot of them off with their ship. But…did we get every egg again? Wah wah waaaaaah. Off to Topeka Kansas to create Critters 3: You Are What They Eat starring Don Opper and Terrance Mann of the previous films as well as Leonardo DiCaprio’s first movie. A down trodden building owned by a heartless landlord is under siege by Crites so clearly that is a pest issue. Charlie (Don Opper) tracks and takes out the Crites but Ug (Terrance Mann) is again nowhere to be found until a holographic message sputters out of a wrist unit and Ug explains Crites are now on the endangered species list. Charlie drops the last remaining Crite eggs into stasis but fell into the pod that was to carry it to this Shadow Consul.
Now this sad bit of sputum was actually an extended film and not intended to be a continuous beyond this film but New Line Cinema said we will shoot 3 and 4 back to back. Critters 4: They're Invading Your Space Charlie places the Crite eggs in a stasis unit only to goof up yet again and get trapped into the pod only to have slept for 200 years and rescued by a salvage ship. Yeah cue James Horner music, some pulse rifles and a kick ass Sgt Apone. The crew decides to claim salvage rights on the pod and receive an update from the Shadow Consul and demand the pod, offer an obscene reward and set coordinates to arrange a meeting. The space station was in shambles and the Crites are loose, eating and breeding. Charlie is brought to consciousness and up to speed on the Crites so he springs into action, if action was constituted for bumbling and inept. With a gun fight with the descendant of Ug and his white clad storm troopers, the Crites eat most of them and the surviving crew blow up the station and flee to safety.
What is the point you may ask? Well ambition versus common sense is what occurred. As this is the way of many storytellings, lack of continuity, re-writes and schedule conflicts can create a jumbled mess and while this is not what I would consider viable entertainment but it is an aspect of my childhood. Well okay the first one is. The other three are ideal from extremely dumb movie night...