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By Daniel Bernardi | June 30, 2005

In a half serious, cross-bred spoof of the recent string of deserted highway stalker movies (which is fast becoming a genre of its own) such as “Jeepers Creepers” (2001) and “Black Cadillac” (2003) with touches of backwards redneck country in the vein of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” series, Monster Man makes a decent attempt to take both of these concepts and add hefty strokes of camp all the way through. The suspense is there but not at the forefront like in other highway stalker films, this little gem has a gore and comedy first policy, plot twists come last.

Adam (Eric Jungmann) is taking a long drive cross-country to confess to his long time crush how he really feels about her before she gets married. Hiding in the backseat of the car is his somewhat obnoxiously haughty pal Harley (Justin Urich) and much to Adam’s chagrin, ends up taking his friend with him on a drive that was only meant for him. Along the way there are barrages of slurs mostly aimed at Adam, him being the geeky virgin and all. The two of them mostly bicker and Harley constantly tries condescending Adam in front of people to make himself look better. Along the way the two guys find themselves in front of a maniacal monster truck on the desolate highway. After an intense chase, the monster truck soon passes them and they think they are in the clear. We know better than that, don’t we guys?

“Monster Man” is the kind of film that a horror fan would write while making his first screenplay attempt, which is not to say that it is bad because it isn’t. The film never takes itself too seriously and eliminates procedural plot complications and just throws in shear entertainment value without the bother of trying enjoy the carnage while trying to figure out sub plots which may or may not be present. What director Michael Davis has done is combine his common style of film that he gave us with “100 Girls” (2000) and “Girl Fever” (2002) with campy horror.

The best performance and scene in the film, is the take-off of the standard ‘deputy’ character that is found in most highway stalker films when the troubled victims try to report the crimes to which they have bared witness to, their claims only to be dismissed immediately. Bobby Ray Shafer (Psycho Cop) plays Deputy Dang which is such a perfectly timed, funny performance. Every time he speaks, the word “dang” finds it way into most of his sentences, such as “we can’t find a dang thing, let alone some dead man flattened like the coyote in some dang Road Runner cartoon!” Shafer is only in the film for a minute or two, but clearly he is the veteran actor in the cast and it shows in his solid stereotypical characterization of southern deputies. Now Shafer has officially played every type of movie cop there is.

The gore in the film is extreme, but not likely to disgust even the most conservative of viewers as it is not in a serious context. Then again if you are a conservative then you should click when you read the title Monster Man and know to take caution.

The DVD contains plenty of extras that will provide additional viewing time after watching the film, with a humorous commentary with Michael Davis and the two leads Eric Jungmann and Justin Urich, a gag reel and an animated short film which shows the monster truck in storyboard animation which was drawn by the director prior to making the film.

“Monster Man” doesn’t disguise itself as anything other than what it is – a low-budget horror comedy! Overall it is entertaining but far from perfect within the limitations of its genre.

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