• Triclops



    Released by: Alpha Video
    Released on: May 17th, 2016.
    Director: Brett Piper
    Cast: Erin Waterhouse, Richard Lounello, Ken Van Sant, Matthew Crawley
    Year: 2016
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    The Movie:

    A Polonia Brothers Entertainment production directed by Brett Piper, 2016’s Triclop is a low budget, stop motion animated monster mash done right.

    When the movie begins, Captain Glenn Edwards's plane goes down, crash landing in a strange area referred to as the Amarok Crater. Rather than send in a rescue team, the government instead decides to cover things up leaving hiss fiancée, Samantha (Erin Waterhouse), bound and determined to rescue her husband without their help. She meets a few associates at a local bar (that will look familiar to fans of Piper’s feature Queen Crab) and puts together a team made up of tough guys Tom Edwards (Matthew Crawley), Riley (Richard Lounello) and Carlton Denning (Ken Van Sant) to solve the mystery of Glenn’s disappearance.

    Once they figure out where he probably crashed, they set out on an expedition of their own. But of course, soon after they arrive the team learns the hard way that the effects of a radioactive meteor that once crashed in the area are… dire. It seems as if every animal form, and even some of the plant life, has been altered, mutated even, into giant, killer things – the kind of killer things that tend to like to feast on people! Not only are there giant ants and dangerous dinosaurs but the area is inhabited by a massive, fifty-foot tall three-eyed beast – and he’s got the hots for foxy Samantha, who feels a connection of sorts to the titular Triclops.

    This one has a lot in common with The People That Time Forgot and it hits a lot of the same notes, albeit with ingenuity and creativity standing in for a larger budget and a more recognizable cast. But those assembled to do their thing in front of the camera bring their A-game. Ken Van Sant, who has appeared in well over a dozen Polonia Brothers movies over the last decade and a half, does ‘surly’ well and both Lounello and Crawley play their parts well enough too. Erin Waterhouse is quite good here too, more than just a pretty face. Now none of these guys are working with the sort of material that really asks them to deliver super-dramatic performances, they play to the qualities of the script itself, but they’re all fun to watch. There’s quite obviously a sense of humor behind all of this and the cast know it.

    However, the real start of the show – and this will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Piper’s creature features – are the monster effects. Using a combination of traditional stop motion animation and ‘guy in a suit’ effects work, Triclops has a definite retro feel to it in this regard, and that’s a good thing. Fans of Harryhausen style monster mayhem will appreciate this, as will anyone who just gets a kick out of seeing what can be done without the aid of overdone digital effects work.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen presentation offers good black levels and nice, lifelike color reproduction that does sometimes vary from scene to scene a bit. The shot on digital video movie is nice and clean, though there are occasional compression artifacts. Some light banding and minor shimmer pops up here and there but otherwise, this looks okay, if never mind-blowing. Note that this is an MOD/DVD-R release.

    The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track, the only option, is fine when the levels are in check (there are times where the score is way too loud). Dialogue is generally easy to understand and while there are a couple of spots where the levels jump, these are rare exceptions. Overall the movie sounds pretty good, music is used well even if it is too high in the mix while the sound effects come through with some solid resonance. There are no subtitles or closed captioning options provided.

    The main extra on the disc is a commentary track from Brett Piper who is joined by Erin Waterhouse (who chimes in via telephone), Ken Van Sant and production assistant Anthony Polonia (who sounds an awful lot like his father!). It’s a pretty fun track, lots of great information here about where some of the props came from and how the effects were done. Piper has more to say than the others but everyone has a few decent anecdotes and stories here about what it was like on set, shooting things in ‘Ken’s backyard’ and not ruining the guy’s jeans, how they wound up securing the bar used in the shoot, using the plane featured in the movie and how that worked, the sets, the monsters, the creatures – loads more.

    Aside from that we get an amusing albeit brief blooper reel (check out who is in the monster suit at the end!), static menus and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    Triclops is a lot of fun. Yeah, the film wears its low budget plainly on its sleeve but the stop motion work is seriously cool and the creature design work is pretty impressive. The performances work, the movie is paced really well and if the DVD quality won’t floor you, it’s decent enough. The commentary is pretty great too. Lots of entertainment to be had with this one!