This homage to the old DC horror magazines has an interesting premise that is, unfortunately, wasted on a lackluster plot with some truly lousy acting.
Nonetheless, we still enjoyed discussing this Charles Band production, directed by Roger Corman’s long-time special effects wizard, John Carl Buechler. A comic book artists brings a creature to life through her drawings that feeds off of…creativity. Big thanks to Jennifer for requesting this one!
Cellar Dweller (1988)
Episode 265, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw
Todd: Hello and welcome to another episode of Two Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd
Craig: and I’m Craig
Todd: This week, we again go to our request bin and randomly pulled out a request from Jennifer for Cellar Dweller. Jennifer, thank you so much for this request. I think has been a while since you requested this so happy to get to it and you know, this is a movie I’d never even heard of before actually.
Um, probably because it’s one of, I don’t know, like a million. Charles band produced horror films. I feel like you could just to have a podcast on this guy’s output alone and it would keep you busy. Oh, for, for forever, pretty much. And they’re kind of recognized sizable too. And to be honest, I mean, uh, they, they all have a similar production value, similar sort of standard and quality for special effects and often use many of the same actors, uh, bouncing around there.
So, um, yeah, cellar dweller. I hadn’t heard of it before. This was my first time seeing it. How about you?
Craig: My first time seeing it. I don’t recall. I mean, it’s a very catchy title, but I don’t, uh, recall ever having heard of it. And nothing was familiar. Um, aside from a couple of the actors, uh, a few of the actors actually.
But no nothing was familiar. And honestly, I was not looking forward to watching this. mark text con our text conversation for this week. When something like this text, you texted me. Okay, should we do Movie A or Cellar Dweller? And I said, well, I watched the first 10 minutes of a movie. So bad. I turned it off, but I’m not really interested in Cellar Dweller either.
And you wrote back. Okay. So Celler Dweller.
Todd: it’s like, I guess in retrospect it sounds a little like a parent giving options to his child. Right? Do you want them, do you want the broccoli or the green beans? I don’t want either. All right. You’re getting broccoli.
Craig: So I wasn’t looking forward to it, but I try not to read spoilers usually in advance, but I do a little bit of research beforehand to see, you know, when it was made, what it’s rated, how long it is, who’s in it, who the director is, who wrote it, that kind of stuff. The director, I didn’t recognize. But then when I went back through his films and he has worked, I think more in.
Special effects, I think. Yes, but he has directed a handful of movies. And one of those is troll, which I love. I love that movie and kind of just looking at images of the monster from this movie, I’m like, okay, See how this, maybe it’s going to be like troll and that’s fun. And it was written, he wrote it under a pseudonym, but it was written by Don Manzini and I liked Don Manzini too.
You know, he, uh, is the guy behind all the Chucky movies. However, many of those movies there are now six or seven, and now there’s going to be a television series with, you know, all Don Nancy and he’s behind it. And the, you know, the actors from the franchisor. On board. And so I liked on me and seen him like, okay, This is going to be all right.
And it’s only an hour and 18 minutes long.
Todd: I thought that was pretty much how I sold it to you. In the beginning, I said, it’s only an hour 18.
Craig: I went into it thinking, all right, this could be okay. And then I started watching it. And the opening scene has Jeffrey Combs in it. Jeffrey Combs is the guy from ReAnimator very recognizable face. I’m like, all right.
Okay. On board. But, uh, I have to say that ultimately, this is one of the worst movies I’ve seen, ever see.
Todd: I would say that after all we’ve been through it, it’s horrible.
Craig: What’s the, the thing that’s the worst about it is the acting, the acting in this movie is some of the worst acting that I’ve ever, ever seen.
Oh, it’s so
Todd: bad. The worst. Oh, come on the worst than which trap and which board?
Craig: Yes. Maybe not. Which trap? Maybe not. Which
Todd: trap God. Oh God, no, not worse than which trap. That’s that’s my gold standard comparable. I didn’t actually think. That bad. I mean, I thought it was, oh my God,
Craig: Todd. It was terrible. The main girl was
Yeah. But it’s kind of on par for these movies. I mean, I, you know, you, you don’t expect a level acting in most of these films and compare maybe just cause I’ve seen which, which trap, which trap is. Unbelievably bad. Let’s like, I don’t want to insult community theater because you and I are both quite heavily involved in the community theater, but that, which trap was like theater acting if I’d ever seen it.
And so I think pretty much any movie that’s even notches above it, I’m like, okay, I’ll give it up. Oh, my God.
Craig: Yeah. Except like one, one of the women in the movies getting killed by this big monster. And she’s just running around her room, like very nonchalantly. And like this thing is chasing her and she goes, oh my God.
Oh dear. Like who says that? So maybe, maybe some of it’s the writing
Todd: too real emotion in this at all right. You don’t ever get a sense that people are ever actually reacting. Convincingly to anything that’s going on around them. You know, I do, I will grant you that like the whole movie is just sort of like it, it’s so simple.
It’s like a simple. Kind of enterprise and it’s short and there’s not much substance there. It’s a cool concept. I think, I mean, I got really on board with the concept from the beginning, just because it tapped into some of my loves, I mean, the opening scene, like you said, with Jeffrey Combs in it. Is a, is a guy who’s drawing a comic and it takes place 30 years ago, 1985.
So that would be 1955. And at this time in history, if you’re a comic book fan, you may know was the time that horror comics were big and booming and none other than William Gaines, the who have, um, behind. A mad magazine, mad magazine. Got it started around this time too. As a comic book published by the same company, ISI comics, entertaining comics.
They put out Tales From the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, The Haunt of Fear, Crime SuspensStories, and all of these Twilight Zone-type comic books that caused a huge stir and riled up parents and were the subject of the, they had to go in front of Congress and talk about how their comics weren’t causing juvenile delinquency.
There was a, there was a book that came out by a psychologist called seduction of the innocent, and anyway, it kind of forced these comic books off the shelf. Mad magazine did end up surviving and ended up becoming their mainstay in bread and butter and kept them going. The thing is like they were great.
These comics, every single one of them had kind of a twist ending to them. And then of course, you know, Twilight zone came shortly thereafter around the same time tales from the crypt TV series is. And so everybody kind of knows what we’re talking about here, but if you’ve never gone back and. Seeing these comic books and I was obsessed with the reprints.
I think it was in the early nineties, late eighties, maybe, um, a company got ahold of, of all the original artwork and he should reprints of these. So I own so many of them and I go back to them a lot. They’re great artists or artists in here just drawing. Excellent, excellent art. And that’s what this guy’s doing.
He is drawing a horse. In fact, uh, it’s taken from ISI comics directly. The comic he’s drawing is called cellar dweller. It’s the same style. It’s the same, what the covers all looked like. And even in the corner is a little badge. It says east. So, um, I was like, oh, this is awesome. Yeah. And you very quickly understand he’s drawing this comic and as he’s drawing it, he’s referring to this book.
That’s obviously. You know, it’s your standard Necronomicon-type book, ancient book, bounded, leather with strange incantations in it. And he’s using it for inspiration to draw this comic, which is awesome. Kind of demon looking hairy werewolf type figure with a pentagram on his chest, attacking a woman.
Who’s got hat. Most of her clothes ripped off. And as he’s doing this, you see flashes of some of the stuff he’s drawing, actually being there in real life or in our case, we kind of realized that appearing in real life. And so the conceit is that he brings this a monster, this creature to life through his artwork, through his comic book because of.
Curse or whatever that this book, you know, has kind of brought, brought to it. So the things he draws become real. We
Craig: write like he, uh, he draws it and then he like, you know, references this satanic book with the pentagram on the front. And he, like, he opens the book to try to find the dialogue or whatever the.
Word bubble is going to be above the monster or whatever. And he opens it this book, this particular page, and he reads one page and it was it’s something like evil can only exist when man allows it to or something like that. And then on the other page, it says.
Basically the premise is that by giving this demon or whatever it is, Part werewolf part vampire part beast, part ghosts. That’s the crazy thing is everything, everything right? Bye. It form even a two dimensional form. He wills it into existence and that’s exactly what happens. Like the exact scene that he’s drawn of this woman being attacked, manifests directly behind him.
But this is another thing these, you know, I understand that these movies aren’t going for intellectual stuff. I get that. And honestly, I love those comics too. I was a huge fan of tales from the crypt, the HBO series when I was a kid. And I think that this movie would have made an excellent half-hour episode of that show.
Yes, those episodes to be over the top and campy and silly and fun. And I think that if this were condensed into 30 minutes, And you knew that’s what you were getting into. It would be a lot more fun. I think this has just drawn out a little bit. The other thing. What’s hilarious to me is there’s this, you know, satanic book, you know, it’s this great, big, huge leather bound book, but every time anybody opens it, which happens three or four times, they opened to the exact same page and read the exact same words over and over and over again.
Like there are really only two pages.
Todd: It’s more, the bookmark is come on most interesting page. So it’s the only one worth reading. The other stuff is just, you know, recipes for casseroles and stuff. But yeah, you’re right. It’s, it’s hilarious. I mean, there’s a ton of hilarious stuff like this in the movie.
And one thing I want the issue I have with the movie, and by the way, I was prepared to come into this discussion saying exactly what you did as a 31. Tales from the crypt episode, this would have been par for the course as a, at one hour and 18 minutes. It’s it’s, it’s already stretching it beyond that simple premise.
It doesn’t really have anywhere interesting to go. Right. And so that’s the problem, right? Special twist. There’s no, whatever you see what’s happening right in the beginning. And it happens. And it just happens over and over again until the main characters finally find a way to confront it. And a part of it, I think, is the writing the fact that there is no build.
There is nowhere for everybody to go or anything interesting happening, but then. Causes, perhaps the writing the acting to be rather flat because they’ve got nothing really to react to. It’s a very plotty movie. And so, yeah, it’s just, you watch a series of events unfold exactly how you expect them to unfold.
They’re all pretty much the same. Yeah. This guy, you know, eventually, um, his way of destroying the beast is to burn the pages. That was actually really cool. That he’s got these pages in his hand, he likes them on fire and the beast starts to flame up and he stands there. And then he just kind of lowers the pages onto where he’s also had some.
Other pages. And then, um, something spilled like paint thinner or whatever turpentine spilled across the floor and that lights up. And he seems almost nonplus just at the fact that also his entire place is burning up around him. Like there’s no urgency for him to spring up and get the hell out of there.
He just kinda like stares at the floor and the fire around him, the way he was staring at the monster burning up in front of him, you know, and it consumes
Craig: right. And that, you know, that’s, that’s the setup. And then it jumps to 30 years later, after a very long, very low rate, uh, credits over something. Some comic sells.
I mean the comic cells themselves are fine. You know, that’s like, It looks like, you know, I made it on by like 1989. Yeah. Horrible. But another funny thing to me was like, it’s an Inferno. Like he and the, and the beast both die. Inferno and like that’s the pledge. And like actually what the legend ends up being is that he, the artist went mad and cause they found his body in this woman’s body, the woman that had been killed by the monster, um, they find him in the woman’s body.
So they think that he went mad and that he killed her. Which of course we don’t know, but, um, Later on, not much later on characters, go down into the basement. I think burned up burned.
Todd: It’s hilarious. It was a mystical fire,
Craig: a mystical fire or everything in that basement was made of like as Bestos or something.
Todd: Oh, maybe that’s why they’re forbidden from going down. Yeah. Yeah, maybe it’s more about as best as a basement, any curse.
Craig: Okay. So our main character is Whitney, uh, played by Debra Ferrand, Tino.
I didn’t look her up. Was she in anything notable? She
Todd: looked familiar. She’s in a lot of television actually.
Craig: Yeah, very pretty. She’s got big eighties hair and parts of the movie, but, um, but like your mom’s big eighties hair,
not like Linnea Quigley, big eighties here. Yeah. What’d he say about my mom? Huh? My, well, I find mine. Big eighties hair. And you know, of course you’ve got the concede of the taxi driver, like warning her, like, oh, there’s been lots of stories about this place, murders and weirdos and blah, blah, blah. But you know, she’s not deterred, it’s now the Throckmorton Institute for the arts and it’s like a commune of artists.
And though it was a very clear day on the taxi ride. As soon as she gets out of the car. It’s dark and storming. And she goes inside and meets the, what would you call her? The leader, I guess, of
Todd: this place is apparently a board of directors, which we never see, but, uh, she would be, I guess, the director of the, of the enterprise.
Beholden to the board,
Craig: right? Mrs. Briggs. And I liked her, but I didn’t look up her picture on IMD. Her IMDP profile is old Hollywood and she’s stunning Lee gorgeous here. She’s an older woman and, and you know, a little like heavier as we all get when we’re
Todd: older. Hilarious Craig. Oh, she’s you Vonda Carlo.
And she was Lily Munster on the Munsters. I
Craig: know I’m saying I looked her up after I, then I was like, oh, okay. I love her.
Todd: I love her. After all
Craig: the monsters, when I was a kid, I thought that was the group. I just thought that was the greatest
Todd: show. And she’s been in a thousand things too, by the way. She has a filmography.
That’s insane. She
Craig: has a very strong presence, even in her later years. And she, she did other stuff in her later years, too. She was in American Gothic, which I’ve actually never seen, but I was always intrigued by the cover. But anyway, she, uh, greets with. It’s apparent from the beginning that she doesn’t like her.
And she’s pretty outwardly insulting and tells her that she thinks that what would need does Whitney is also a comic book, artist, and illustrator Whitney tells her that she’s a huge fan of cellar dweller, and that she wants to make a new comic inspired by it. But, uh, Mrs. Briggs isn’t impressed at all.
And, and she takes her. This was so weird to me. She takes her around the house and she’s like, oh, this door will be of interest to you. This is the door to the seller where your hero, you know, did his work and killed people or whatever. She’s like, but it’s totally off limits. And then, and then this is Briggs walks away and Whitney immediately goes down there.
Todd: Well, she imagines going down there. Yeah.
Craig: But I was really confused cause she goes down there and like everything’s clean and stark white and they’re like marble statues and stuff. And there’s like a woman tied to a table and then there’s like a zombie ax murder. And I was like, what is happening?
Todd: It’s weird.
Right. That didn’t make any sense. That was a total non-sequitur. I mean, it was supposed to be some, I guess, just a vivid mixture of images from, you know, the incident that had happened before. It’s like the same girl with her St where they’re torn off clothes, but then the zombie ax murderer kind of comes from.
Craig: Well, I wondered like he’s dressed like Jeffrey Combs was in the first scene, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Jeffrey Gomez.
Todd: And, and why would he be a zombie ax murderer at this point? But it did get us our quote of at least four boobs within like the first 10 minutes. So I think that was more the purpose
Craig: of that scene.
Terribly stimulating though. I have to say like, uh, Yeah, those are boobs.
Todd: That’s a little budget film. You got to, you get what you pay for.
Craig: It’s true. Then she meet. Okay. So then she continues to follow Mrs. Briggs and they meet, um, some more people who live there. They walk into the kitchen and Lisa played by Miranda Wilson, who all again, did lots and lots of TV.
So days of our lives, I think is where she got her start. Lots of soaps and lots of TV. She’s sprawled out seductively on the kitchen table. And I was like, what? Why? Like sit in a chair that is disgusting. That’s where you eat. Like, cause she, I don’t, she wasn’t like in her underwear, but she was like in a negligee or something.
Todd: She was like mixing something up in a bowl. I don’t know what
Craig: she was doing, like oatmeal or something. She appeared he is a performance artist. And then Phillip is sitting at the table and I kind of maybe got the impression that maybe Lisa was on the table because maybe she was modeling for him, even though Phillip does abstracts.
Now, Phillip is played by Brian Robbins. Who, if you watched any television at all in the eighties, you will completely recognize he was on every 86. Every single one, he was on it,
Todd: guest character who came in and maybe the very special episode, you know, uncle bill who was an alcoholic or something comes in that kind of,
Craig: well, he was like a teenager.
So he was always, you know, the love interest for the teenage girl and like one episode or he would do it three episode arc, but he’s super recognizable. Now. He’s a huge executive, like his resume. Like he, uh, Produced so many things. Um, he’s the president of like children’s entertainment for one of the biggest conglomerates in Hollywood, like hugely, hugely successful at this point, apparently, but he paints abstracts and he’s immediately enamored with Whitney and Mrs.
Briggs shows Whitney to her room, I guess, or her studio or something. And I thought. Just out of the corner of my eye, looked over Whitney’s shoulder and there was the poster for ReAnimator, which I thought was hilarious.
Craig: was, and as it turns out, there’s imagery from several movies. Yeah. Randomly on the wall.
Like I miss it. I didn’t see it, but apparently the troll poster is there somewhere I’m almost positive. I saw the image from the cover art of dolls with the doll, with no eyes like holding your own eyeballs. No. There are several throughout which for a horror fan. Again, if this were an episode of tales from the crypt, it would be a great episode, but it just feels so padded.
Like there, there are too many characters, um, and, and they’re obviously there so that they can be killed later.
Todd: Trying to be really funny because it presents these artists all. So, so you mentioned, um, Philip, you, you mentioned Lisa. I think there’s another guy we’ll meet later called Norman and another woman named Amanda.
And it’s just, it’s making. Artists, you know, Phillip comes in to, while she’s immediately, Whitney’s Amelie, I’ve gotten to work drawing in her studio. And Phillip is immediately in there chatting her up and invites her to come upstairs because they’re going to have a, his gallery critique, which they do every week or something like that.
So they go to critique Phillips art, which looks like it was drawn by a child. It’s like, it’s like painting finger painting stuff. And I mean, I appreciated this comedy aspect of it, of portraying these artists, how. To be honest. We often see these kinds of artists and clave type things where everybody’s, you know, patting each other on the back and doing, trying to out weird each other and got all these kind of quirky personalities.
And, you know, it’s, it’s sort of like a quirkiness one-upmanship, you know, stereotype.
Craig: It’s funny in concept. I just thought it fell super flat.
Todd: It did because they get there and they’re looking at the art and Mrs. Briggs is, says something serious about this silly painting, and then suddenly a guy Springs out and his name is Norman and he’s got a gun and he grabs Lisa.
And to give me that art or I’ll shoot her. And I don’t think I won’t. And, and Whitney’s.
Turns out. This is just Norman. He does this sort of, role-play acting things out because he’s a writer and he’s writing some the next Raymond Chandler inspired kind of gumshoe story. So
Craig: former private investigator. Turned like crime writer, detective story writer. And I guess when, when he gets a writer’s block, he acts out scenes to try to inspire himself and everybody else just goes along with it.
Todd: And it’s so half-baked because this Norman character, I mean, you think, oh, private investigator, is he going to be, you know, Bringing those skills into play in the actual plot of the movie later, he’s typing things up in his little office, which I thought was so good. Oh
Craig: God. Honestly, like an old time-y typewriter and he’s got a bottle of whiskey next to him and he’s smoking a cigar and it’s like, voiceover of just totally that, you know, cheesy.
Crime novel, detective novel narration. That part did make me smile just because it was so stereotypical and so silly and so intentional. And I did think it was funny to look at for a second. Yeah,
Todd: everything’s kind of half-baked right. It’s like, oh, these are kind of funny, cute concepts, but either they’re poorly executed or they just they’re there and then they’re gone.
Because, um, it turns out there’s another woman there named Amanda and she’s doing video projects, video verite type, slice of life type stuff. I guess it’s, that’s really silly, but she meets up with Whitney and they’ve known each other before. Apparently they were freshmen in art school first year art school or whatever.
And Amanda was known for stealing other people’s art and concepts and ideas and stuff and apparent. Did one over on Whitney at some point. So they’re not very friendly to each other from the get go. So there’s that tension, which Norman overhears and he overdosed here’s it. And he’s writing it in his little tech, in his little notebook as he’s kind of creeps around and takes notes on things.
And so I thought, you know, he would be a kind of a pivotal integral S the guy who’s kind of the brains who kind of pops in and tries to figure out the mystery of what’s going on when things are start going on. But he just kind of does a little. And then he dies. So, you know, again, it just, it just feels like not very well fleshed out all of these ideas.
And of course it’s just a hodgepodge, you know, it’s a crazy silly hodgepodge of things that don’t really go anywhere. Interesting. And aren’t even, even that well
Craig: executed. Right, right there it’s th there are no stakes, like it’s just a lineup of goofy characters who, you know, are just being lined up to be killed.
And eventually they are. And not in particularly interesting ways, Whitney dreams of the beast, it’s all just flashback stuff from the first scene that we saw, but she dreams of it. And she wakes up to hear this constant screaming. And she looks around the house, looks towards the seller. The screaming is not coming from there.
Um, she finally goes outside and Lisa is just standing, screaming her head off. And when she hears Whitney behind her, she turns around and she’s like, oh, sorry, did I wake you? Yeah, you did. You were screaming in the middle of the night. Like, what did you think was good? And she’s like, oh, I just do this to release my creative imagery or something like, okay.
In the middle of the night,
Todd: like, oh, and all the others they’re so used to it, they just sleep right through it. Sorry to wake you
Craig: up. So, um, and then they, you know, they have kind of like, uh, uh, we’re friends now talk and they’re weird sounds from the cellar and Lisa jokes that it’s the ghost. Child risks, the comic writer or whatever, but after, you know, Lisa kisses or good night on the cheek or whatever, Whitney goes down into the cellar, um, and gets scared by Phillip and then opens this trunk, which we had actually seen that child Reese’s satanic book had fallen into the trunk and the trunk had fallen shut and all of the commotion before the
Todd: good thing, it didn’t get burned up and that somebody had the foresight to.
I guess after that incident with a potluck,
Craig: it doesn’t even matter because seriously, nothing is burned. Yeah,
Todd: exactly. Even his wooden drawing table is still there with papers
Craig: on it. Yeah. Comic books on the shelves and stuff. Nothing. Nothing is burning. Uh, the satanic book and she’s all excited. And so the next morning she convinces Mrs.
Briggs Slutter work in the cellar, you know, Briggs doesn’t like her anyway, but she’s like, well, you know, if you let nobody else is using the seller, and if you let me go down there, it’ll open up another spot and then you can bring in another real artist. Mrs. Briggs is like, okay, whatever. Um, so then there’s a cleaning montage.
I don’t know that I’ve ever seen it
Todd: before. It was a lame cleaning. Montage consisted entirely. Of hands dusting things.
Craig: Yeah. And my favorite was that it ended on a very lingering shot of presumably Whitney’s hand dusting off this marble statue and lingering over its tiny penis. Like what is,
Todd: what, why? I think they’re just attempts at humor throughout.
Uh, well, but then, you know, after she decides to let her go down there, she has got it in for Whitney for some reason. So she calls an Amanda and says, Amanda, I have a little project for you. And so while Whitney is down there drawing, Amanda is up outside one of the basement windows filming. With her video, obviously
You know, opens the book and decides she’s going to use this book to draw a monster. And a, this book is so great. And, and so I’m going to use it as inspiration to draw, like the best monster in the whole world. Phillip is on board with it and all that she writes, she draws it all down.
Craig: She’s clearly never seen.
You know, people in horror movies have clearly never seen horror movies because, you know, she draws this BS, then she draws a big pentagram on his chest. And then she takes these like runes, like, or some old ancient language that she has no idea what it says and uses that as it’s thought or word bubble.
Um, so, you know, we’ll just, you know, it’s like, You know, group of teenagers or 20 somethings who goes to a cabin in the woods and finds this satanic book and thinks, you know what we act, we should read this aloud. Yeah.
Same day. And so the beast man, The high term, but something that we, uh, didn’t mention before is apparently the, you know, the beast, because I guess it’s part ghost. Uh, it can also just appear and disappear at will. Right? So she doesn’t realize that she’s brought this thing into reality. I
Todd: think the beast appears.
Another kill and then disappears for a lot of boring talking and then reappears for another boring kill. I mean, that’s really how it goes. Unleashing the beast in this instance is more just like unleashing a nuisance. It’s like a cockroach. You can’t get out of your house. Like it it’s quiet for a real long while and then suddenly see it scurry across the floor.
And then it’s gone again for awhile, you know?
Craig: Let’s talk about the beast for a second, because honestly, I, I don’t hate the way it looks when it’s not moving or talking because
in English. Okay. So when it’s not moving or talking, I don’t mind the way it looks. It is very reminiscent of the creature effects.
Todd: Oh, yeah. I mean the same guy worked on, um, the, the director of this movie who, who you mentioned, came up through special effects, but basically Roger, he was Roger Corman’s guy, the head of his special effects division for years.
This was his very first directing project. And he claims he was the first person. To make the jump from special effects to the director’s chair. Uh, I don’t know about that, but that’s what you can see on his IMDP
Craig: page. So it looks okay. It really looks okay. It’s obviously a guy in a suit, which, you know, cool.
That’s fine. I don’t know if it was limitations of the suit, but it barely moves. Like it pretty much just stands there. It has some movement in its face, but not a whole lot. And so it’ll stay in there. It might take a couple of steps towards somebody to kill them. I got, honestly, I barely even remember the way that it kills people.
Like I think it just grabs them and rips them apart.
Todd: It’s a lot of closeup shots is what it is and, and hands when you don’t see the rest of the creature, uh, it, it really is the movie that, you know, it relies on closeups and it’s trying really hard to give you a good, special effects beast. So it lingers on, you know, shots of his face and shuts.
Chomping down on arms and legs and spitting out blood and swallowing eyeballs and things, but it’s still just that one shot, right? You don’t very often get a full body shot of him and you certainly don’t get much
Craig: movement every time. Like he rips the bodies apart and you see kind of very quick close-ups of like limbs being torn apart.
And then afterwards it always eats them. And then like you said, it’s super close up. Of this thing’s mouth all covered in blood, like munching and crunching. And it’s the same every time to the point where I kind of suspect that they just used the same footage for every kill or, or, or, or they shot five minutes of this footage and then just.
Cut it up and used it for every kill because it looks exactly the same.
Todd: Yeah. I think you’re right. Same lighting setup, same, everything, nothing really in the background. It’s just all about the creature and can kind of mostly in, you know, half darkness, you know, it reminded me a little bit, the look of the creature reminded me a little bit of if you took that little goblin then Jeannie or whatever, from sorority babes in the slimeball bowl, aroma, and just made them a little bigger and put a bunch of hair on them.
That’s kind of how he looked and
Craig: moved. I guess let’s see Whitney, uh, confronts Amanda about being Snoopy and, and again, Norman overhears this, so he knows there’s tension between them. And then Amanda sneaks down into the basement, finds a copy of cellar dweller. One of those other horror comics takes it.
And then in Whitney style, Recreates it and signed Whitney’s name to it. And she’s setting her up. She makes this video where she accuses the, apparently she’s going to give to the board of directors or whatever that accuses Whitney of plagiarizing. Um, whatever. I mean, Amanda’s just a bitch. Like that’s the only characteristic that she has.
She’s a conniving bitch. Yeah. Meanwhile, Whitney is down in the cellar and she draw. Amanda being attacked and it happens exactly as she’s drawing it down to environmental changes. Like Whitney draw. Uh, a cell that shows Amanda going to reach for the door, but there’s no door, no door knob. And in, we see in the scene, Amanda reaches for the door and the door knob disappears complete with like a loop sound effects.
Todd: Little animated over it. Yeah.
Craig: Uh, it’s very, very silly. And that’s when she’s getting attacked. Oh my God. Oh dear. And Whitney draws her saying won’t anybody help me. And so she says it pretty much just like that.
It’s all horrible acting. The effects are exactly as we just described. And when Whitney’s done drawing it, the last cell is the monster who says out loud, who’s next. And so we hear the monsters say that.
Todd: Kind of set everything in motion and from here on out the monster pops in and kills people one by one. And at this time it’s like the pages of the comic book manifest themselves. Yes. And so I feel like it again, it’s kind of a cool concept. I liked it. I liked it. Let’s put it that way. And it was interesting then how it allows them to, uh, either be stylistic or save a lot of money, whichever you prefer to choose so that these kill scenes, intersperse bits of the cell that are showing what’s happening or what is about to happen with what, you know, the actual what’s going on.
And I actually thought that was good because some of these would show what was about to happen. And so there was some anticipation there that, that. Was pretty clever. Yes, I agree. And the artworks pretty good too. So that’s the conceit and we just see that happen like three or four more times.
Craig: Norman is like, you know, investigate.
Cause Amanda’s missing. Mrs. Briggs is worried. Nobody else cares. Cause they hate her anyway. But uh, Norman investigates and he thinks that Whitney killed Amanda because for revenge or something, but then he doesn’t get to share that theory with anybody because he immediately. Killed. Yeah. And I don’t, I don’t even remember it.
Todd: he gets into the he’s in his investigation and Amanda’s missing. So he goes into Amanda’s room and he plays that videotape that she made. And there’s a part of the videotape where she’s talking directly into the camera saying, oh, Whitney’s plagiarizing. This is proof, yada, yada, yada, while the monster is rising up behind her and attacks her.
So her attack is caught on camera and that’s what he sees at the same time. The monster is also rising behind him and he turns around and he gets it. So, oh, he gets his head knocked right off. Oh, that’s
Craig: right. That was kind of fun. I forgot
Todd: about, yeah, flies across the room. Way, way. It’s the corner and a couple of walls.
I liked that bit. And then Lisa takes a shower.
Craig: Well, wait. Oh, because I jumped to Norman’s death. I wanted to at least mention performance. Oh, that was one. I want to say unintentional, but I don’t even believe that to be true. I believe that this was. Completely 100% played for comedy. Cause she’s a performance artist.
And so like she has her face made up like Ziggy Stardust kind of, and she’s in a leotard and tights and like maybe like a Tutu or something and she’s dancing around and she just keeps. Yeah, she’s got dolls hung up on the wall that are labeled with the names of the people in the house and a balloon above each dollar.
And she’ll like pop the balloon and take the doll down and dance around it. Death is sad and then she’ll roll around on the ground and it’s so. Dumb it’s so, so dumb, but that part actually really amused me because I didn’t major, but I studied theater in college and I didn’t take it. But Alan did a, uh, there was a performance art class and they would have a showcase at the end of every semester.
And it would be literally this type of shit.
Todd: This is funny. Cause it’s true. Yeah. This is not a lie.
Craig: Really honest to God stuff. Just like this, like people going around and like blowing out candles or like my. This was one of my friends. I hope she never listens to this. I don’t think that she will, but one of my friends just sat on a couch and ate a bologna sandwich.
Like that was her performance.
Oh boy. So that was fun. Um, but then things like somehow Whitney and at this point, Philip is just kind of her little lap dog, and it’s all very goofy, but, um, she opens the book to the only page that you can open this book to right in the middle of it and reads, um, the same thing that we’ve seen before.
So. Figures out, I guess that the curse is real, pretty
Todd: big leap. Yeah, but she D well, don’t, don’t, don’t they see, she sees, um, papers materialize also
Craig: of Lisa’s death. Right. And, and it’s happening. At the same time, like, like it’s the, the movie is cutting back and forth between Whitney coming to these realizations and seeing it appear on the page and Lisa and we actually see what’s happening to Lisa.
And again, you know, of course, you know, put this young blonde pretty girl in the shower for no reason. And then just have her like, oh no, my towel is missing. So I guess I’m just going to have to run around.
Todd: Are you playing around with me again? I’m coming out
Craig: there so silly and, and they, they know that it’s happening, but they’re too late.
I mean, they, they get to her door as we see her being torn apart. In the exact same way that we’ve seen everybody else. Yeah.
Todd: And so then they kind of like runaway, they seen the monster, it kind of chases them slightly. And then the next shot is they’re sitting in Mrs. Briggs office worried. And they’re like, look, we’re telling you, there’s a monster here.
W w what, what, what happened between suddenly you guys calmly sitting in her office, two doors down from where this woman was brutally slaughtered and you saw this giant
Craig: monster. I feel like they immediately run to the, um, seller again, and Whitney is kind of hysterical, but her acting is so bad. Like it just looks totally fake.
Meanwhile, Phillip is completely unfazed. Like he’s still like cracking jokes. Yeah, exactly. And then Whitney, like, I don’t know where this comes from, but, uh, I guess, because they’re all artists, she deduces. Monster feeds on creative energy. So like quite literally, it’s eating these artists and feeding on their energy.
And they’re looking, they’re looking at the illustrations and the monster, and they’re again, very reminiscent of troll. Like these weird lighting effects that look like they were done in post. Like they’re like illustrated in these green lights. Floating around and the Monster’s hand burst out through the paper and it grabs Phillip and Whitney is knocked to the floor and knocked unconscious, which happens in movies all the time.
I’ve never seen any, I’ve never in my real life, just seen anybody, you know, barely fall down and be completely unconscious, but whatever. Um, but when she wakes up. When, when he wakes up, Phillip has just gone. And so she goes to Mrs. Briggs and Mrs. Briggs is kind of strangely calm about the whole thing too.
Um, and then I don’t even understand what happens here. Like Mrs. Briggs walks behind her, like to get her some tea or something, and she’s like, it’s okay, dear. I’ve been going through some changes too. And when Whitney turns around, Mrs. Briggs is turning into the monster. I was confused. I mean, I think that this was just the way that Mrs.
Briggs dies, I guess like the monster just takes her over, but in the moment I’m like, was she always the
Todd: monster? Oh, interesting. Yeah. I mean, I think the problem is there’s no real rules for this, right? It’s kind of hard. It’s it’s, there’s no real consistency, no pattern to follow the monster just can reappear and manifest itself anywhere it wants, but it chooses.
To wait a while in between each time. So, you know, it just, it,
Craig: yeah. To my favorite part of this movie, the credits, yes. The monster drags Whitney to the basement and pages keep appearing and she’s like, you know, throwing things at it. A good 30 seconds a minute. And eventually she throws a little bottle and it spills on the page and the monster is hurt.
And so she looks to see what it was that she threw and is now running down the page. And it’s fucking white out. That is how you defeat this monster with.
Todd: That was great. So she just grabbed, grabs a big bottle. It just dumps it all over the page and you know, shouldn’t that fix it all. I don’t know. I don’t understand why that didn’t end it. Well, she should just
Craig: be done, but instead she dramatically. Oh, I’m so sorry. Like no tears, like just the fake it. Crying, you can ever imagine.
Meanwhile, the monster is gone, she’s defeated, but the way that, you know, she has an idea, like a light bulb goes on in her head and she draws a page in which. Phillip is the hero and feeds the monster and gets the monster chained up to the wall. She does it and she’s done and she looks at it and she’s waiting for something to happen and nothing happens.
And she’s like, oh, fill up my answer. And she like kisses her fingers and like puts it on his face, on the page. And from behind her, she hears that’s it. I want a real kiss.
here comes Philip, all smiles with the monster, chained up again, behind him behind the wall. And I’m like, you stupid bitch. Like got rid of the monster. And then you immediately brought it back. I
Todd: drew it again, like, couldn’t you just draw Philip leaping out of the page and then we’re done.
Craig: Right. So she draws everybody back.
It’s just a scene. There’s not even any dialogue or anything of just all of these, everybody who’s died, except they’re just sitting on the couch, like having tea, like high tea, like they’re all. I know.
Todd: And then Whitney and Philip peek around the corner, just to see that they’re there and then look at each other and wink and smile, and then go back around the corner.
It looks so goofy. It’s like, oh, we got to get this scene in. They see it. Okay. They go downstairs, but the monster is still there. Right? Yeah. And why doesn’t she just wipe them out again?
Craig: Well, she’s like the way that child wrists defeated him was by burning him up. So that’s what I’m up to. And she tells Philip to grab a waste basket of metal waste basket, and he does, and she crumbles up all the pages and throws them in and starts burning them.
And it works, the monster catches on fire, but then. As we are seeing things burn in the, uh, trashcan, all of a sudden it’s the picture of Philip and it starts to burn and she’s like, oh no. And she, she looks at him and he burst into flames and starts screaming. And then we see all the other people upstairs.
We see their pictures start to burn and they start screaming too. And it almost seemed implied to me that it wasn’t maybe even really them, that she brought back because as they’re burning, they kind of look like the monster or like monster is like the monster. Anyway, it ultimately doesn’t matter because they just all burn up and up is the last one.
To burn up and she turns around and sees on display a big drawing of the beast with the thought bubble over its head that it speaks aloud. I mean, the beast isn’t there anymore, but we hear the voiceover read wherever there is imagination. I will do well. And then the monster is not that, and it attacks Whitney and we just hear her scream.
Todd: Two credits.
Well, I will say that I expect I wasn’t expecting it, but I thought again, the movie is very inconsistent in the way it portrays itself. There’s not a continuity to how all this seems to operate, but, um, when she was throwing all the pages in there and burning them up to kill the monster, I was going through my head, wait a minute.
If that destroys the monster, wouldn’t it also destroy the people. And so when the people got destroyed, I was like, oh wow, that’s actually kind of cool. And then at the end it just ended up hokey. But as a 30 minute, this would be very typical though, for like a tail. So the crypt kind of episode. And so, oh, absolutely.
As you said earlier, if this movie had been 30 minutes instead of an hour and 18, it probably would have gone down better. I mean, still wouldn’t have helped the acting or anything, but the fact that they sorta had to stretch it out, made a lot of it, very nonsensical and forced them to really fill it up with a bunch of skills.
Craig: Yeah. And, and tales, you know, tales from the crypt. You know, of course there are also the movie anthologies based on these comics, um, tales from the dark side creep show. And I really liked those too, but I loved, um, tales from the crypt, especially because it was very tongue in cheek. It, you know, it was constantly winking at you as the.
Um, and I liked that and I think that this would have, you know, I would have enjoyed this as an episode of that show because I would expect this kind of hammy acting in this hammy storytelling. And I don’t even want to say that this movie takes itself too seriously. It doesn’t, it’s just. It it’s just that, uh, it it’s almost like it just tried too hard.
It, it should have been a half hour, you know, they, they could have kept Mrs. Briggs that would have been fine. They could have kept the, they could’ve kept the nemesis, you know, as fodder for the monster, they would’ve kept the, the love interest possibly, but they easily could’ve cut the gum shoe guy. They easily could’ve cut.
Lisa, even though I liked her fine, but she. Unnecessary, trim it down, get it to a nice, solid 30 minutes. Give it this, you know, grim ending, which tales from the crypt always did as far as I can remember. And, uh, I think I would have liked it now as, as bad as I thought it was. I didn’t walk away from it angry.
We have watched some movies that I thought were so bad that I walked away from them piss. Like, I can’t believe I watched that it was horrible. It was a waste of my time. I didn’t walk away from this angry. I just walked away from it thinking it was that. And that being said, I kind of expected that we would have fun talking about it and I did have fun talking about it.
So yeah. Thank you to all of you who send in requests. We’ve been getting a lot of requests lately, and Todd is usually the one who responds to private messages that we get. And, uh, your go-to responses. Thank you so much. Uh, we’ll get it on the requests. And we really do. We keep a request list and, and, but it’s long.
So if you request something, don’t think that we’re ignoring you. It may just take us a while to get there because we’ve had so many requests, but keep them coming because this is the kind of thing we wouldn’t choose. No, we never would have chosen this. I never would have watched this. I thought it was a stupid movie, but it w for the podcast, you know, it’s fun to talk about.
Todd: And I mean, again, I mean, we’ve seen, like you said, much stupider movies and I just kind of shrugged. Again, it was a, it kind of was what it was. We’ve seen movies like this. This is exactly the kind of thing I would have seen on USA up all night, you know, and probably would have felt better with a few commercials, padding it out, honestly, to break up, break it up, come back to it.
Kind of forget how silly the previous scene was. You know? No, I didn’t, I don’t feel, I didn’t react quite as strongly as you, as far as I wouldn’t at all call it the stupidest movie I’ve ever seen or the worst acting I’ve ever seen. I just thought it was a. Kind of mediocre all around. Interesting premise, the premise deserved more, but once again, if you had trimmed, it just, like you said to a 30 minute thing, it would have been even more in spirit in keeping with the spirit in which I believe it was made as an homage to these kinds.
Of, uh, of stories. Yeah. I got a tip, a little bit of my hat to that one as well, because we also see a lot of very uncreative or films to some guys in different locations, you know, hacking people apart, random weirdos or, or random silliness. And this, uh, this, this had a theme that I thought at least had a little bit of heart behind it, even if it wasn’t executed as well.
Uh, so I did, I did. Well, thanks again for listening. As Craig said, if you have a request or you just want to tell us what you thought of this film, please just look us up. Two guys, and a chainsaw podcast. You can just Google that. You’ll find our Facebook page. You’ll find our website and you’ll find our Twitter feed.
Send us a request. We will add it to the list and hopefully get around to it. Soon. If you enjoyed this podcast, please share it with a friend and also check us out on YouTube. If that’s your bag, we have a YouTube channel there as well until next time. I’m Todd, and I’m Craig, with Two Guys and a Chainsaw.
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2 Replies to “Cellar Dweller”
I’m sooo sorry now for recommending this movie. Obviously, it was better seen chopped up and edited for TV broadcast. I hope the resulting discussion took some of the pain from viewing this…movie(?). Thank so much for everything you guys do! You are so wonderful to humor us!
Haha Jennifer, no worries! The discussion was loads of fun. And the movie was entertaining, even if it wasn’t amazing. Thanks again for the request!