The Strangeness – USA, 1980

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The Strangeness is a 1980 American horror film directed by David Michael Hillman [now Melanie Ann Phillips] from a screenplay co-written with Chris Huntley (who also acts). It stars Dan Lunham, Terri Berland, Rolf Theison, Keith Hunt and Mark Sawicki.

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Many of underground scenes were shot on a set built in the director’s grandparents’ garage and this semi-amateur feature cost approximately $25,000. Ernest D. Farino provided “additional animation”. Unreleased for five years, it was finally distributed on VHS by Trans World Entertainment in 1985.

A group of explorers surveying an abandoned goldmine are trapped in a cave in, and find themselves at the mercy of a slimy, mysterious creature with a vagina-like head.

IMDb | Official site

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“Sure, it’s cheap and gritty, but also a quite good monster movie with great locations and a very bizarre monster. Shot on weekends and on sparetime during one year, this a movie with a lot of love you actually can see.” Ninja Dixon

“At half its length, this would probably quite entertaining, as it is, it is very very slow and very very uneventful, but not completely without charm. The monster is extremely cute and there are even two or three scenes that are well-made enough to be worth watching.” The Horror!?

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“Long stretches of nothing, extended periods of ennui, with an occasional glimpse of a tentacled creature animated by stop motion. No feeling of menace as the film plods to a routine climax.” John Stanley, Creature Features

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“I was surprised by how the film managed to hold my attention, despite the bland acting on hand and monotonous “dark blue paper mache as cave” settings. Check it out, but don’t pay too much for a copy…” Basement of Ghoulish Decadence

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The Strangeness is a light-weight entertainment and there’s no point trying to say otherwise, but  … for all it’s flaws it’s been made with guts and spirit and determination. From it’s wonderful title to it’s eye-opening, gender-busting monster finale, this precursor to such recent hits as The Descent and The Cave may not win any prizes, but it’s well worth a look if you love the shadowy recesses of the genre.” Stephen Thrower, Nightmare USA: The Untold Story of the Exploitation Independents (FAB Press, 2007)

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“It’s very much from the H.P. Lovecraft school of monsterdom. A Freudian nightmare of tentacles and um… gaping “mouth.” For what was a certainly a very low budget the stop motion effects are very well done. The monster is lit to give us just enough of a glimpse of it. Enough to get a sense of it without lingering too long as to wear out it’s welcome.” Cathode Ray Mission

THE-STRANGENESS

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Image courtesy of TerrorFantastico.com

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