The Gratuitous B-Movie Column 3.24.14 Issue #299: Ice Road Terror (2011)
Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz on 03.24.2014
A look at the 2011 low budget monster movie Ice Road Terror, thoughts on From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, a new B-Movie Babe is named, a new Douchebag of the Week is crowned, and more!
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #299: Ice Road Terror (2011)
Monster March: Week 4
Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that has no idea what you're talking about, Fred, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number two hundred and ninety-nine, Monster March continues with a look at the low budget monster movie from 2011, Ice Road Terror.
Ice Road Terror (2011)
Ice Road Terror, directed by Terry Ingram, isn't a movie about ice road truckers in Alaska attacked by a dinosaur that, for some odd reason, was living underground for several centuries. Instead, Ice Road Terror is about ice road truckers in Alaska attacked by a giant lizard that, for some odd reason, was living underground for several centuries. The giant lizard, apparently an old Eskimo legend, isn't well known amongst the truckers or the gold miners that unleash the creature, which is kind of odd considering that, in monster movies, someone knows what the hell is going on (and is then ignored because giant underground Eskimo monsters are ridiculous). And when we do meet people who sort of know what the heck the old Eskimo monster legend is all about it's a little too late for that knowledge to matter. The movie probably should have just had the big lizard as some completely unknown quantity that shows up out of the blue. That would have made more sense.
The movie stars Ty Olsson as Jack Simmons, a quiet badass loner ice road trucker who enjoys his job hauling stuff to various remote places in Alaska. Simmons is well respected by his ice road trucking peers, even the sort of douchey Neil (Dylan Neal), who competes every season with Simmons for most miles driven (there's a cheesy trophy for the winner). At the end of the season Simmons and Neil are tasked with hauling two loads of explosives to a big diamond mine. Neither driver is all that interested in making the run, but with the end of the season trophy at stake and a big payday at the end (Simmons and Neil are going to get triple pay for this run) they both figure they have nothing major to lose. On top of that, Rachel Harris (Brea Grant), an Environmental Protection Agency inspector, needs to hitch a ride to the diamond mine. Since both Simmons and Neil are unencumbered when it comes to females they're both sort of excited about the possibility of taking Harris to the mine. Neil makes the first move, but, because he's a bit of a mouthy, sarcastic, off-putting douchebag Harris eventually decides to ride with Simmons. Harris figures it's a better move going with Simmons; he's the strong, silent type. He doesn't seem to be interested in being a total ass.
So while all of that is going on, the diamond mine in question, the "Arctic Diamond Mine" is under attack by a giant lizard that shows up after several routine explosions. The mine work leader, Karl Kruger (Malcolm Stewart), has absolutely no interest in helping out his workers survive. As soon as the CGI creature shows up it's every man for himself. The monster eats several people, rips several people apart, and just terrorizes the area. Kruger eventually finds a place to hide where he then watches his remaining employees get slaughtered. The man is a gutless coward and you can't wait until the monster gets him. You know the monster is eventually going to get him.
So then Simmons, Rachel, and Neil arrive at the mine and find it deserted. Finding that odd, the truckers drive further into the mine area to find out what the heck is going on. It doesn't take long for the group to find several bloody limbs and chewed up dead bodies and then completely freak out. Kruger appears at this point and tries to steal Simmons' truck (what a turd). The monster also reveals itself to the group at this point, too, and the movie switches into full on chase mode. Simmons, Rachel, Neil, and Kruger escape the mine and the creature follows.
So then some stuff happens, Kruger gets destroyed (ha), the trucks explode, and Simmons, Rachel, and Neil find refuge with the Lowmans (Terry and Beryl Lowman, as played by Michael Hogan and Merrilyn Gann). The Lowmans are sort of old school Alaskans who have been living in the Alaskan wilderness for decades, acting as a sort of rest area for ice road truckers who need to make a stop (Simmons says the Lowmans have the best coffee in the area, mostly because the Lowmans are the only place in the area with coffee). The Lowmans are skeptical at first about the giant lizard attack, but once they both see the monster for themselves (Beryl knows that the creature is the old Eskimo legend) they help Simmons, Rachel, and Neil board up the house and come up with an escape plan. They have to get away from the monster. They have to.
The last quarter of the movie plays out pretty much like you would expect it to. The monster is eventually defeated and more people die. As I said earlier, the movie doesn't really dwell on the whole "old Alaskan legend" thing, which is a big mistake. If you're going to put the legend in there it should matter to the story. I mean, why is the monster a giant lizard that looks like a giant lizard? Why isn't it covered in spikes? Why doesn't it shoot out poison phlegm? And why aren't there more of them? How the heck did one monster live underground for centuries? Does it reproduce asexually? Just because you're a low budget TV monster movie doesn't mean you're exempt from at least trying to explain this stuff.
The special effects are decent. The monster is obviously a CGI creation but because its nastiness is relentless the fake looking moments don't really register, And the blood and gore is surprisingly good. When people get chewed up and eaten they get chewed up and eaten. There are also several wonderful scenes of the aftermath of people who have been disemboweled. When was the last time a TV movie showed that?
The performances are all excellent. Ty Olsson is superb as Jack Simmons. He's the kind of hero that you don't see much anymore; quiet, unassuming, but a total badass when confronted with danger. I wouldn't call him "old fashioned," though. He just doesn't give off that vibe. Dylan Neal, as Neil, is the exact opposite attitude wise. The guy is just a total douchebag. However, on some level, he's a loveable douchebag and you end up liking him anyway. Neil is also a badass when it comes to confronting danger.
Brea Grant, as the EPA inspector Rachel Harris, is a smart, tough woman who finds herself stuck in the middle of an incredibly weird situation. It's fun watching her team up with the guys and figure things out. And Malcolm Stewart is one of the biggest douchebags of the decade as the gutless coward Karl Kruger. I mean, I don't blame him for freaking out about the monster and running away like a total wimp, but it's still pretty awful to watch. Good job, though.
And both Michael Hogan and Merrilyn Gann are great as the Lowmans. The movie could have used at least two more scenes with them, perhaps at the beginning of the movie. They make for a great couple and it would have been a hoot to see them as themselves on a regular day before the monster menace shows up. Prequel?
Ice Road Terror is a nifty low budget monster movie that's worth checking out. It feels incomplete in terms of the monster's background, but it delivers on overall monster movie thrills and in its performances. Sometimes that's all you need to make a worthwhile monster movie.
See Ice Road Terror. See it, see it, see it.
So what do we have here?
Dead bodies: Around 20.
Explosions: Several. Big and small.
Nudity?: None. It's a TV movie.
Doobage: A big rig driving over ice, coffee spilling, multiple explosions, a giant hole in the ground, a giant monster that comes out of the giant hole in the ground, bloody chunks of human flesh everywhere, a severed leg, gory human guts on the ground, douchebaggery, several instances of blood spray, man ripped in half, metal tower knocked over, truck loading, engine talk, off screen satellite TV, tire chains, lots of CB talk, attempted wound fixing, slushy ice, unsecured explosives, a massive ice road pot hole, coffee talk, multiple human carcasses on the ground, a severed head, monster heat vision, attempted truck theft, dead body smashing, a fire, attempted jack knife, multiple truck stunts, douchebag eating, a floating hat, truck eating, frostbite, walking in the cold, a sliding glass door, a lame ass gun, house fortifying, a coffee break, Molotov cocktails, a home made flamethrower, attempted heat diversion, man eating, attempted generator weapon, electrocution, monster tail through the back and out through the chest, eye stabbing, a gas pump flamethrower, exploding gas pump, and a helicopter.
Kim Richards?: None.
Gratuitous: Alaska, ice road trucking, diamond mine, a douchebag boss, giant underground lizard that's also an old Eskimo legend, a cheesy trucking trophy, off screen satellite TV, "suicide jockey" talk, CB talk, a cracked road, coffee, monster heat vision, a floating hat, truck eating, Molotov cocktails, attempted heat diversion, a gas pump flamethrower, and a helicopter.
Best lines: "So, 44, huh?," "Welcome to my world!," "Please, I don't want to die! You're already dead," "Hey, once it's in the trailer it's all dead weight to me," "I got your back," "That's life on the ice road," "What, they don't get their explosives and they just take the day off?," "What the hell was that thing?," "Slow down? Are you crazy?," "Truckers don't abandon truckers!," "Good to see you again, Jack," "You know what they say, old truckers don't die. No, they just get a new Peterbilt," "You're such a Nancy sometimes," "What the hell are you guys doing?," "How big is this thing? Big enough," "My grandfather was right!," "Forget the heart! Aim for the eye!," "I told him not too much gas!," "Jack, this is our home. Let it be out coffin," "It's time to heat things up," and "How about giving a girl a lift? I don't know, it depends on where you're going."
Next week: Monster March concludes with Attack From Beneath (aka Atlantic Rim)!
Next Issue: Issue #300!
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: The Facebook Page!
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And please check out my interview with director Brett A. Hart about the Ain't It Cool internet show and more!
Things to Watch Out For This Week: Part 1
- Welcome to the Jungle: This action comedy, which did receive a small theatrical release not that long ago, features the great Jean Claude Van Damme, which is kind of weird because Van Damme doesn't really do comedy all that often. This looks kind of funny, so, hey, why not give it a shot? Dennis Haysbert, Jonas Blaine hisself, is also in it, so that's a plus, too.
- Crave: Edward Furlong and the great Ron Perlman star in this low budget thriller. I'm going to assume that since Perelman no longer has to hang around Charming, California and ride a motorcycle and whatnot he'll be doing more of this kind of movie. I'm in favor of that. Ron Perlman always makes a movie better.
- Vengeance: This low budget thriller, which was originally titled Pimp Bullies, looks ridiculous. But since when did that stop anyone, especially me, from watching anything? And it must have some merit to it. I mean, Ving Rhames just doesn't act in anything.
- 357: 6 Bullets Marked for Revenge: Fred "The Hammer" Williamson stars in this low budget revenge movie, which looks pretty decent based on the trailer below. And how the heck did the movie get the William Katt to appear, too? The title is a bit too long, but, hey, what the heck? It's Fred "The Hammer" Williamson, man! And check out that scene in the trailer where the guy on the motorcycle bursts into flames. That, my friends, is cool as hell.
- Machine Head: Well, is this a sort of action slasher movie or is it a full on slasher movie with action movie elements? The fine folks at Anchor Bay are releasing it, so based on that fact alone it's worth taking a look at. Anchor Bay always does a good job with its DVD's.
James Rebhorn 1949-2014 RIP
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Theme of the Week
TV Quick Hits
- From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series thoughts: I really didn't have high hopes for this series as I didn't really care for the original movie (it was, at best, okay). And now, after having watched the pilot of the TV show based on the original movie, I can say that the show has potential, but that's about it. Potential.
The pilot is sort of the first ten minutes of the movie stretched out to an hour, with the Gecko brothers getting ample screen time and Earl McGraw, now played by Don Johnson, getting more screen time. McGraw still gets shot in the convenience store and dies and the Gecko brothers get to walk away, all hip and edgy and whatnot. The show should have made McGraw the star of the show, the lead main character and gone on from there.
I mean, at this point, McGraw is the only interesting character on the show (his deputy, Freddie Gonzalez, as played by Jesse Garcia, is a close second). The Gecko brothers, just like in the movie, are two giant prick assholes who have no integrity and are, well, scumbag criminals. They're kind of funny for a little while and it's fun to hear them speak to one another, but why am I going to want to watch them each and every week? I just can't get behind them, at least not yet. Hopefully, the show actually expands on the movie and does "something different" with it.
I mean, how cool would it have been to watch Don Johnson track down the Gecko brothers and then run into vampires and shit? Who wouldn't want to watch a TV show where Don Johnson goes batshit insane on bloodsucking monsters? It seems like a big missed opportunity to me.
However, because I'm a fan of Rodriguez I'm willing to give From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series a shot, just to see where it goes. Will the first season essentially be the movie stretched out to several one hour episodes (is the show getting 13 episodes? 10? Anyone know?)? Will Earl McGraw somehow come back in some capacity? I'm pulling for ya, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series. I really am.
- The El Rey Network in general: I've been aware of the El Rey Network for like three weeks now, and I have to say that what Robert Rodriguez has put together in terms of programming and an overall network theme is pretty goddamn cool. It's the kind of TV network cult movie nerds would create. I mean, when was the last time Sonny Chiba's Street Fighter movies have been on TV?
I love how there's a focus on old school kung fu movies, cult action flicks like Rolling Thunder, and various horror movies (I know that the original Fright Night was on). And it's cool how the network's commercials make a big deal out of showing those movies. Hopefully the network will continue to do that kind of thing. It's also very cool that the movies the channel airs are uncut. There are commercials, yes, but that's a small price to pay to see these kinds of movies on TV. The only thing the channel is missing is Joe Bob Briggs, who would be a perfect permanent host for Friday night's Grindhouse Theater (or do some kind of movie show on Saturday night. I think the world in general would love that. I know I would).
The old TV shows that the network airs, like The X-Files, Starsky and Hutch, and Dark Angel are all cool and fit in with the overall motif of the network. I'm going to assume that the channel will try to acquire other shows, too, both older and newer shows, to go alongside the ongoing From Dusk Till Dawn series and that "CIA bullfighter" thing (I think it's called Matador but I could be wrong about that). And AAA Lucha Libre is supposed to air on the channel at some point this year.
And how cool is this? This coming Saturday El Rey will have Gordon Liu movies on all day. Has any American network ever done that before?
Check out the El Rey Network if you have it on your cable or satellite system. It is worth your time.
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Babe of the Week: Brea Grant
Things to Watch Out For This Week: Part 2
- Odd Thomas: You would think that a movie directed by Stephen Sommers, of The Mummy and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra fame, would have enough clout to get a major release for any movie he directed. But Odd Thomas, based on a novel by Dean Koontz (doesn't that name matter?), got a small theatrical release a few weeks ago and now it's on DVD. That seems like a major letdown for what could be a franchise. I mean, there are several Odd Thomas books, aren't there?
- The Conspiracy: People making a documentary about conspiracies end up uncovering a major conspiracy of their own? Has that ever been done before? The people in the trailer look like actors so, to a certain extent, the premise of the movie is a little hard to take. But then maybe the movie as a whole works somehow. Rentable, just to see if it lives up to its promise.
- Beast of the Bering Sea: A new low budget monster movie coming out during Monster March? How convenient (ha). It looks ridiculous, but then most monster movies do. I still want to see it, though.
- Beneath: Yet another new low budget monster movie during Monster March? Ha. The fine folks at Shout! Factory are releasing it, so right there you know that the DVD is worth buying. I mean, when was the last time Shout! Factory out an inferior product?
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week
This week, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week goes to ultra right wing Christian psychopath Franklin Graham, for saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin is "better on gay rights" than U.S. President Barack Obama. "Better on gay rights?" What the hell does that mean? Essentially, what Graham is so excited about is Russia's recent crackdown on "homosexual propaganda directed towards children," which, in the eyes of the raging homophobe, is the same exact thing as pedophilia. That, of course, is just bullshit, but then, when it comes to raging homophobia the facts don't matter. It's all about "values."
"Values?" It's a good idea to openly discriminate against people, people who haven't done anything wrong? Really? Do you think Reverend Graham will renounce his citizenship and move to Russia? Do you think he'll start walking around with a Russian Federation flag pin on his jacket?
Disgraceful. Shameful, too.
And then there's Douchebag Hall of Famer Bill O'Reilly, for whining about CNN's ongoing coverage of the missing Malaysian Air jet. Bill is upset because CNN, and specifically Anderson Cooper's program, beat Bill's Fox News show in the "news demo" three times last week (people are tuning in in droves to CNN's ongoing coverage of the missing Malaysian jet story). And Bill, who has been the host of the top rated cable news show for over a decade, just can't stand it. And instead of hunkering down and working harder to beat CNN by either jumping on the "missing jet" bandwagon or finding something else interesting to talk about, Bill is flipping out and whining about how CNN is just going for ratings and is somehow "hurting the cable news business" (it's also apparently part of the ongoing liberal media conspiracy to make the American public forget about Benghazi and make Hillary Clinton president in 2016).
Wait a second. CNN is going after ratings? Isn't that what Fox News does all day, every day, every week, every month, year after year?
I love it when Bill is completely unaware of how completely full of shit he really is. It's hilarious.
And finally there's the ultra right wing media machine, for claiming that White House executive pastry chef Bill Yosses was being forced out of his job by First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her ongoing "healthy eating" scheme. The reality, however, is that Yosses, as reported here, is leaving his position at the White House to work on his own "healthy eating initiative" in New York City.
Wow. So Michelle Obama isn't forcing Yosses out because of her ongoing nagfest concerning desserts? How long do you think it will take for the machine to claim that the First Lady somehow brainwashed Yosses and has turned him into some sort of healthy eating foot soldier acolyte zombie? The summer, when Yosses is expected to officially leave and move to NYC to work on this initiative with his husband (does the machine even know about that?)?
NASCAR and Indycar thoughts
With about ten laps to go it looked like the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at California was going to be all about Jimmie Johnson and, maybe, his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon, as they were clearly the two drivers to beat. But then Johnson had tire issues, Gordon fell off the pace for some reason (did he have tire issues, too? I can't remember), and it was suddenly an all new race. And when it was all over, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart, and Kyle Larson were the drivers in the hunt for the win. Kyle Busch eventually won the race with Larson finishing second. Matt Kenseth finished fourth (he was fast all day but I didn't expect to see him in the hunt at the end. I just didn't).
Man, that was probably the best Sprint Cup race I've seen yet at California. I was shocked at how people were able to run high and low all over the track and how relatively easy it was to pass. Did it have something to do with the "old" pavement, or was it all about the new aerodynamic package for 2014? If only sister track Michigan could generate that kind of general excitement.
Jamie McMurray had a good day as he finished in the top ten after starting in the back of the pack. A,J, Allmendinger also had a good day finishing 8th. Where the heck did he come from? And Paul Menard had a good day finishing ninth. Could this be his year? And Danica Patrick had a good day finishing 14th. I mean, yeah, she was never a factor for the win or anything like that but she was fast all day, stayed off the wall, and managed to get a top 15. Small steps, man. Small steps.
Sam Hornish, Jr., who is set to run a few races for Joe Gibbs this season, subbed for the injured Denny Hamlin, who apparently had a bad sinus infection that screwed up his vision. Hornish did a good job with the opportunity finishing 17th. Could he be in line to take over for Hamlin in 2015? Is Hamlin now the Ahmed Johnson of NASCAR (you know, full of potential but constantly injured?).
What the heck is the deal with tires this season? NASCAR claims that there's nothing wrong with the tires provided by Goodyear and that all of the "issues" are the result of tire pressure adjustments made by the teams. Will Texas feature the same kind of thing?
I didn't get to see the Nationwide race, but, based on what I read about it the race was quite good. Kyle Larson won that one, holding off Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch for his first career Nationwide win. Larson has been close in Nationwide several times, so it's cool to see him finally get that first win. Will a win in Sprint Cup happen this year, too? If his finish at California is any indication there's a good chance that Larson could win in Sprint Cup this year. Maybe at Charlotte?
Martinsville is up next for the Sprint Cup Series. The Camping World Truck Series will be back in action, too, at the Virginia half-mile on Saturday for that series' second race of the year. Am I the only who thinks that's ridiculous? Shouldn't the Truck Series have raced like three times already this year? Fox will carry the Sprint Cup race and Fox Sports 1 will carry the Truck race.
Over in Indycar, Ed Carpenter Racing announced that it will field a second car for the Indianapolis 500 this May with J.R. Hildebrand behind the wheel. Hildebrand, who finished second in his first 500 back in 2011, was allegedly in the running for several open seats in the series but for whatever reason he was unable to obtain any of them. I'm going to assume that Hildebrand is bringing a killer 1 race sponsor with him to Carpenter's team as I doubt Carpenter would try to field a second car just to do it. I wouldn't be surprised to see Hildebrand compete in a few races after the 500 if he manages to have a good finish or win. I'm sure Mike Conway would like to have a teammate on the road and street courses.
The series also announced last week (I saw this on Racer Magazine's website) that the three 500 mile oval races (Indy, Pocono, and California) will feature double points. Several people are already bitching about the change (what the heck ever happened to tradition?) but I think giving double points for the big oval races is something worth trying. The points have been close for the last several years with the championship going right down to the last race, but maybe this new plan will make things even closer. That can only help things as far as I'm concerned. If people aren't watching why not try to goose things a little to see if others might be interested?
St. Pete is this Sunday. The race will air on ABC with coverage beginning at 3pm EST. I'll be watching (I'll be flipping back and forth between St. Pete and Martinsville).
Well, I think that'll be about it for this issue. B-movies rule, always remember that.
If there's anything you want to see reviewed here in this column, feel free to offer a comment below or send me an e-mail. I'm always on the lookout for new stuff to watch.
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Ice Road Terror
Ty Olsson- Jack Simmons Brea Grant- Rachel Harris Dylan Neal- Neil Convoy Malcolm Stewart- Karl Kruger Michael Hogan- Terry Lowman Merrilyn Gann- Beryl Lowman David Lyle- Tanner Don Thompson- Dan Sparkman
Directed by Terry Ingram Screenplay by Keith Shaw
Distributed by Vivendi Entertainment and Syfy
Rated R for graphic violence and thematic elements Runtime- 90 minutes