I Very Nearly Don't Have Words

Abnormal Attraction

I have a group of people that, every couple of weeks, get together to watch terrible movies. We've seen a number of them in the past (Bubba the Redneck Werewolf was one of those films), and very often the movies aren't winners (we also watched the third Sharktopus, which was so bad I couldn't even find the words to review it). This week the selection was, for whatever reason, Abnormal Attraction. I did not pick this movie.

Abnormal Attraction

I don't actually know the thought process for picking this winner -- I think the group wanted horror-comedy, which did limit just how far afield we could go -- and somehow we settled on this. I don't think we even knew what the film was about, and frankly it took a long while for us to find out just what the film was really trying to say. There's a lot of padding at play in this film just to get to the actual story at the core of the film, and once we finally got there... well... it just wasn't worth it after all.

Abnormal Attraction is broken into three chapters. In the first we're introduced to Dr. Stanley Cole (Bruce Davison), a professor of... something, who goes to an A.A. meeting to help the members there. A.A. in this case isn't for alcohol but, instead, stands for "Abnormal Attraction" (title drop), people who are sexually attracted to monsters. In this world, it should be noted, monsters (vampires, werewolves, cyclopes, witches, bogeyman, and the like) all exist, so obviously there are going to be some people obsessing over them. The first chapter is just listening to these people tell their stories of sexual deviancy while the audience is bored.

The story of the film really picks up with Chapter Two when we cut back to the start of the same day where Professor Nick Lane (Nathan Reid) gets into a fight with his fiancee, Alyssa (Nicole Balsam). It seems that Alyssa wants to spend a quiet night in but, once a month. Nick runs off and won't say to where or why. Alyssa, fed up with this, calls of their marriage and storms off. It seems like Nick is going to chase after her, but then is car breaks down, he's accosted by a weird imp, and then is drugged and knocked out by an abominable snowman. The night is not going well for Nick.

When he wakes up, Nick finds himself a Camp Morningwood, a retreat for monsters where they capture monster-hating humans and give them a taste of their own medicine. They've captured Nick and plan to torture him (sexually), but Nick has a secret of his own: he's a werewolf. Alyssa, too, has her own things going on, like the fact that's she's actually a monster hunter. All of these plots come together (including Dr. Stanley Cole), at the big climax at the camp. Stories connect, plots are resolved, and everyone that matters goes home happy, I guess.

I can't say this movie was good. It's a stretch to say it was even tolerable. The film does itself a disservice early on, with that first chapter that just drags on and on as we listen to characters talk about their sexual history. I think all of it was supposed to be funny, seeing these crazy people talk about the crazy things they've done, but it's largely just tedious and painful. This entire first third of the film could have been excised and the film would have moved along at a much faster clip. But then, if they removed that part of the film the rest of it would have only been about 45 minutes or so.

Certainly the parts with Nick and Alyssa are far more compelling. Both of these people are played by much better actors than are the trash people at the A.A. meeting, and they're given something approximating an actual story. I wouldn't say it's a good story -- two people unwilling to tell each other the truth and then all their lies coming out at a Camp the next morning -- but it's still more interesting than the first act, but a substantial margin. Could just be that the opening act was so bad anything would have been better by comparison, but certainly it does the later sections a lot of favors.

The film is a pretty low-budget affair, mind you (it has production values on par with Bubba), so most of the costumes for the monsters are Halloween store fare. It's surprising, actually, how many named people are in this film -- not only Davison but also Malcom McDowell, Tyler Mane, Michael Buschemi, Rom Jeremy, Gilbert Gottfried. None of them have had big movies in recent memory but they're all capable actors that can sell even the worst material, and this is some pretty wretched material.

Frankly, the movie thinks its much funnier than it really is. It thinks people being sexually attracted to monsters is funny. It's thinks having Frankenstein's Monsters be named "Frank Stein" is funny enough to go on for a solid three minutes about it. It thinks creepy imps are funny. Sometimes it strikes upon the occasional chuckle worthy line, but more often than not it struggles to find humor and only is able to manage crickets. While it's amusing to see decent actors wearing shitty makeup and z-grade costumes, the comedy of it wears thin really quick.

And that, honestly, encapsulates so much of this movie: it tries hard and never really manages to say anything. It can be funny once in a while, it can try to tell a simple story, it can try to be a raunchy comedy, but it never really manages to do any of that. It's a low-grade comedy with little in the way of laughs, and a setup that even the film seems disinterested in. There are worse ways to spend an hour and a half (the aforementioned Sharktopus films, for example), but that list is pretty short.