Hi, Burl here to review another of the strange home-made movies I found in a video store bin a decade ago, and am only getting around to watching now! This one is called Attack of the Killer Squirrel, and judging by the cars and clothing, it appears to have been made some time in the middle 1980s, likely somewhere in Ontario! (There's one more of these left to review, it should be said - and that one is probably the strangest of them all! Ha ha!)
This squirrel picture is similar to one of the other tapes I found, Attack of the Flesh Eating Tree!!, in that it depicts the unexpected aggression of a species previously considered harmless, but is different in many other key aspects! For instance, where the tree picture was shot on video, this one is a Super-8 production all the way! The filmmakers are clearly younger as well – of driving age, but only just! And these fellows had a bit more imagination than the tree filmmakers, though they still aren’t examples of protean cinematic genius as far as I can tell!
The picture begins with people being attacked by a renegade squirrel out in the woods! The little rodent manages to decapitate one of its victims, ha ha, so we get to see a mannequin head rolling around the forest floor! The victim, a policeman, collects his head and runs back to civilization, where he pops his head back on, dons an ascot, and teams up with a grizzled, curmudgeonly squirrel hunter named Quint! Ha ha, that’s where Attack of the Killer Squirrel follows the lead of Grizzly, Blades and Tentacles, and many other such univerbal titles, and becomes a rip-off/spoof of Jaws!
After more attacks and much hubbub involving a pair of craven, comic-relief constables, Quint and the policeman – who frequently removes his head or has it knocked off to humourous effect – drive out to an abandoned playground for a final encounter with the voracious little beast! The squirrel can fly at high speeds, so he’s truly a dangerous adversary! After the failure of a bazooka-like “secret weapon,” the pair must improvise a solution! They take a giant slingshot and fire the policeman’s head at the squirrel, and this flattens the rodent so that it may never kill again! The pair walk off into the sunset, exchanging murmured quips!
Ha ha, speaking of murmured quips, the soundtrack to this peculiar movie demands some attention! You’ve probably seen a few Robert Altman pictures and noted his technique of overlapping dialogue in a naturalistic way: Attack of the Killer Squirrel goes him one better by featuring a constant cacophony of utterances, some of which is intelligible and much of which is not! It’s as if you’re attending a cocktail party at which people are only talking about squirrels, but you have some water in your ears so you can’t properly hear what’s being said! Combined with the stutter and grain of Super-8, this bizarre post-dubbing produces an avant-garde, almost hypnotic effect!
It keeps you watching, I’ll say that much for it! It’s another production made by amateurs for fun, so ha ha, it would be unfair to heap a whole bunch of criticism and negative vibes on it! There’s some imagination here (the death of Robert Shaw in Jaws is recreated on a playground slide, for instance, though this Quint doesn't get eaten), some effort put into the trick effects, and some good-natured playfulness; and on top of all this it was actually shot on film, so I’m going to give Attack of the Killer Squirrel two visible squirrel propulsion wires!