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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Science Fiction > Action > Monster > Camel Spiders (2011/Anchor Bay Blu-ray)/Zaat (1971/aka Blood Waters Of Dr. Z/Cultura/Film Chest Blu-ray w/DVD)

Camel Spiders (2011/Anchor Bay Blu-ray)/Zaat (1971/aka Blood Waters Of Dr. Z/Cultura/Film Chest Blu-ray w/DVD)


Picture: B-/B- & C+     Sound: B-/C+     Extras: D/C+     Films: D/C



Now for two different kinds of B-movies, one of which is actually worth seeing.



The lame one is the newer one, the Roger Corman produced Camel Spiders (2011) which has a bad opening that wants to rip-off Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers (1997, reviewed elsewhere on this site) then moves on to being a nature attack tale of the most tired and unwatchable kind as the title creatures (ala 1975’s Bug, but badly so) in true Corman tradition.  At this point though, with effects so cheap versus the early decades of Corman, is such dumbness necessary?


C. Thomas Howell and Brian Krause are the only recognizable names, while everything you’ve seen here you’ve seen before.  Arachnophobia was very similar, but at least was fun without being condescending and flat like this is, so skip it unless you have 85 minutes of your live to throw away.  There are no extras.



Much more interesting, even when it is bad is Don Barton’s Zaat (1971/aka Blood Waters Of Dr. Z) in which an ex-Nazi scientist (Marshall Grauer) has a plan to destroy the world by contaminating the water with nuclear poison one body at a time by becoming a giant fish-like killer and hunting down various individuals in the process.  Yes, it is a ridiculous as it sounds, but is ambitious as compared to the above and most B-releases when Bs used to be fun.  The acting here is not great either, but at least this is comparatively ambitious and unintentionally hilarious versus the cynicism of so many of the newer, tired, boring Bs.


The fishman/monster outfit is goofy as expected, technology dated upon arrival and production values limited, yet the reason people still talk about it and it is coming out on Blu-ray of all things is that interesting things happen here.  The film has character.  It is politically incorrect without worries, which should still be the case today, especially in genre works.  New filmmakers could learn more from this than they might think and fans will get some laughs while appreciating that the makers pushed what they had to the limit to make this work.  The result are some interesting moments, nice locales and the capturing of something no one will ever be able to recreate.


Extras include a movie postcard inside the Blu-ray case, while the discs add television spots, outtake footage, radio interview with Wade Popwell (who wore the monster outfit) and E.D. Tucker, Photo Gallery, Before & After Restoration Demo and a feature length audio commentary track.  A limited edition of 1,000 copies is also available from the site for the film at this link with a photo from the commentary recording session:





The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on both Blu-rays have their own problems that stop them from being better performers, but for different reasons.  Spiders is loaded with motion blur, has limits form being a digital shoot and is sometimes sloppy, while Zaat is shot on 35mm film and though restored, the print has some damage that still needs fixed, there are some shots softer than others and we get other minor flaws.  On the other hand, color at its best is easily the better of the two, along with a few depth shots and interesting underwater work.  The anamorphically enhanced DVD version is weaker and cannot capture the Blu-rays better qualities.


The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 on Spiders is the better of the two soundtracks between the two releases, but not by as much as you would think with a very limited soundfield, including recording that can be harsh and the soundfield is choppy too often.  The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on both format versions of Zaat is cleaned up but that cannot hide the age or low budget of the recording.  Yet, it still sounds good for its age and more thought seems to have gone into making it.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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