Ha ha!

You certainly never know what movie he'll review next!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Burl reviews Attack of the Flesh Eating Tree!! (199?)


Ha ha, it’s Burl here to review an arboreal obscurity made, as near as I can judge (by the clothes, hairstyles and a ham-handed reference to Twin Peaks, ha ha), sometime in the early 1990s! It’s called Attack of the Flesh Eating Tree!!, and yes, those double exclamation points are part of the movie’s official title as it appears in the opening credits!
I found this VHS tape for sale in a video store on Bathurst Street in Toronto at least a decade ago! I bought it and two other similar tapes (which will be reviewed here soon, you can bet!) for a dollar apiece, but never watched them until now! I assumed it was a completely homemade bit of tomfoolery, and as it turns out I wasn’t far wrong!
The movie is set at a lakeside lodge, owned by a couple who are in the midst of some kind of marital discord! It seems the man – a bald, mustachioed nerd who looks like anything but a lothario – had performed an inf*delity, and the lady has photographs of same! The man apologizes and says it’s all over and he never loved that other lady! The wife, probably the most terrible actor in a movie full of them, makes him go sleep on the couch anyway, ha ha! But they have to pretend to be happy over the next couple of days, as the lady is hosting a reunion of some kind!
The next day there are several more ladies at the lodge, along with one fellow who is the b*yfriend of one of them! The main couple needn’t pretend to be happy, because none of the other reunionees is! They all seem to be mean, vaguely brain-damaged people who can only speak in what’s meant to be cuttingly nasty badinage, but comes off as children improvising a fight scene for the school production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf!
Anyway, the flesh-eating tree can’t come along too soon, ha ha, and to the movie’s credit we don’t have to wait too long for an attack! Two of the ladies go off to play shuffleboard in the woods, and the tree eats them up! Ha ha, its bite is every bit as bad as its bark, turns out! Then it chomps a lady on the dock as she prepares to go swimming, and soon after that it knocks her boyfr*end on the head and puts a biting on him too! Then we have many more scenes of the tree munching its way through the cast, until all that’s left are the couple we met at the beginning!
I’m going to go ahead and tell you the ending of the picture in some detail, because the odds of you ever actually seeing it are approximately nil! So here’s the big climax: the tree eats up the lady, but her husband, a most unlikely hero, grabs an axe and chops away at the foliaged fiend! The tree spurts blood and collapses, and the man is able to pull his lady wife out from its maw, and they declare their love for one another! Ha ha, the end!
Well, this has all the professionalism and production values of a movie made over the weekend by a group of people who’ve never held a camera before! You might be asking yourself “Ha ha, how did they pull off the complicated creature effects that would be necessary in a movie about a flesh-eating tree? Well, the short answer is, they didn’t! But the creature is not without charm: it operates an awful lot like the raging carpet creature in that classic of le bad cinema we all know and love, The Creeping Terror! That’s the one where, whenever the monster eats someone, the victim has to actually crawl into the monster’s mouth for the ingestion to be successful, and if the eatee is a lady, her b*m usually gets stuck in the craw for a few moments before the final gulping! Ha ha, same thing here!

The acting is atrocious and the script is worse, and there’s no evidence of any special effort or talent among the filmmakers! But the monster has some appeal, and the location used, which according to the credits was somewhere near Muskoka, Ontario, is quite lovely! There’s a stunning boathouse, and if you’re a boathouse aficionado like ol’ Burl is, you’ll enjoy that! In the end it was clearly just made for fun, so how critically harsh can you be? I give Attack of the Flesh Eating Tree!! one and a half Sony Walkmen!

10 comments:

  1. Burl! Are you Canadian, or were you only visiting Toronto?

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    1. I was just visiting Toronto, but ha ha, I am indeed Canadian!

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  2. I need to see this. Don't suppose you'd lend it out to a fellow Canuck? :)

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    1. Ha ha, you almost certainly won't find it worth the trouble unless the people who made it are your friends! However, if you're determined, I'm sure we can work something out where I make you a copy and we make some kind of trade! I'll include the squirrel one too if you'd like! But it would be on VHS, so caveat comerciante, ha ha!

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  3. Burl, could you please contact me regarding these three tapes?

    My email is benruffett@hotmail.com

    Thanks in advance!

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  4. Hello Burl. I enjoyed your review. FYI, I was the composer/performer for this film. I'm surprised you found this for sale! This is exactly what you think it is: A co-worker of mine at the time and a bunch of his friends filmed this in the early 1990's in Ontario cottage country. I believe it was just an exercise in film writing/producing/shooting/editing for its creator and also done for fun. If you are ever interested in any other details, please contact me through Facebook. Thanks again! Scott MacBride, Saskatoon, SK.

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    1. Ha ha, thanks for getting in touch! I'm glad someone involved in the movie found this review, which is probably as unlikely as me finding the movie in the first place! Looks like it was fun to make!

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  5. Hello Burl,
    David Berube here. I am the creator / original shooter of the movie. My brother in law directed. The project was shot September 27-29, 1991. The video shop that you purchased the movie at was After Dark Video. It was a cool store run by a gentleman named Gerald who took a keen interest in the project and wanted a copy for his store. We left him a copy and once the store was closing...well...you know the rest of that tale. The film was shot in a weekend and the Actors?! were just friends who wanted to take part. The male lead was and is an actor in the film and television industry. We all had a blast and basically forgot about the film for years until my attention was called to your article by my son. The film is also mentioned in the History of Canadian Horror cinema by Caelum Vatnsdal. That itself blew all of our minds and we all appreciate the review you wrote as well. We got quite a kick out of it. 2016 brings the 25th Anniversary of the film and we will be doing a full DVD release and screening party in September of next year. If you are interested at all please leave a note. Thanks again for your review. Cheers David

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    1. Ha ha, hi David! I'm glad you enjoyed the review, and thanks for getting in touch! I'm certainly glad I managed to find your tree picture in that video store, because I've always been interested in hyper-obscure genre pictures like that! Ha ha, I've made a couple of them myself! Good for you for making the movie and for getting it out there, even if unwittingly! Please keep in touch about your 25th anniversary celebrations - I'd certainly be interested in hearing how they shape up, particularly the DVD! Thanks, and all the very best, Burl!

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    2. Hey uncle Dave. It was me that found this review and told you about it. Lol....

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