Special Effects

As a classic of the rubber monster genre, Nightbeast was bound to impress in the special effects category. After blowing the entire $30 SFX budget on the crash-landing alien ship (which apparently had special novelty airbags filled entirely with hydrogen gas and lighter fluid), the rest of the movie bombards us with a heady mixture of laZers (with a capital Z), papier-mache body parts which are literally slapped off of people's bodies, and lethal doses of Saturday Night Fever:

The most nauseatingly memorable special effect of all is of course the Nightbeast himself, who looks like the lovechild of the Predator, a jumping spider, a shipping palette of fake novelty vampire fangs, and a particularly lumpy leather beanbag chair. The director must have been mysteriously proud of the Nightbeast make-up, because it spends most of its waking hours mugging for the camera like a starry-eyed twenty-something LA immigrant whose impressive dental hardware at least guarantees that he'll never end up blowing anyone in a back-alley for rent money:

If that thing isn't a -10 special effect, then we don't know what is.


This category could also have been called "Bad Decisions". We don't really know exactly how close to the director's chair the blame for any particular massive fuck-up should go, since we just have the final product to work with, although it's usually pretty easy to spot the pattern when directors end up on our list more than once.

Nightbeast is, of course, chock full of decisions that no sane or competent director who wasn't in a chemically-induced coma would ever let happen within 100 miles of their set. Decisions like shooting outside without checking that the lighting equipment was doing fucking anything, so that the first high-stakes alien showdown takes place in Featureless Void County during a total lunar eclipse. Or filming a strangling/murder by abruptly stopping the music and just showing a bizarre, nearly-still closeup of the murderer's face for about 20 seconds.

The one consistency we've been able to figure out about Don Dohler's directorial style is that he does at least have some attention to detail, because he loves establishing things that are painfully, blatantly obvious. Like the first five minutes of the movie, in which we're treated to a tiny model ship flying through a piss-poor version of outer space before it finally crash lands. Because how else would we know that the weird, futuristic flying thing that crashed and had an alien monster inside of it did, in fact, come from space? We also appreciated the town doctor/coroner wearing a crisp white lab coat out to the backwoods murder scene, although we feel like they missed an opportunity by not giving him a stethoscope around his neck at all times to really establish that he's a doctor.

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