How extra-terrestrial crustaceans killed the space program: “Apollo 18”

October 3, 2011

Okay, so Scary Month kicks off with Apollo 18—yeah, I know we could have had stronger starts but this is what I saw. Sue me. Anyway, it’s a “found footage” movie, which, we have to admit, has becomes a genre. There are great FF movies like The Blair Witch Project (yes, it was great if you saw it before the national media over hyped it, and if you didn’t, hey, that’s your problem); there are good ones (the Paranormal Activity that features the chick who doesn’t have a double-chin); and then there are lousy ones. And in that column goes, well, this movie. Because as horror movies go, Apollo 18 makes a helluva trailer.

Okay, so Apollo 18 pronounces itself a compilation of found footage anonymously uploaded to the internet regarding a secret moon mission. See, officially, the moon missions ended after Apollo 17, but according to this film there was a super-secret 18th Apollo mission. Seems this mission was bankrolled by the Department of Defense, and this be that mission. Undertaking this mission were three totally interchangeable dudes named…um…let’s call them Beef Slabchest, Chest Beefslab, and Other Guy. Trust me, it’s just easier.

So the guys take far more time getting to the moon than it seems they should and then the LEM detaches, leaving Other Guy in order to, well, basically fret and dither, while the two leads land on the moon and set up a bunch of cameras. Okay, here the movie shows a little storytelling prowess, by stating that part of the mission is a DoD directive to set up a recording perimeter. Thus, we have our found footage, because really, there’s no other reason for it.

Anyway the movie spends an interminable amount of time doing jack-nothing, and then something actually happens. See, as Beef and Chest are out walking around the moon, they discover human footprints. Okay, any competent movie would milk some chills over this, because, let’s face it, if there is one place there should absolutely not be footprints, it’s the goddamned moon. But, no, this movie is too ham-fisted to know how to make a genuinely creepy occurrence creepy.

Chest And Beef follow the footprints (because, apparently, when you’re walking around on an inhospitable planetoid, relying upon 1970s technology to keep you from dying like a carp tossed into a library, it’s okay to just go striking out in a random direction. They follow the tracks and, lo and behold! They find another lunar lander! It’s Russian (as evidenced by the big CCCP on the side), and seems to have been host to a nasty struggle inside. One of the guys follows the tracks into a dark crater (yeah, nothing can go wrong with that) that he can only illuminate with his camera’s flash. Yeah, 8 skillion bucks in 1970s money, and they couldn’t give these guys flashlights. Eventually the guy finds a dead Russian. Weird, right? Like, one place you don’t expect a dead Russian is the moon.

They go back to their LEM, but stuff gets all hinky. Like their flag has disappeared.  Finally, when they try to take off, the ship is sabotaged.  Chest goes outside to see what’s what, and promptly wigs out. He screams that something is inside his suit, and we see a glimpse of a spider-like thing in his helmet. Beef gets him aboard and discovers that Chest has a strange laceration on his, uh, chest, and a moon rock in his suit. Could the rock have attacked him?

Short answer: yes.

Okay, so we dick around a bit, and eventually figure out what any half-witted, inbred, hillbilly viewer figured out about 40 minutes earlier—the DoD knew the Russians were up there and that there were probably moon-beasties, and that Chest and Beef are bait for them. So, Chest’s cut becomes more and more infected with, uh, moon-beastie venom and he becomes more zombiefied. Eventually, Chest and Beef make a run for the Russian LEM, but Chest gets overcome by the beasties, so Beef alone makes it to the Russian LEM, where he learns the horrible truth (refer to the beginning of this paragraph).

Well, Other Guy is up there all like, “Guys, get up here! I don’t care about the moon-beasties, let’s just get the fuck home!” And Beef is all like, “This lander is remarkably similar to ours!” Apparently the buttons are all in the same place and not written in Cyrillic, because he knows how to take off with it and heads to Other Guy. Only Houston is all like, “Dude, he’s infected by moon-beasties! You can’t bring him back!” Only once Beef breaks the gravity of the moon, he finds himself surrounded by floating moon rocks, which promptly sprout legs and become…m-m-m-moooon-beasties! Beef crashes into Other Guy and they all die.

Remember how shocking the bleak ending of Blair Witch was? (and don’t complain about how you were underwhelmed, because you were waiting to see a witch, because I’m in no mood for that crap. I’m riled up, and a little drunk). Well, this is not like that. It’s more of a foregone conclusion, given the fact we are not now fighting off moon-beasties (well, I’m not–dunno about you).

So…c’mon! Angry moon-rocks? The damn things look like rock crabs. This is the reason we never went back to the moon? They look like something we could eat with drawn butter and a jacket potato side. What is it exactly these things do to us? Give us some poisoning? Hey, so do gila monsters, and you don’t see NASA shutting down because of them. If I saw a gila monster I’d be all like, “Awesome! A pet! I’m gonna name you Fang. Let’s watch that episode of MST3K, Fang!”

There is nothing scary about this movie. No scene or sequence is spooky or unsettling or even interesting. This is a great movie to have on the background while you clean your guns. And if you don’t own guns, there is no reason to watch this movie.

Man, a pet gila monster…that would be all sorts of awesome. I would totally train it to attack motorcycle-taxi drivers. The attack phrase would be Nic Cage! and the safe phrase would be Shatner! I’m gonna have another beer and ponder how awesome that would be…


  1. manonmona reblogged this on Espacio de MANON.

  2. Thats awesome, i love your critque, your my new film critic!!!

  3. Thanks. I worked hard on it.

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