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Give high-end prop-making technicians to Roger Corman, and you get “Munchies” — a riotous horror-comedy filled with puns and practical FX.

Munchies

Little alien terrors wreak havoc when they are removed from a cave. Let’s dig into 1987’s MUNCHIES, directed by Tina Hirsch!

As I See It

Editor Tina Hirsch stepped out of her post-production role — which saw her edit films like Gremlins, Twilight Zone: The Movie, and Explorers — to direct for the first time.

This is a Roger Corman production, but it has the same vibe as a Full Moon Pictures, Band Brothers, direct-to-video movie — especially the sets. Even the music feels like it’s a Band composition.

The opening Star Trek joke is ironic as the uncredited SFX artist, Michael W. Moore, would go on to be the prop maker on J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek revival. He worked on Peter Jackson and Guillermo Del Toro’s The Hobbit trilogy as well in the same capacity. Adding to the SFX pedigree, Roger George worked special effects on Joe Dante’s The Howling, Saturday the 14th, Forbidden World (pyro), The Beastmaster, Mausoleum, Ghoulies (Pyro), The Dungeonmaster (pyro), Night of the Demons (pyro), Chopping Mall, Night of the Creeps, and a little film called The Terminator.

A nod to another little creature feature with long-lasting mainstream success sees the Munchies driving an AMC Gremlin with the license plate “OHGIZMO”.

Famous Faces

Who doesn’t like Harvey Korman? The veteran comedic actor guested on a hall-of-fame lineup of TV shows through the sixties (The Munsters, F Troop, The Danny Kaye Show, and The Carol Burnett Show) and played Hedley Lamarr in the Mel Brooks classic Blazing Saddles.

Nadine Van der Velde (Cindy) starred in another eighties creature feature: Critters.

Jon Stafford (Dude) seems to have a history of interesting character names. He was Doc Jay in Stanley Kubrick’s exhausting, realistic Full Metal Jacket based on Gustav Hasford’s novel The Short-Timers and Bad Breath in the better-than-accepted Michal Anthony Hall vehicle, Johnny Be Good.

Wendy Schaal (Marge) has some great titles on her resume: Innerspace, *batteries not included. However, it’s her role as Mrs. Rumsfield (and her short shorts) in Joe Dante’s The Burbs that should be scorched into your memory.

Paul Bartel (Dr. Crowder) has a history of cameos in genre and comedy films. Most notably, he was the theater manager in Gremlins 2 and Mr. Jamison in Caddyshack II, but what you may not know is he is a successful, eccentric director with titles that include Death Race 2000 and Eating Raoul.

Robert Picardo (Bob) is one of those faces you’ve seen in a million movies. Let’s rattle them off: The Howling, Explorers, Legend (as the swamp creature, Meg Mucklebones), Back to School, Innerspace, 976-Evil, Total Recall (Johnnycab in the Arnold version), and Gremlins 2. That doesn’t even count his long run on Star Trek: Voyager.

Of Gratuitous Nature

There are bound to be some ridiculous additions to a Corman production, but it almost always comes out the other side as corny enough to be endearing.

Heartthrob

Wendy Schaal can not be topped.

Ripe for a Remake

There have been plenty of little creature features throughout the years. Not that we can’t stomach another one if done well; I just don’t think Munchies is where it’s at.

Spawns

The Munchies mythos lived on for two more films but took on a different appearance. Roger Corman was still involved as well. Munchie and Munchie Strikes Back saw a dog-like creature that looked like a reject from The Garbage Pail Kids Movie.

Where to Watch

Back in 2018, Shout Factory released a single disc double feature of Munchies and Munchie. It is currently low in stock (under 100 left). You can stream it on Tubi, Shout TV, Amazon’s Scream Box, Freevee, The Roku Channel, and Midnight Pulp.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 2.5


THE DAILY DIG
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