Halloween Disc-A-Day: Day 28 – Bats: Human Harvest, Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America, Nightwing

For a third year, I’m going to be watching at least one horror DVD per day and writing a short review about them. I’ve acquired a new batch that I haven’t previously seen, so without any further delay. Let’s get to work.

Bats: Human Harvest (10 November 2007)

Set in present day Afghanistan, the sequel centers on a group of soldiers who endeavor to capture Fazul, a fanatical terrorist who has escaped into the maze of caves underlying the landscape of the country. As the troops spelunk, they encounter one major obstacle: genetically altered bats programmed to seek out flesh and consume it.

Oh, boy.  It’s a Sci-Fi Channel movie.  That’s before the Syfy rebranding.  Speaking of which, our main character is the same guy from Atlantic Rim.  My expectation plummeted when I realized that, but fortunately this is slightly better.  I’m not saying it’s great by any stretch, but it’s watchable.  That’s the trade off of made-for-TV movies.  You aren’t going to see the inspired bits that are occasionally found in independent low-budget films, but there’s a quality floor in what to expect.  Generally, nothing will dip below that minimum requirement.  Their putting it on TV.  There are some standards.  And this has some fun elements like over-the-top accents and cheap practical gore thrown in from off camera.  If you have some love for stock CG effects, you’ll enjoy the bats and if you are interested in needlessly shitty villains, it’s got one of those too.  He was effective.  I wanted to see him get killed.

Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America (9 May 2006)

An outbreak of avian flu mutates into a virus that becomes transmittable from human to human.

We’ve got another made-for-TV movie here. This was made for ABC and you can tell the difference right away.  I don’t know why it’s on this “Animal Apocalypse” collection.  It’s not horror in the cinematic sense.  It’s a disease hypothetical portrayed in a relatively realistic manner.  As a result, it’s the most depressing thing I’ve seen all month.  I hardly want to make fun of the director’s name, Richard Pearce (Dick Pierce), or comment on all the cocks grabbed during the chicken wrangling done trying to contain the disease.  Also, there’s Stacy Keach in a cameo… dying.

So moving on…

Nightwing (22 June 1979)

Killer bats plague an Indian reservation in New Mexico.

Somehow this is the third killer bat movie I’ve seen this month.  Of those, this is the only one with a supernatural element.  It’s set in a southwestern reservation and deals with tribal mysticism.  The movie spends a good portion of its time debating what constitutes a superstition versus a religion and how the rest of the world reacts to it.  The business man is trying to push a deal through in opposition to our main character the sheriff, Duran (not to be confused with Duran Duran), but like usual in these types of movies, nature is in the way.  This time in the form of vampire bats carrying bubonic  plague.  Hunting them, we have David Warner doing his best Van Helsing character.  The guy from The Thing and Dante Peak also has a small role as part of a church group that goes really poorly.  I thought the film as a whole was alright.  Your mileage may vary based on your taste for Native American myth-based fiction.  I couldn’t tell you if this is accurate to any actual beliefs, but that’s a high bar to judge any media by.  As a subgenre, these myths and folklore aren’t explored much in modern film.

Now about Kaw…

As the owner of two copies of Kaw now, I’m not watching it again.  You can read my review of it here or listen to the MPM episode of it from before I was on the show here.  I’ll be back tomorrow with more reviews.  It’s all multi-movie collection for the rest of the month, so I’ll no doubt have my hands full.

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