The Aisle Seat - Movie Reviews by Mike McGranaghan
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THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan



If the guys behind Airplane! and The Naked Gun tried to make a movie in the style of Ed Wood, it might look something like Inhumanwich! This is the debut feature from David Cornelius, a former film critic who's made the move behind the camera. (Disclosure: He and I have been acquainted professionally and on social media for several years.) An admiring homage to the cheesy sci-fi/horror pictures of the '50s, it is infused with silly humor presented in a very smart manner. The result is an impressively spot-on spoof.

The story revolves around Joe Neumann (Jacque Ransom), an American astronaut who survives going through a radioactive meteor shower while in space. Well, he sort of survives it. The incident causes him to meld with the Sloppy Joe sandwich his loving wife Lisa (Kayla Clark) packed for him before blast-off. Joe returns to Earth as a meat monster, intent on devouring everyone in his path. It's up to a team of soldiers and scientists to stop him. Significant meat-related terror ensues.

Filmed in glorious black-and-white, Inhumanwich! expertly lampoons all the hallmarks of bad '50s sci-fi: the stiff acting, the overwrought dialogue, the science-is-scary paranoia, and the low-budget special effects. That's a fine line to walk. How do you create intentional humor from something that is unintentionally funny to begin with? Cornelius does it by strictly adhering to the tone and vibe of his inspirations, then exaggerating the way these elements are carried out – like Airplane! did with Zero Hour. One of the most inspired gags involves Joe's wife. You know how the love interests in old sci-fi pictures repeat everything they're told? (“Joe's been in an accident.” ”Joe's been in an accident?!) In this case, Lisa hilariously takes this quality to extremes, repeating lengthy soliloquies. That kind of wonderful absurdity fills the movie.

Every jab Inhumanwich! takes at its inspirations is done with affection. That extends to the central monster. If the idea of a gigantic Sloppy Joe with eyes makes you giggle, you'll have a great time with this movie. When you get right down to it, were The Fly and The Blob really that much less absurd? The visual effects used to make the creature are interesting. They're actually quite sophisticated, yet they convey purposeful cheesiness. That proves vital to the fun. Giggling whenever the monster comes onscreen is a certainty.

There are many other pleasures to be found. The actors really get into the spirit of the material, embracing its need for hammy over-acting. The film takes a break for a musical interlude before one especially devastating attack. (Pay attention to the song lyrics, because they're quite witty.) And the way the desperate characters make a drastic effort to rid the Earth of the monster at the end? Let's just say that this might be the most perfect bit in the whole film.

Inhumanwich! runs a tight 73 minutes, which is about right. With any movie of this nature – where everything is, by design, part of the joke – you don't get a lot in the way of genuine character development. For that reason, shorter tends to be better. Cornelius paces the movie pretty well. One or two of the early scenes are a bit slow to get going, and it might have been interesting to add a little something to the character of Joe-as-monster. Perhaps some sort of awareness of his situation, coupled with horror at what he is uncontrollably doing. Some of the pictures that influenced this one had that type of element.

On balance, though, Inhumanwich! is a solid debut. Cornelius has made some funny shorts, and now it's clear that he can sustain a feature, as well. The secret to making a good comedy is knowing how to tell a joke, which is harder than it seems. He knows the joke he wants to tell, and he tells it confidently.

Inhumanwich! will make you laugh, while ensuring that you never look at a Sloppy Joe the same way again.

( out of four)

Note: Inhumanwich! is currently on the festival circuit and has a DVD distribution deal on tap. To stay current on where/how you can see it, check out the official website.

Inhumanwich! is unrated, but contains scenes of meat-related terror. The running time is 1 hour and 13 minutes.

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