Kraa! The Sea Monster (1998)
By: Paul Ryan on October 25, 2008  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Full Moon (USA). Region 1, NTSC. 4:3. English DD 2.0. 69 minutes
The Movie
Director: Aaron Osborne, Dave Parker
Starring: R.L. McMurray, Teal Marchande, Alison Lohman, J.W. Perra
Screenplay: Benjamin Carr
Country: USA
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After the woeful blight on the Kaiju genre that was Zarkorr! The Invader (1996), an unbowed Charles Band forged on with his Monster Island Entertainment label (slogan: Giant Monsters With Bad Attitudes), somehow deciding that the same director (Aaron Osborne) and writer ("Benjamin Carr", aka Neal Marshall Stevens) had done well enough to warrant another stab at monster mayhem.

This time they turned out something slightly better, in Kraa! The Sea Monster. But that's like saying a hard punch to the head is slightly better than a kick to the same area. A strange fusion of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (with even lower production values), Buckaroo Banzai (well a bit), and E.T. (sorta kinda maybe), this is another tangle of disparate footage, clashing production elements, and hokey-to-terrible special effects.

On the distant, freezing planet of Proyas (a homage to Alex, perhaps?) the nefarious Lord Doom (body: Michael Guerin, voice: Jerry Lentz) plots to conquer the Earth for its warmth. Yes, you read that correctly. No rugging-up. No getting a decent heating system. Nope, just interplanetary conquest. Sure, the sun in his galaxy is dying, but that's still kinda extreme. With the aid of his midget – and apparrently only - offsider Chamberlain (Jon Simanton) he sics humungous fish-lizard thing Kraa onto the Earth… well, New Jersey anyway.

Opposing him are a group of interstellar police – or something - called the Planet Patrol. Based on a supremely dodgy CGI space station, and consisting primarily of four teenagers in bad spandex uniforms (Colton Scott, Candida Tolentino, Anthony Furlong and a very young Allison Lohman, lately of Beowulf and Flicka), the Patrol appear to be the heroes of the piece… Until the base is disabled by an energy blast from Lord Doom. This effectively means that this group of characters spend the rest of the movie mostly commenting on the action, like some goofily-dressed Greek chorus. This can be explained by Dave Parker's directorial credit for "Lord Doom and Planet Patrol sequences", which look to have been added later on to pad out Aaron Osborne's previously filmed bits.

We now return you to the "plot"…

Crippled, understaffed and with a malfunctioning green screen backdrop (seriously, you can see it very blatantly un-matted-out more than once), the Patrol dispatch to Earth the only agent in range, an oversized, comically Italian-accented Mollusc-thingy called Moygar. Crash-landing in a diner, Moygar hooks up with a waitress (Teal Marchande) and a tubby biker/scientist/all-round renaissance man (R.L. McMurray). Moygar's accent is due to him having learned Italian in order to infiltrate a nuclear lab in Naples – er, good luck with that – but upon speedily picking up English, he still manages to speak like the stereotyped Italian restaurateur from The Simpsons. Anyway, as this trio race to develop a weapon that will defeat Kraa, Moygar has to evade a team of bumbling Men In Black who keep trying to capture him. Also, halfway through the biker guy shaves his beard and hair off, ditches the hog leathers and emerges in a white coat and glasses (he is, after all, a scientist), bearing a remarkable resemblance to Dr Bunsen Honeydew from the Muppets. Homage? Coincidence? Who knows? Who cares?

Every bit as messy and disjointed as it sounds, Kraa! The Sea Monster is a shambles, but a less maddeningly dull one than Zarkorr at least. There's a slightly better attempt at integrating the pre-shot monster footage into the rest of the film, and the title beast is fairly well designed. The model buildings - including one bearing a prominently displayed poster of Emmerich's Godzilla remake, badoom-ching! – are generally okay, though undermined by lots of pathetically obvious toy cars. There's also an abundance of awful CGI and laughably cheap sets. Still, the cast (many of whom, just like Zarkorr, never made another film after this) at least seem to muster some convincing enthusiasm, so at least someone had good time with this film.

Kraa! The Sea Monster represented the second, and final, offering from the Monster Island label. Its demise isn't exactly up there with the closure of Hammer, to state the obvious. The Planet Patrol however, did live to fight another day, in 1999's Planet Patrol (ahem), which appears to have been stitched together from bits of this film and Full Moon's Subspecies, Robot Wars and Doctor Mordrid. Roger Corman, eat your heart out!
A little muddy and dark, with a couple of shots curiously zoomed and others very grainy (like the daylight monster footage) but watchable.
Serviceable 2.0 stereo. As good as a film like this can hope for.
Extra Features
Six trailers for other Band titles. Given that they accompany what is basically a kids movie, only the one for Mysterious Museum seems appropriate. The others include Backlash: Oblivion 2, and sleaze-laden previews of Cryptz, Delta Delta Die, The Exotic House of Wax (!!) and The Erotic Time Machine (!!!).
The Verdict
Not as awful as Zarkorr! The Invader, but still pretty piss-poor, the best you can say for Kraa! The Sea Monster is that it's short. This is recommended mainly for die-hard Kaiju and Allison Lohman completists. You know who you are.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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