That Little Monster

That Little Monster (1994)
Elite Entertainment
Cast: Reggie Bannister, Melissa Baum, Andi Wehning
Extras: Commentary Track, “The Visitant” Short Film, Interview

Now here’s something for smug chuckles. Seriously. I had no idea what to expect when I put in Elite’s ’That Little Monster’ and it turned out to be a quirky, funny horror homage. Please note that it is not a comedy in general terms, but an extremely stylish homage to the classic B-horror movies of old.

’That Little Monster’ is presented in its fullscreen presentation on this DVD, in glorious black and white. The image is clean and mostly free of defects, and although quite grainy, contains a good level of detail. I am not sure why it is so grainy, because the film was shot on 35 mm film, but it may actually be a very conscious creative decision to further capture the look and feel of classic movies, so don’t let it concern you too much. Contrast of the image is very good and the film manages to recreate those beautiful impenetrable blacks of classic 30s horror movies, and especially the German expressionists. At the same time highlights are well balanced and don’t bleed, creating good gradients for a balanced picture. The compression is free of distracting artifacts.

The DVD comes with a 2-channel Dolby Digital audio track that is well presented and free of distortion of sibilance. It has a good frequency response and creates a natural-sounding presentation. A commentary track featuring director Paul Bunnell and producer Cal Mastromarino is also part of the disc. The track contains some good information as especially Bunnell goes through many aspects of making the film and reminisces about its production. Sadly Mastromarino’s part is slightly undermixed, making him very hard to understand at times.
The DVD also contains Paul Bunnell’s 1981 directorial debut, the 19-minute short film ’The Visitant’ and interview footage with the director from the TV Show ’The Best List.’ Especially the interview segment is hilarious, as Bunnell exhibits a kind of showmanship and stand-up comedy that makes him a very faceted and entertaining person. Do check it out!

It is really hard to describe ’That Little Monster.’ It is a fun movie with a very quirky sense of humor. Following the tribulations of a babysitter in a house that seems anything than normal, this is a very charming film that is highly entertaining and its wicked, almost subliminal sense of humor will have you giggle over and over again. The beautiful photography make it a feast for the eyes, especially if you’re in love with those classic horror films. All I can say is, give this DVD a try. I’m sure you won’t regret it.