February 9th, 2015 - One of our finest reviews has been found in Germany of all places! We translated it to English for you! Read below:
Fifty years ago Thorne Sherman (James Best) escaped from this island and today he goes back there voluntarily – while on the island a film is being made. A documentary about outdoor hero Johnny Reno (John Schneider). And when the film crew is decimated bit by bit, suspicions suggest the mutant killer shrews are back!.
It was fifty years ago that Thorne Sherman (James Best) visited this island in a performance he defined brilliantly, and does so again more than fifty years after the original Killer Shrews (in Black & White, 1959, original German title "Night of the Uncanny Beasts"). The second part returns to the same story picked up 50 years later and also the original actor is aboard. Thus we have James Best, the hero from the first part also taking the lead in this part (in spite of his advanced aged). On top of that he has co-written the screenplay, an absolutely positive move, because I was surprised by the second film – absolutely positively.
"The Return Of The Killer Shrews" can be found as a single film DVD or as a bonus on the Blu-Ray for the film "Night Claws" and was for me the clear winner of the collection. This is due to the fact that director Steve Latshaw (direction, screenplay) has laid out the whole film as a satire of Creature-Feature/Trash films. The fact that the actors and actresses, besides having a lot of fun, play their roles with pleasure (top of the list is John Schneider who seems to have the time of his life), means this works almost o cast alone.
The creatures (sometimes) are all CGI, as are like the blood and the wounds. The film has "clinically infertile special effects, so to speak.
What makes the film, however, so brilliant, are the cultic digs on these types of films and its own technology. There, for example, two film assistants who discuss that Johnny Reno should climb a palm tree. One of them says: "But here there are no palms. " The other says: " We insert them later by CGI. " The first one wants to know why they don't find real ones. The other answers: " Because CGI makes everything more real." Immediately thereafter, a grotesque, badly-spirited cgi Shrew attacks both of them. Super!
Or an actress who wants to close with a colleague on set, hoping for friendship, asks whether she may sit down next to her, whereupon she is shaken off. Her reaction to the snub? A sad look and the following sentence: "Don't hate me just because I look gorgeous ."
Or John Schneider who has as the best moments as Johnny Reno, a haughty and dumb standard hero. When he finds out that the Director of the documentary is simply incapable, he complains to his manager: "You know, they're making a mistake . They have … me . But they don't use … me . I should run into the picture, fight a wolf and then - RIP MY SHIRT OFF ." The Manager isn't impressed. And Johnny tries it again: " I should run in. Fight a snake. And then – RPI MY SHIRT OFF!"
Sometime later in the film the director has no more ideas and explains to Reno that he should improvise. After long and thorough consideration, Johnny asks if he should rip his shirt off.
And so it goes for the entire running time of the movie - really. With the boxing contest of two "old crackers" (James Best & Bruce Davison) and other things – the film is simply a party for self-referential humor. Perfect brain scolding entertainment. Apart from that fact the film even brings together three of the actors from the Dukes of Hazzard series for the first time in a film again (in a short bar scene nicely presented).
It's a run down Creature feature, which the filmmakers knew. However, they intentionally used the bad effects as a positive, for entertainment and satire. The dialog is great, the women nice (well, most – by the way, the appearance As said – it is a run down Creature Feature with which the doers knew, however, what they do and are the bad effects positive means for entertainment and satire – the dialogs are great, the women nice (by the way, the appearance of "Holly Weber" was absolutely great, she again plays a silly bikini girl in a role similar to the one she played in "Supergator"). And the team kept a smile on my face for the entire duration. And all hail John Schneider, master of comedy timing, who kept a smile on my face for the entire duration.
"The Return Of The Killer Shrews" gets 8.5 of 10 possible stars, a satirical sequel to the 1959 original.
Best-Of-Worst-Case-Judgment (Trash factor: Effects):
A Creature-Feature whose creatures and effects come 95% from computer whose heroes are on the high side of 70 and still more fun than most of the usual Creature Features. A film which one should simply see, with no need for background from the first one. And the nanny goat scene – "we have no goat" – is worth the entire film.
July 8th, 2013 - Brand new interview out with Director Steve Latshaw HERE IS THE LINK
April 25th, 2013 - Check out the great new video for "Shrewd Awakening"!
April 25th, 2013 - This is a great online review by Veronica Scott - read the review
April 23rd, 2013 - NEW CD!
We are pround to announce the release of a BRAND NEW CD featuring four music cuts used in "Return of the Killer Shrews"! Get The Bamboo Trading Company's soundtrack for the summer of 2013 today! VISIT THE BAMBOO TRADING COMPANY PAGE - LINK
October 23rd, 2012 - Another rave "Shrew Review" has come out - read it online!
October 1st, 2012 - Listen to this great interview with Director Steve Latshaw on LA Talk Radio talking all about Killer Shrews! LINK
August 4th, 2012 - This is great video from the premier in Bristol, Tennessee
May 27th, 2011 - This is a great clip of Jimmie talking about Killer Shrews
FIRST COSTUME TEST: James Best
May 16th, 2011 - Jimmie is so excited about the shoot!
May 13th, 2011 - James Best had his first costume test today for the upcoming film! Check out these photos!
IN LIKE FLYNN: RETURN OF THE KILLER SHREWS' CASTS A NEW GENERATION OF HOLLYWOOD ROYALTY
Coal Train Productions and Generic Filmgroup announced today that former Teen Idol SEAN FLYNN, fresh from his long-running role as Chase on Nickelodeon's "Zoey 101," will be co-starring in his first adult role in "Return of the Killer Shrews." Flynn's role as Derek will utilize his comedic skills first honed on the popular Teen TV series and provide added thrills to his large TV fan base. "Return of the Killer Shrews," set on a mysterious island in the gulf of Mexico, places Flynn in a modern-day horror setting, but with a touch of blood-drenched comic mayhem ala "Shawn of the Dead" and the slightest flavor of retro Tiki exotica ala the great Drive-in horror flicks of the 1950s and 1960s. And Flynn even gets a chance to use his considerable charm, like his famous Grandfather, ERROL FLYNN. Co-Producer Dorothy Collier-Best is very happy with this new bit of casting. "I am so pleased to have Sean Flynn on board. His family history and youthful exuberance is a perfect match for this retro project.
In his stellar career, Co-star James Best literally walked in Errol Flynn's shoes. "Sean's Grandfather was a hero of mine, I was honored to have worn many of his clothes in movies; every time I turned around there was the name "Flynn" emblazoned on the collar. Now I am honored to be working with his grandson."
Other Cast members joining Sean Flynn include John Schneider, fresh from "Desperate Housewives," "Hot In Cleveland" and "Smallville," Jennifer Lyons ("Valley Peaks," "Desperate Housewives," "Transylmania") and country legend Mel Tillis ("Beer For My Horses," "Cannonball Run" movies).
Director Steve Latshaw, who recently collaborated as screenwriter with Dolph Lundgren on the hit action thriller, "Command Performance," is equally excited about working with the young Flynn. "I'm certainly thrilled about working with a new generation of actor from this extraordinary family. But I'm even more excited about taking full advantage of Sean's strong sense of comic timing and considerable on screen charisma, honed from years of film and television work."
"Return of the Killer Shrews" goes before the cameras in May, with release scheduled for next year.
Decatur native Steve Latshaw planning sequel to 'The Killer Shrews'
DECATUR - In 1959, the world was first exposed to "The Killer Shrews." The "B movie" horror flick was released as half of a monster movie double feature, along with the equally inexpensive "Giant Gila Monster."
For Decatur native Steve Latshaw, born the same year, these films were the sort of drive-in movie fare easy to enjoy for their campy production values, nonexistent budgets and cheesy special effects. Never, though, did Latshaw imagine 52 years later he would be helming a sequel long in the making - "Return of the Killer Shrews."
"In the 1980s, a lot of us folks who were in the film industry bought a book called The Golden Turkey Awards," Latshaw explained. "It was a compendium of a lot of the cheesiest B movies out there. 'The Killer Shrews' was mentioned multiple times, so I made a note to see it."
Today, it's relatively easy to see the original "Killer Shrews," as the film has entered the public domain and is readily accessible on the Internet in its entirety. With this access, and appearances on satirical television programs such as "Mystery Science Theater 3000" in the 1990s, the film developed both an infamous reputation and a cult following. Aware of this, Latshaw braced himself for the worst - and was surprised.
"I expected to laugh at it for being truly awful, like you would at say, 'Plan 9 From Outer Space,' but I didn't," Latshaw said. "I remember thinking, 'This isn't nearly as bad as people say it is. There's a good movie in this story.' "
The filmmaker was at the time directing and writing similarly low-budgeted horror films such as "Dark Universe" and the pumpkin-headed slasher flick "Jack-O." In a coincidental meeting of minds, the thought of reviving the "Killer Shrews" legacy was first kindled in Latshaw's head by a member of the original film's cast, "Dukes of Hazzard" veteran James Best, a longtime collaborator.
For the next 20 years, the two joked about a "Killer Shrews" sequel, occasionally tinkering with scripts. Things finally turned serious last year, and filming on "Return of the Killer Shrews" is scheduled to begin in Los Angeles in the next few months, bringing the cycle full. James Best returns to reprise his character of Captain Thorne Sherman, drawn unwillingly back to an island crawling with oversized, venomous, deadly shrews.
"I think it should go without saying that the shrews will look a lot better in 2011 than they did in 1959," said Best, an actor remembered for his role as the bumbling sheriff, Rosco P. Coltrane, in the original "Dukes of Hazzard" television series. "In the first film the shrews were just dogs with fur and prosthetic makeup attached to their faces. They had a budget of about 15 cents, I think."
Best certainly never expected a sequel to the film to get made - nor did he want one, going as far to say that he prayed after the production was over that he wouldn't be asked to return for another "Shrews" film. The production was a mess of confusion headed up by a first-time director, and Best vividly recalled certain scenes that inadvertently featured his real-life terror.
"There's a scene where the shrews are chasing me up a hill, and to get them to follow me the director dragged a caged raccoon behind the camera to rile up the dogs," said Best of the unorthodox strategy. "It worked too well. I was looking back, and it was getting very real, seeing those angry dogs charging up after me. I wasn't so sure they were after the raccoon."
Best changed his mind, however, after witnessing a cult audience for the film grow, an audience that clearly appreciated it in spite and because of its numerous flaws.
"I'm amazed how many hits you can get on Google by just typing in 'Killer Shrews,' " he said. "It's a production I'll always remember. I did 'Twilight Zone' and 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' episodes, but this was stranger than any of them."
Now 84 years old, Best will take a somewhat less active role in the sequel, acting as the sage, shrew-experienced leader. Rounding out the cast are two other former "Dukes of Hazzard" actors - John Schneider (Luke Duke) and Rick Hurst (Cletus Hogg), along with country singer Mel Tillis and Jennifer Lyons. For Latshaw, it's a long-awaited return to the director's chair after nearly 10 years of primarily screenwriting credits.
"Directing is definitely the most fun, no doubt about it," Latshaw said. "Writing is kind of like being a sculptor, except you're only making the blueprints and someone else has to do the creating. If a movie turns out well, all the credit goes to the filmmaker. But if it bombs, it's the fault of the weak script."
"Return of the Killer Shrews" already may sound like an entirely over-the-top home video or television release, but Latshaw has one final surprise up his sleeve to target a modern audience - a theatrical release. Embracing the current sci-fi film zeitgeist, the Lakeview High School graduate is going to do everything he can to have his film seen by audiences across the nation, and not just those already familiar with the series.
To Latshaw, "Return of the Killer Shrews" represents the culmination of a 20-year relationship with Best and a personal goal of returning to film direction. Where he goes from here is up in the air, with the director considering different genres such as a Western picture or biopic. But it would seem Best has his own ideas.
"James is already talking about 'Killer Shrews 3,' " Latshaw said. "Presumably that would take less than 52 years to get off the ground."