Posts tagged rana
Posts tagged rana
By Dan Kinem
If you couldn’t tell by the bad ass cover, Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake is about a crazy half-frog/half-human monster and his regular-sized frog minions fiercely and furiously protecting a mountain of gold at the bottom of a lake. Sadly, few plot outlines have promised so much, yet delivered so little.
The movie focuses more on the boring lives of the characters rather than showing any frog action. Kelly, our male lead, is telling his girlfriend all about when he was 11-years-old and found a strange bone fragment, a fragment that could obviously only belong to some bizarre half-human/half-frog-like creature. Kelly was the king as a kid, and just like myself, he also drinks nonstop bottled Coke and stashes beef jerky chunks in the front of his overalls. But, unlike myself, his only friends are his pet skunks and a crazy hillbilly hermit named Charlie, who has the ability to talk to goats.
Charlie is the only one who believes Kelly when he thinks something fishy is going on in the lake, but little does Kelly know, Charlie is hiding a deep dark secret. Occasionally, the frog-man will pop out and kill, but it’s always so quick you can’t tell what the hell is going on. I kept hoping you would get some crazy long-frog-tongue carnage, but instead, the monster chooses to kill with a spear. The only time you get any evidence that there’s even a monster doing the killing is when you see a green flipper under the murky water.
The movie focuses most of its energy on the bland story of Hermit vs. The Loggers. Charlie the Hermit will run around shooting at these loggers to try to get them to leave the woods, but all it does is piss them off. Around this point is where I started pulling a Tim (aka struggling to stay awake at 6 p.m.), but the possibility of maybe getting to see the monster kept my eyes open. Instead of the monster, all I got was real frogs, who would come out of the water to nibble and stare at people.
Finally, the legend of Shadow Lake is revealed: Years ago, a guy found a gold pebble and threw it into the lake. The water began to bubble and boil and Rana appeared at the surface and was super pissed off. He demanded more gold, so in order to appease the monster, the entire town threw all of its gold to the bottom of the lake. Now the monster lives every day of its life fearing someone will take the gold, while the decedents of the townsfolk (who call themselves “frog people”) give it more gold and feed it. Charlie is the last of these frog people left and continues to feed it, which all reminded me of that terrible movie, Lake Placid.
It does start to get good at the end, though, after one of the loggers shoots Charlie. Rana gets fucking ticked off and comes jetting out of the water and starts wrecking people. He blows through Kelly and his family’s front door, steals some chick, blows the entire house up, pounds some dude’s head into a tree, and disappears. Fast forward to the present day and Kelly has the genius idea to go looking for Rana’s gold. Big mistake. Of course, Rana is still alive and kicking and the second Kelly and his girlfriend find the gold, he comes chasing after them. Credits. So, after all of that, it leaves me asking the question: Why does a frog need gold?
Few movies have had so much potential, yet failed on every level. Rana was directed by one of the masters of the cheesy horror movie, Bill Rebane (Capture of Big Foot, The Giant Spider Invasion), but features too many boring side-plots to become so-bad-it’s-good. It does have some laugh-out-loud moments, however, like the use of “Swan Lake” during a shoot out near a lake. Talk about on the nose. And, of course, the plot itself, which is the one thing that makes me want to still recommend this boring, mess of a movie. It’s godawful, but I would still say it’s worth owning and watching at least once just to say you’ve seen a movie about a frog who loves gold.
The movie has had a bunch of different releases, most notably this big box release through Active Home Video and a clamshell through the Canadian distributor, Astral Video. The movie rights were later bought by Troma (no surprise) and the title was brilliantly changed to, Croaked: Frog Monster from Hell for a bare-bones DVD release. Stick with any of the VHS.
Someone also uploaded the whole movie to YouTube here.