Enough Already! Somebody out there who delivers these movies to Cinetel or The Asylum or American World Pictures, such as this movie ‘Hyenas’ was delivered to American World Pictures, needs to stop what they are doing and before they begin 'Step One' of this low budget horror movie making process… give me a call. I need to observe, from conception to birth, how these things get made. Let me know when and where and I will quit my job, jet to wherever on my own dime, and just observe like a fly on the wall. You won’t even know I’m there.
You see somebody came up with this concept for ‘Hyenas’ and I figure this somebody was writer director Eric Weston who made a movie I enjoyed back in high school called ‘Marvin and Tige’, and considering I haven’t been in High School in an awful long time we can clearly see that Eric Weston has been in the movie business for an awful long time. But back to ‘Hyenas’, my man was clearly kicking around an idea about werewolves, but being as how werewolves are a little overexposed, let’s just make them hyenas instead! Cool, I can get with that, and then we attach some actors like low budget stalwart Costas Mandylor and Meshach ‘the Black Guy from Designing Women’ Taylor… but we need something else… some conflict… because apparently a clan of human hybrid hyenas, brought over on slave ships by the WHITE MAN and roaming the countryside and eating people isn’t nearly enough conflict… Oh yeah, how about a Latino / White Boy standoff in the middle of this small town getting eaten by a clan hybrid hyenas! So what we have here, and this is the pitch, is ‘The Howling’ meets ‘West Side Story’… with Hyenas! Somebody somewhere heard this, paused, and then said… ‘That sounds cool, go with it’. And they wrote a check somewhere between 200k and million or so dollars to get this made. I just need to observe the creativity process behind something like this.
In this movie Mandylor is the character of Gannon who is in this small town to retrieve the remains of his eaten wife and child who were devoured by some absolutely hysterical hyena hybrids in the movies opening scene. He’s upset. He meets one Crazy
Briggs (Taylor) who hunts these creatures. Crazy is narrating this for us by the way. He informs Gannon he knows what killed his wife. Gannon doesn’t believe him. Then without warning he does believe him. Seriously, in one scene Gannon tells Crazy he’s crazy then in the next scene Crazy is telling us what a great hyena hunter Gannon turned out to be.
Cool, so while these cats are running through the woods shooting hyena hybrids, on the other side of town Marco (Joshua Alba) the Mexican is loving him some Gina (Christina Murphy) but Gina’s brother Jasper (Andrew James Allen) is running with the crew of Bobby (Derrick Kosinski) and Bobby’s crew hates Mexicans, which resorts in numerous standoffs and fist fights. You may ask what does this have to do with hyenas eating people, and in the grand scheme things it doesn’t have a damn thing to do with hyenas eating people. This is one of the reasons we don’t ask such questions when watching movies like this.
Somewhere along the line Gannon saves a pretty girl (Amanda Aardsma) from the hyena menace and the pretty girl has a secret she hides very badly, the chief hyena Wilda (Christa Campbell) is waiting for her mother to die so she can rule the clan, even though she has another sister out there somewhere who also wants to rule the clan, our White Boy and our Mexican are going to meet in an undisclosed location to fight it out while ‘I Feel Pretty’ plays in the background, hyenas will meet at this same location to figure a few things out for themselves and our hyena hunters will meet at this location to clean this mess up. Because whoever used to be in this undisclosed location conveniently left a crapload of dynamite lying around. Convenient.
My friends, over the years I’ve mellowed out. I’m almost embarrassed to read reviews I wrote when I started this thing five years ago, for one because I didn’t proofread jackshit and secondly I was far too harsh on crap movies. Making movies is incredibly difficult and nobody sets out to make a crap movie. I understand this and I am sympathetic to this. That being said, allow me to say with understanding sympathy that ‘Hyenas’ is a crap movie. It is so uniformly crappy from beginning to end that it seems this was almost done on purpose. There’s so much craptastic crappery in this movie that some aspiring author could probably fill a novel on the crappness of ‘Hyenas’, because we don’t have near the time to even scratch the surface of it all.
The human / hyena laughs… spectacular. Christa Campbell, an FCU favorite, affecting a terrible southern drawl when nobody else in the movie saw a need to do this was pretty sweet. Her constantly taking off her clothes revealing a nipplesss pair of voluminous breast was also pretty sweet. Watching the very lovely Amanda Aardsma’s interpretation of the craft of acting was also a life affirming experience. Watch as two of the White Boy gang members gets killed and eaten in the woods near the middle of this movie and observe as absolutely nobody ever asks where the hell those two White Boys went. Ever. There’s a scene near the very end when two minxes slowly reveal their boobs to a couple of players in a limo. These cats look to be around thirty but clearly these two bug-eyed men have never seen a pair of tits before. They’re tits fellas. Just tits. Ah, but the coup de grace, the piece de resistance was Costas Mandylor’s final gesture in this film. This movie is crap, no doubt about it, but if you have to close out a crap movie Costas Mandylor just showed us how this is done properly.
While absolutely awful, ‘Hyenas’ was an experience. And Meshach ‘the Black Guy from Designing Women’ Taylor is still alive, which warms my heart. Somebody, anybody, please let me observe how these things get made.