Fans of wonderfully wooden trash, look no further. Tyler Russell’s vintage monster movie throwback is a total blast of blood, puss, and ominously oozy bodily fluids. A loud, brash, B-movie love letter, it’s the sort of geniusly crap genre fare that caters to a very specific audience, and does so in the least pretentious, most affectionate way imaginable. Expect stupid, get stupider, and love it all the same.
Mimicking the 50s/60s drive-in charm, Cyst goes all-in on its title right from the off. Maniacal skin specialist Dr. Guy (Troll 2’s George Hardy) loses control of his dastardly pimple-erasing machine, accidentally creating a giant cyst monster that lays waste to his entire surgery, and everyone in it. On her last day on the job, no-nonsense nurse Patricia (Sky Sharks’ Eva Habermann) leads the charge, but with the doctor losing his mind and the monster mutating more and more by the second, it’ll take something truly special to get both her and her fellow survivors to safety.
And if that set-up hasn’t quite gripped you, it might well be worth giving up here. Because even at a very lean 69 minutes, Cyst will likely be a chore for anyone outside of its clear-cut target audience. This is a huge, steaming pile of trash of the highest order, and from Hardy’s wacky-eyed doctor, to The Room’s Greg Sestero popping up as an oddly underspent, turtleneck-wearing onlooker, it never once turns on its proudly preposterous nature.
Almost to the film’s detriment in fact. Habermann’s straight-laced nurse ends up as something of Cyst’s guiding light once the action gets going, but she only really takes the reigns in a meaningful way half way through; anything and everything up to that point feels like the filmmakers firing from the hip, blindly shooting at a relentlessly long laundry list of B-movie tropes which it mostly hits, but in a bit of a funky order.
The effect is noticeable enough: an opening half-an-hour that feels oddly repetitive and weirdly janky, but all is quickly swept under the rug when the Cyst monster’s prime form takes over and things kick into a whole different, likely more intentional, gear.
Looking like a diseased Mr Blobby from a particularly nasty Hentai, the giant Cyst in question is daft monster-based tomfoolery at its very best, with Russell dialling up the blood and brains mayhem just about as far as his measly budget will stretch. Everything from the crumbling sets to the thickly whipped syrupy fluids add to the joy; it’s Garth Marenghi without any of the clever framing, just rock solid, rubber suited fun.