April 9, 2012


For the next 110 unsubtitled minutes of your life, you and Sompote Sands' Magic Lizard will waste time together in ways you never dreamed possible. I hope you packed some wet wipes.

Magic sold seperately
Our hero, Magic Lizard, is a seven-foot-tall frilled lizard and a below-average roller-skater. His sole responsibility is to guard a cave that houses an extremely powerful and coveted crystal, a job that he carries out by sleeping and scratching his lizard balls. This level of security poses no problem to an invading alien (courtesy of an earlier effort by director Sompote Sands, Jumborg Ace & Giant), who chases Magic Lizard around with a lightsaber and eventually steals off into the cosmos with the crystal. Magic Lizard awakens his also-napping boss (the previously-mentioned Giant) with a blast of steam from his mouth and reports the theft in a frantic, high-pitched woman's voice. The Giant awkwardly flies off to retrieve the loot -- alone -- and Magic Lizard, incessantly chattering away for the remainder of the film, is free to completely waste a perfectly good day off work.

Sic 'em
He's dancing with baby elephants! Rough-housing with a bear cub! Using his tail as a boat propeller! Saving the village from a mean ol' crocodile! Taunting an elderly herpetologist, Scooby Doo-style! And the monkeys are goin' coconuts! Then, with only a couple minutes left of the film, the Giant catches up with the alien on an asteroid, effortlessly blows him up, flies back to Earth to return the crystal to Magic Lizard, the end. But who needs a plot when you've got talking jungle animals?

And who needs jungle animals when you've got ladies?
Sompote Sands' main focus as a filmmaker seemed to be Thai-ifying the Tsuburaya library of rubber-suited heroes and giant monsters (a practice that inevitably attracted a flurry of lawsuits), but Magic Lizard, at least for me, has way more in common with Ray Dennis Steckler's The Lemon Grove Kids Meet The Monsters than any episode of Ultra Seven, in that both were patched together out of slapsticky vignettes, seemingly made up on camera with no semblance of a greater story arc to be found. The Bowery Boys' influence even appears in both films: Steckler's uncanny Huntz Hall impersonation in Lemon Grove Kids, and here, in a lengthy scene where two dim-witted treasure seekers are spooked during a cave heist by an autonomous, cackling, haunted-house skeleton. Steckler, however, had the good sense not to grime up his whimsy by including scenes involving sex, gore and actual feces. Oh, did I forget to mention that?

The amorous Mr. Bones
A well-endowed skinny-dipper has an underwater frolic with her boyfriend, who manhandles her sizable breasts and tries to fit one in his mouth when, suddenly, she's eaten by a crocodile. Later, the croc gruesomely devours a few others, chasing after one with the fleshy, sanguine remains from the last dripping from his jaws. Most heinously, Magic Lizard is thrown from the back of a live water buffalo that does not wish to be ridden and receives an overflowing mouthful of the beast's, um, "retaliatory discharge." It's all fun and games until you have to watch the poop ACTUALLY COME OUT -- like a sloppy, nightmarish Play-Doh Fun Factory -- and rest assured, this movie's not playing around.

This is pretty much how I felt the whole time
Sands recently claimed that Magic Lizard was produced as a TV movie at the behest of a Japanese network. If you're a Japanese television station in 1985 and you're going to show a close-up of a ten-inch-wide buffalo turd being grunted out into plain view, do you have to warn your viewers ahead of time? Because I tried to get a few different friends to watch Magic Lizard with me, and I only thought it fair to warn them.

I ended up watching it by myself.

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