Beaks: The Movie (1987)

Beaks: The MovieDirector: Rene Cardona Jr.

Stars: Christopher Atkins, Michelle Johnson, Sonia Infante


Vanessa, a television reporter covering a story of a farmer attacked by his chickens, discovers that this is not an isolated incident. Travelling to Spain with her cameraman Peter, the two discover the survivors of a town wiped out by the birds thirty years ago. Meanwhile, attacks continue as a child’s birthday party ends in tragedy and doves devour a poultry farmer and his wife. Vanessa soon comes to the conclusion that the birds are organising themselves against the ecological ravages of man, but time is running out as thousands of birds launch an attack against a train Vanessa is travelling on.

Well, I don’t really know how this happened, but it seems to be Rene Cardona Jr. season around here, and with that I bring you his schlock classic “Beaks: The Movie”, the second and hopefully last film in this Cardona Jr.-a-thon.  The short synopsis above may make you think of another powerhouse in the world of bad cinema, “Birdemic: Shock and Terror”, and you’d be right to think about that as it, and it’s sequel “Birdemic 2: The Resurrection”, would make a great night of badness based bird brain banter. Maybe even throw in “Zombie V: Killing Birds” as well. Damn, I’ve just realised how many crap films there are about birds that go mental and start killing people, I should probably stop thinking about it and crack on with the review.

Do you think if he "accidently" shot Peter he could get away with it? It's worth the risk in my opinion.

Do you think if he “accidently” shot Peter he could get away with it? It’s worth the risk in my opinion.

Not long after the film starts does one discover that it’s absolute arse, and yes, some pigeons are being shot to death for fun. Honestly, I’m not purposfully reviewing films that include real animal deaths, it’s not something I look for in a film, it just seems to be happening. Oh hang on, the guy doing the shooting is blindfolded and our heroes, Vanessa and Peter, are reporting on it like it’s a wonderful thing. Just when it looks like we’re supposed to be impressed by this, Peter asks the guy why he is actually doing it and he replies “For pleasure”. What a guy!

So back in Madrid, where everyone seems to be speaking in an American accent, Vanessa is totally nonplussed about her new assignment that invovles some chickens that attacked some people. She tells her boss this but he’s all sleazy and tells her to just do it before inviting her to a party. She declines and storms out. Next up we see a man at home with a nurse looking after him. Apparently he’s feeling a lot better. As he walks out onto his balcony, and before I can even start to wonder who he is or what ails him, a massive bird flies up to him and claws his eye out.

Well that came from nowhere.

Well that came from nowhere.

Again, as I’m trying to take in what just happened, we cut back to Vanessa reporting on the chicken incident. This is the single worst piece of reporting I’ve seen, real or not. She even seems to lose track of what she’s saying at one point and kind of just stumbles along until she finishes. Now, how Peter isn’t saying to her to do it again is a problem for me, but surely Rene Cardona Jr. could have gotten another take of this scene, but it carries on in the same vein as Vanessa starts interviewing the chicken farmer in a church. She’s standing about twenty feet from him, asking him questions, then pointing the microphone in his general direction. He’s basically telling them that any bird he comes into contact with starts attacking him, but after saying that’s pretty hard to believe, Vanessa produces a caged canary. To prove that the man is lying, she releases the bird, but it twats him in the cheek and flies through the door. Nice one Vanessa, seriously, the last couple of minutes of this film needs to be seen to be believed.

After a scene where a load of birds crash through the windows of a plane, attack the pilot, and cause it to crash and explode on impact, Vanessa and Peter arrive at the guy who had his eye poked out’s house for an interview. He tells them that he used to be a hunter, but now he’s basically the hunted, because everywhere he goes, a flock of doves follow him. After Vanessa and Peter act like they’re listening to the gargling warbles of a raving mentalist, with Peter actually asking him if maybe he could be giving off vibrations that are provoking the birds, he tells them about a town in Rome that was attacked by birds thirty years ago and that he knows two of the survivors. Their response?  “I guess we’re going to Rome!”. Why am I finding this couple so hard to like?

Meanwhile in Puerto Rico... (revel in the quality of this picture)

Meanwhile in Puerto Rico… (revel in the quality of this picture)

Cut straight to Rome, and to that roundabout you see in any film when they suddenly cut to Rome, you know, to signify that they’re in Rome? Anyway, after interviewing the survivors, the duo seem to still be unbelieving in the whole birds attacking people story, but before we know it, the viewer is whisked off to Puerto Rico to meet some family that we’re supposed to start caring about twenty minutes into the film. So husband, wife, son and daughter are frolicking amongst a group of pigeons in a park until after a while the birds turn nasty and they have to escape to the safety of their car. That’s that scene done then.

Vanessa and David are now driving under a sign that says Madrid. I really wish this film could stay in one place for at least five minutes, at least on the same continent please! After hearing about a priest that was attacked by wild ducks on the radio, they both giggle and claim that it must be a joke. “The world’s gone bird crazy!” Peter says, I hope that at least one of these two idiots die, and the sooner the better. The guy who’s eye was stolen, and who’s name I still haven’t caught yet, is talking to his grandaughter on the phone. Now, I know you shouldn’t expect too much from a child actor, especially in a Rene Cardona Jr. film, but this girl is terrible, to the point that when she passes the phone to her mother, she says bye to her grandad when the phones about a foot away from her face. Sharon, Eyepatch’s daughter, tells him that it’s Cathy’s, Eyepatch’s grandaughter, birthday tomorrow and that they’re coming to visit. Eyepatch tells them that’s a great idea, even though there’s birds literally flying at his windows as he’s speaking. Eyepatch loads one of his shotguns and goes outside to shoot some of them.

Have you seen my Tippi Hedren impression?

Have you seen my Tippi Hedren impression?

Back with our main protagonists in the bedroom and yeah, it turns out they were an item all along even though the film gave absolutely no impression of this so far. I’m not bothered anyway, their lives mean nothing to me. Hey, it’s the chicken farmer that Vanessa nearly killed with a canary, that’s more like it. He’s sitting in his kitchen having supper with his wife when birds start flying at his door. After getting his gun, he opens the door to look outside but everything seems quiet. Just as he says to his wife there’s nothing there and starts to close it, a piss load of birds fly inside and destroy them both using their beaks.

“What a dismal fate it is to have to share the planet with assholes who have to call at a moment like this!” is what Peter shouts to Vanessa after she has to hand him her glass of champagne and get out of the bath they were sharing to go and answer the phone. When she answers and finds out about the deaths of the farmer, who she nearly killed because she didn’t believe him, and his wife, Vanessa immediately sees this as a great reporting opportunity and says she’ll be straight there, Meanwhile, Peter starts talking to his penis saying stuff like “sorry, buddy” and “maybe next time”. This is the kind of infuriating toss I’m having to put up with whilst watching these two. My ever growing hatred of them is really pulling down my eventual rating and after scenes like that, all I can say is this film owes me big time in the next hour or so.

Have I come at a bad time?

Have I come at a bad time?

After seeing another couple of not so hot actors getting snuffed by seagulls in a campervan, we join the family again. Remember? The family that got attacked in the park? What a sight for sore eyes they are after having to spend so much time with Vanessa and Peter. So it turns out that they’ve pulled up to the beach where that couple just got killed in the camper, and they’ve got a flat tyre. The husband/dad (this film really isn’t very good at dishing out the names of characters) attempts to replace it, but realises that he doesn’t have a jack, I like him already. The kids run over to the camper to ask it’s occupants if they have one and the son opens the door without knocking or anything. I guess when the man’s bloodied body immediately falls out right infront of him, he may never be so cheeky again for the rest of his life.

The family are soon driving away (I guess the dad must have still gone and got the jack from the dead people), until they come across another bus load of bodies. Startled by this the husband starts to drive off again, but only makes it about ten yards before his car gets stuck in sand. A load of birds come flying from the bus, so the family retreat to a nearby building. After another rubbish interview by Vanessa with a jumped up zookeeper in a scientist’s coat, A woman comes running to the building where the family are staying screaming for help, so the wife lets her in. She tells them that the pier would be a better hiding place than this building so they all head towards it. Why would it be a better hiding place? Why didn’t the woman just go straight there? Whyyyyy!? When they get to the pier (it’s actually nothing more than a small jetty) they all jump in the water and actually hide underneath it. So this is the place that’s better than the secure building? Okay then…

Another eye for the collection.

Another eye for the collection.

Right, who’s this? Some couple we’ve never seen before and who’s names we’ll probably never learn are handgliding, and soon enough there’s birds circling them. Eventually one of them dive bombs the guy, who we do learn is called Alex because the woman shouts it, so well done film, and tears out one of his eyes causing him to crash in to some rocks and die. They now start going after the woman and one gets her with it’s claws in the cheek, but she seems to be a top quality handglider and lands pretty sharpish on the beach. The bird is still in pursuit so she gets a pole thing out of her handglider and the next time the bird tries to dive bomb her, she stabs it. She then proceeds to chin it with her helmet. We then see the family speeding off in a boat. I’d still have prefered to be in that building.

Vanessa and Peter have a conversation and blah blah. Oh look, It’s Cathy’s birthday party at Eyepatch’s, and he’s decided to hold it outside where all the birds can get to them with no problem. What a stroke of genius! Vanessa and Peter get on a train, whatever. Eyepatch notices that there’s a lot of birds circling above his house. He says he doesn’t like the look of it and orders everybody inside. What was he expecting was going to happen? Has doing an interview with Vanessa killed the majority of his brain cells? All the kids eventually get inside, but there’s always one isn’t there? Some girl called Paty has stayed outside and started pissing about so Eyepatch has to go and grab her, but in the process of rescuing her, he gets his other eye ripped out, has a heart attack and eventually gets pecked to death. Thanks Paty, now go and get saved by Sharon, that’s a good girl.

We need a nurse! Oh wait...

We need a nurse! Oh wait…

That nurse from near the start of the film is at the party and some birds have just gotten through a window and scraped her eyes out. She just fell down a flight of stairs, I reckon she died. yep, she did, it just showed her body, but somehow she’s got eyes again now, I’ve honestly given up caring about the continuity in this mess. Sharon, Cathy and Patsy have locked themselves in a room, but there’s birds coming through the chimney, so Sharon batters them with a poker and lights the fire as film crew members throw live birds against the door to make it look like they’re trying to get in. Meanwhile the train that’s kept Vanessa and Peter quiet for a while comes across a load of sheep blocking the track. Typically, Peter wants the driver to murder them all with the train, but he refuses saying there’s too many of them. Vanessa’s moving through the carriages like she owns them, and when one man asks who she is and why she’s giving orders, she basically tells him to go outside and get killed by the birds. Why he didn’t instantly grab her stupid little face and squeeze it until she said sorry is beyond me.

The birds attack the train but Vanessa and Peter don’t die, the sheep move and they drive off again. Sharon and the kids escape the house and drive away in a van and then we cut to Vanessa on the news saying that all the killing has stopped and the birds have basically gone back to normal. We see the nameless family and the nameless handgliding girl watching this broadcast all safe at home. The film ends with a shot of a pond and a buzzing sound, then what seems to be some water based bugs fly out of the water, possibly to destroy the human race. Please start with Vanessa and Peter. As the end credits role, I’m left to guess who any of these names belong to, then I remember that I just don’t care and I shut it off.

Vanessa and Peter being condescending as per...

Vanessa and Peter being condescending as per…

Well that was gash, I’d recommend watching some kind of best/worst of video rather than the whole film as it can get pretty boring in places, but even worse, whenever the two main protagonists are on screen, it just becomes annoying and by the time you get to the half hour mark, you want it to get to the point and end, always hoping that one of the “heroes” gets killed slowly and painfully along the way. If you have a real need to watch a film about birds going postal, then I’d recommend “Birdemic”, or “Killing Birds”, there’s also this old film from 1963 called “The Birds” by some British director, maybe that’s worth checking out, anything but “Beaks”, I seriously hope to never have to watch this putrid mess again. Cheers.


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3 Responses to Beaks: The Movie (1987)

  1. Pingback: The Bermuda Triangle (1978) | Damian Thomas Films.. Etc

  2. Pingback: Zombi 3 (1988) | Damian Thomas Films.. Etc

  3. Tom says:

    This honestly sounds better than Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds.’ (I do love ‘The Birds,’ though. It should be noted.) 😉

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