Bill Welch, Matt Shuman, Courtney Gardner, Kimbyr Leigha, Jay Rhae Hagley, Rachel Stromberg Wical
CONCEIVED AND DIRECTED BY
In what is most assuredly one of the most pleasant surprises among a slew of recent indie submissions at The Independent Critic, the mock doc Gore-e-ography: The Making of Death Harmony is an entertaining, well constructed, funny and well, even more funny zombie flick with awesome ninjas thrown in and even a few actors.
In the film, a documentary team follows a motley crew of filmmakers as they struggle to complete their inexperienced director's magnum opus...a horror-musical-melodrama with vampires, ninjas and zombies!
Taking this basic concept and guided by director Anthony Kilburn, the ensemble cast is a wonder to behold as this entirely improvisational film takes on a life of its own that is infinitely watchable, strangely involving, frightfully serious and freakishly funny throughout its 88-minute run time.
There are on-set romances, clashing egos and moments of comical drama that will have you sitting in front of the screening with a silly grin on your face and enjoying the whole thing far more than you might expect from an ultra-low budget production and a cast comprised of mostly improv actors.
Maybe that's the key...by casting with the intention of improv, Gore-e-ography nails its tone perfectly and remains consistent despite the obvious inconsistencies inherent in improv. The film clearly works because everyone here united around Kilburn's artistic vision, a vision he must've communicated clearly because cast and crew alike are always on the same page.
Gore-e-ography, much to its credit, brings to mind many of the worst low-budget films I've had the displeasure to review as a film critic. These films are filled with oversized egos and self-promoting narcissists absolutely convinced that their low-budget productions are going to change the face if cinema forever and will lead to their being swooped up and embraced by Hollywood and moviegoing America. Almost inevitably, instead, these films garner a few positive reviews from wannabe film critics who can't quite spell movie and end up playing only at "Bob's Film Festival" in Podunk, Nebraska in front of a captive and severely intoxicated audience of 37.
This is not an insult of Gore-e-ography, by the way, but rather a high compliment. A mockumentary in the best sense of the word, Gore-e-ography rather joyously rips on the world of indie filmmaking with delightful honesty but equal amounts affection. Kilburn and crew aren't necessarily trying to be mean-spirited about it all, instead they're simply recognizing that even the lowest budget filmmaker can be quite the pretentious prick at times.
The film purports to be a "making of" featurette for Blake Nelsen's soon to be epic Death Harmony, the story of how vampires, zombies and ninjas may finally create a peaceful union once vampire boy and zombie girl seal their planned wedding.
Sound silly? Oh, it is.
Perhaps what makes Gore-e-ography a truly joyous mock doc is that these characters, even without a documented script, are brought vividly to life through the joint efforts of Kilburn and his ensemble cast. As pretentious and irritating as these folks are, you can't help but have a warm affection for them as they set about following their dreams even if their dreams lead to a film that only a mother, a very loving mother, could love.
Made largely in the tradition of films like the faux doc This is Spinal Tap! and the very real doc Anvil! The Story of Anvil, Gore-e-ography largely succeeds because cast and crew balance the film's moments of sheer lunacy and biting humor with simple touches of humanity that endear us to this entire production. The recent doc Best Worst Movie, about the making of the godawful Troll 2, is another example of a film that gently poked fun, not so subtly called out but always maintained a sense of irreverent respect for its subject matter. The same is very much true for Gore-e-ography.
This recently completed film will have its world premiere on October 28th, 2010 at the Florida Theater, 128 East Forsyth, in Jacksonville, FL. Red Carpet is at 6pm with guest seating at 8pm.
Destined to be popular at indie film fests and horror fests nationwide, Gore-e-ography: The Making of Death Harmony is a terrific example of the beauty that can unfold when cast and crew are united in vision and tone. For more information on the film, visit its website and watch for it at a film festival near you. Visit Gore-e-ography.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic