Starring Monster Mark
Directed by Monster Mark
When you first fall in love with movies, you do silly things because of it. Even the biggest names in film have some interesting cinematic beginnings to their works … from recreating Kong’s final moments on top of the Empire State Building to shoddy home movies with siblings in pajamas and capes. It is the prerequisite for all aspiring filmmakers:
You have to make something, anything to get started. Just be prepared to have it pop up on a DVD in the future as a bonus once you have hit the big time.
Such is the case with a small film I had the chance to see while doing my duties for the Eerie Horror Film Festival. In the wide field of films that I have been subjected to, I have seen a lot of things that try to do it but fall short for one reason or another. The most aggravating of all of these are the movies that fail out of an attempt to take themselves way too seriously. It is as if the film creators have fallen into a trap that only allows them to think that their 15-minute short is the equivalent of a film fest version of Passion of the Christ, a film that all film geeks will rush to see out of some mindless lemming need because it is just that good, that important, that one short film that will cause all of us to stop and say, “Wow, everything else is inconsequential!”
Trust me, that never happens.
But the mindset I have mentioned does happen, painfully all too often.
Thankfully we have guys like Monster Mark, a local student who has brought the torrid tale of a boy, his two roommates, and a pet tarantula to reality. The film, which is some 20-odd minutes in length, is a direct interpretation of 1950’s big bug bonanzas. I give the kid kudos for not making it a zombie film. Too often we see films from budding Romero/Fulci-ites who want nothing but to make their mark on the undead world. If anyone takes any advice from this review, it should be this: DO NOT make your first film a zombie opus. Few novices have the craft needed to wrangle this alluring vestige of the genre. More people need to follow Monster Mark’s example and go for something different. It was very ballsy material to try to undertake as a young student director, but even in light of its shortcomings, the film has some shining, promising things to say about the hands that crafted it.
Monster Mark decided to go the honorable route when it came to the special effects. They are cheap and kept off camera until needed. Instead of falling victim to forcing things to happen, he allows them to. This is a great lesson to fellow film students out there. Keep it within your means. Do not try to go outside of where you can; it will only show in the end.
Next, instead of stereotypical archetypes, Mark seeded his world, with the notable exception of one character, with realistic, down-to-earth individuals. Granted, this proved to be a necessity as the cast is comprised of various folks from the Edinboro community, but the point is no less valid. Instead of filling your project up with things and people you are unfamiliar with, write and film what you know. There are lines of dialogue that made me laugh. Do you know how hard that is to do? I watch student films with a grain of salt the size of which Godzilla could not even lift, and here we have a kid who gets a guffaw out of me with the sheer ease of the scene’s delivery. Why? Because it was real, it struck a chord. Even though I didn’t think hitting the microwave made sense, I knew at some point in my life I had met a person who acted like that.
Lastly, it does not wear out its welcome. Just as things start to look like we are setting up to head outside of where the film’s construct can handle, it ends. We get no denouement, no big shoot-out; there is just an end. Closing with a hearty chuckle and a wink, this is the world that we have come to inhabit for the last third of an hour. It is well deserved and expected.
It does sadden me to think that most people in the horror community will never get to see Monster Mark’s film, for it is an example of an earnest attempt at developing one’s sense of cinematic self. I am anxious to see where Mark goes from here. In the hands of a lesser *ahem* reviewer, Edinboro Meets the Spider may have been panned completely, easily dismissed as one of a thousand similar types of films that are needlessly pumped out each year by aspiring wannabes. Folks, I am not here to kid you; this film is not the second coming of horror, but it does present an interesting discussion. One that I challenge our readers to take up the next time they are presented with the opportunity to watch the results of mixing love, imagination, and talent. Look closely, there is something hiding there. Just you watch.
3 out of 5
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