It remains to be seen if their laugh quotients will be higher or lower than their meager budgets, but you might be interested in viewing the trailers for four very low budget horror comedies in the works: Ghost Shark 2: Urban Jaws, Attack of the Indian Werewolf, The Creature from Lake Michigan, and Thems!
First up from New Zealand is Ghost Shark 2: Urban Jaws. Not a sequel, just a campy comedy from filmmakers Andrew Todd and Johnny Hal about a ghost shark terrorizing the good citizens of Auckland, New Zealand.
When Ghost Shark escapes from his extradimensional prison to terrorize Auckland, Mayor Broody calls in an expert ghost shark hunter to protect the citizens and finally defeat the creature.
Ghost Shark 2: Urban Jaws is now in production. Somewhere a Syfy executive is watching this trailer and wondering why it has to be a comedy.
When you hear the title Attack of the Indian Werewolf, you probably don’t think South African cinema. Masood Boomgaard is the brains behind this very low budget South African horror spoof with an Indian twist.
Brandon (Neville Pillay) is a timid electronics store clerk whose life is turned upside down when a chance encounter with the mystical jadoo bean transforms him into a ferocious wolf-like creature from which no one is safe — let alone his cheating girlfriend (Avashnee Vandiar) and abusive boss (A.K Khan).
Brandon’s spontaneous transformations into the beast cause him to unleash bloody carnage across his town, and it is up to his best friend, the over-the-top Kuben (Sanjeev Singh), and his childhood sweetheart, Samantha (Kajal Maharaj, to find a cure to the jadoo bean’s curse and put an end to the havoc.
This teaser trailer is something to behold. I never knew South Africans were such big fans of potty humor. If so, Larry the Cable Guy’s movies must be worshiped in South Africa the way the French revere Jerry Lewis.
We return to the US and head for The Creature from Lake Michigan, a motion picture 21 years in the making. I’ll just copy & paste the comedy of errors that kept this slice of regional cinema from us for over two decades.
The Creature from Lake Michigan is a super-low-budget comedy/horror/spoof feature film that began production on the shores of Lake Michigan on September 5th, 1989, and was finally completed in Portland, Oregon, on September 14th, 2010.
That’s right; it took twenty-one years.
Shot on 16mm film for less than $30,000, The Creature from Lake Michigan was originally intended to launch Nocturnal Pictures, a Chicago-based movie studio. The brain-child of four starry-eyed Columbia College film school students (a producer, a cinematographer, a writer/director, and his film-maker wife), the shoot was supposed to be completed within a month and the movie on video store shelves within half a year.
And then everything went spectacularly wrong.
From personality clashes to revoked permits, from freezing weather to being brought up on charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Creature became a slow-motion train wreck.
Two years later, the grueling production had wrecked the friendship of the original partners, left everyone broke, and become a huge source of guilt for the producer, who had borrowed most of the original budget from his family. The film was essentially finished, but way too long, without a musical score, and only on a low quality video transfer from the original work-print edit. To finish it with the technology of the day would take at least another $50,000. And so The Creature from Lake Michigan was shelved.
There was one positive note. The guilt-ridden producer had hired a lovely production manager for the shoot and the two had fallen in love.
The film probably wouldn’t have ever seen the light of day again except for two things. The first was that in 2006, the five-year-old daughter of the producer and his lovely production manager wife asked him how he met her mother and was very upset that she couldn’t see the film that had brought them together. The second was that the following day, one of the producer’s friends got a job at a film transfer company and mentioned that he could offer really low rates on after-hours transfer sessions.
And so the painstaking process of finding, transferring, logging, restoring, and digitally re-editing the original film began. There were opening titles to create, special effects to generate, and a musical score to commission – all to be squeezed in around a full-time job and, later, the birth of a second daughter.
There were countless late nights, tons of technical setbacks, and a few very pointed questions from friends about why so much time, effort, and money was being put into a film that was decades out of date. But, despite it all, in September of 2010, twenty-one years after the cameras first rolled, The Creature was finally finished.
Now, whether it was worth it or not, whether it’s sometimes better to just let go of a dream or keep on working even after it all seems pointless, those are questions for other people to answer. As far as The Creature from Lake Michigan goes, the producer and his lovely production-manager wife showed it to their daughters (who wouldn’t exist if it hadn’t been for the movie), and they both laughed and asked to see it again.
Was it time well spent? I’ll let you judge by watching the trailer. Could it be the greatest film of its kind since King Kung Fu? For more visit the official The Creature from Lake Michigan website.
Finally, we have the teaser trailer for Thems!, a still in-production melding of atomic age monster movies of the Fifties and grindhouse cinema of the Seventies. Filmmaker Eliab Alvarez de la Campa and production company ReelsurReal are keeping the plot of Thems! under wraps aside from this icky hint:
…it involves mutant roaches taking over the ghetto.
Given recent headlines, how long until someone makes an urban insect flick about mutant bedbugs on the prowl?
Thanks to watchful eye of Avery Guerra for the tips.
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