Thursday, November 5, 2015

Review: Slimy Little Bastards

Text © Richard Gary / Indie Horror Films, 2015
Images from the Internet
Slimy Little Bastards
Written and directed by Dave Parker
66 minutes, 2015
I’ve never met Dave Parker, haven’t even had a real conversation with him online. However, I am still impressed by his progress in the genre. He started out (and continues in this capacity) as a video review vlogger under the name of MrParka (yes, one word, and worth checking out). Then he started acting (e.g., Bath Salt Zombies [2013] and Headless [2015]), and now he’s directed his first – er – filmella… so what do you call a film that is longer than a “short” but shorter than a feature? I just adopted the “novella” to film terms. No big whoop.
Anyway, for his first shot at fictional directing (he also directed a documentary short), it only makes sense that (a) it’s in the horror genre, and (b) he has people around him he’s been working with for a while, such as director/actor/SFX maven/puppeteer Mills, and actors Erin R. Ryan and Brandon Salkil. Wise move, m’man.
So, if you have watched hundreds of indie horror films every year, seeing some of the best and the worst, and you decided to hop on the wagon yourself, what would you decide to choose as your topic? Cleverly, Parker chose the anthology.
Brandon Salkil
The three stories have a wrap-around in the basement of a mysterious man in a red cape (Cary Ewell look-alike Salkil). He receives a shipment of three vials with, well, slimy things (looks like Jell-O). Y’see, he’s a collector of “rare creatures,” such as the (puppet) Nippler, who is somewhat reminiscent of the Scred puppet from early Saturday Night Live. He tells these tales to a gun-toting mysterious man (Keith Voight Jr.) who claiming his car broke down. Salkil chews more scenery than the slimy bastards munch on humans, but actually, that’s the role, and Salkil kills it with a humorous turn. I’ve seen him do some serious stuff (e.g., Skinless [2013]) and the man can act. Here, he ahcts!
First up is “Organic Shit,” about a shy, hungry man (Jeremy Ryan) who doesn’t talk and moves very precisely (autistic?). His apartment (I am going to assume its Parkers’ in real life as it is filled with DVDs; it is used in all three stories), after coming back from I’m presuming work, he has some strange green stuff coming out of his drain. He contacts the maintenance man (Mills) with a very funny and fake Russian?/Polish? accent. If you’ve seen the Blob, you may get some idea of the germination of this story. However, even with a few actual jump scares, it ends quite humorously (don’t worry, I won’t give it away), and definitely not how I expected.
Erin R. Ryan
The second tale is of the blue Jell-O, called “Brain Busters.” Poor Sandy (the underrated Erin R. Ryan) is going through a period of depression, thanks in part to a previous childhood bully (Salkil) and guilt-inducing mother (Melinda Parker…Dave’s mom?). She is under the care of a psychologist (Mills) who gives her an experimental psychotropic medication to put in her ear. Of course, the effects are not what are expected.
While this story also has humor, it is also a lot more dramatic and definitely more artistically shot than the previous one. Usually, the way many anthologies work, is they put a decent one to start, the weakest in the middle, and the best for last. Well, that’s not true here, nearly completely because of Ryan (I am a self-admitted fan from her previous work). She takes what could be a silly tale and turns it into an emotional one on a level you might not expect. My analogy is she’s like someone who takes a temp job and then just works the hell out of it and impresses everyone.
Also, as I said, Parker shows some bolder artistic moves, using stylish editing, some accurate casting and more thoughtful storytelling in general, even with something as goofy as this creature is, apparently.
Dave Parker (aka MrParka)
“The Crusties” is the third and longest piece. After meeting a crusty (pun intended) construction worker named Walter (MrParka) who accidentally eats some green goop that somehow got on his sandwich at a work site, we are introduced to a bunch of his friends, including most of the cast (sans Erin) playing themselves; they all meet to play a game of D&D (is that still a thing anymore?). There is a lot of scatological humor in this episode, and the one about gas station nachos had me laughing (and, bringing back specific, unpleasant memories). So while the guys are playing the game, in walks Walter who immediate hits the water closet, and squirts out more of the green goo, which turn into said juggalo Crusties creatures bent on killing our out-of-their-league – er – heroes.
Okay, I’m going to come out and say it, but please stick around. This story is stupid as shit (pun, again, intended), but honestly, I believe it was supposed to be. What I mean is, generally, you get to see some of the cast and crew having a blast together, and that transmits out to the audience, if you’re open minded to it. I do believe if you’re watching this, there is a good chance you’re in that fortunate frame of mind.
The Crusties
Much of the gore in the film is seen pretty often, albeit a bit cartoonish, with occasional bits being beautiful, such as the ear gag in “The Crusties.” The make-up and slime in the wraparound were mostly by Brandon’s (hey big guy, how youse doin’?!) spouse, Sherriah Salkil, also part of the Mills merry collective, and the puppets were created by Jeremy Ryan, which are as fakey looking as possible. In fact, it is to the point where I believe that it was supposed to be that way, for comic effect, leaning towards the Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) level (e.g., the floating “Crustie”). If that’s so, I consider that a success.
Making films can be like poetry or masturbation: it should be done for oneself, but except in the case of the latter, it’s one’s personal passion put out to the public. It’s important to know about the source as much as it is for the source to understand their audience. And this is definitely geared towards the Dustin Mills audience (and beyond-yond-yond [if this was audio, there would be an echo effect there]), especially since Mills has recently delved into the darker side of the Torment subgenre. This is a good way to reach The Puppet Monster Massacre (2010) audience that may have been felt left behind, but still like the Mills group.
Okay, I understand that Parker is not Mills, but it’s essentially the same body with a different head. I’m sure Mills was there helping along, and rightfully so… I would want someone with experience in my corner; when Young Frankenstein (1974) was created, for example, there were segments actually directed by Gene Wilder under Mel Brooks’ direction, to prepare him for helming The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother (1975). It’s all good.
Most of the cast is also most of the crew, as is common in micro-budget filming (the cost is listed as $1000, and I’ll bet most of that went to supplies for creating the puppets and gore, and largely for the cast’s food), and for a first time out, Parker was in good hands. The end result is something that is goofy, ridiculous, funny, and mostly an end product to be proud of, in my opinion. I’m looking forward to your next excursion, MrParka!

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