Thursday, March 10, 2016

Free Film: The Survivors

Text © Richard Gary / Indie Horror Films, 2016
Images from the Internet

The Survivors
Written and directed by Steve Rudzinski
Silver Spotlight Film
37 minutes, 2016

Interesting premise here. It starts off with a simple image of cute Cindy (not Sidney) sitting down in front of the television with some popcorn for the evening. As a cool quick easy-to-miss visual, her parking herself down is reflected in the action on the television at the same time, although the person on the television is not her. Anyhoo, the phone rings, and the opening call from Scream (1996) happens (of course, she doesn’t like horror films, so she cannot “play”), and is beset by a quartet of serial killers: Spookface from the previously mentioned Scream, the fisherman from I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), a white and more literal version of the Candyman (1992), and a woman named Brenda whose affiliation escapes me (perhaps 1998’s Urban Legend, as they mention it indirectly?). They, in turn are attacked by a pair of serial killer hunters.

Steve Rudzinski
I know that director Rudzinski is a comic book fanatic of fanboy level (meant as a compliment), and as such he sets this film up as almost an X-Men vs. Brotherhood of Mutants, with humor.  In fact, part of his real life is playing action heroes and villains such as the Beach Boys… I mean Spiderman at big events. A particularly funny bit involves “Frank” (aka Freddy K), played by Rudzinski with two gloves, rather than one, as he waits in Slasher hell for the chance to go back to Earth.

Apparently, the old guard slashers are being put aside for the new, more recent killers. In other words, this film is a sidebar companion to Rudzinski’s previous films, such as the intelligent and no-reason mass murderous, Everyone Must Die! (aka EMD!; 2012). On the other end of the spectrum (i.e., the good guys) include the presence of the title characters from Capt. Z and the Terror of Leviathan (2014) and even Wolfster, Part I: The Curse of the Emo Vamp (2006; a film I haven’t seen yet, sad to say, also played by Rudzinski, reprising his original role as the avenging werewolf).

The good team is filled with not only heroes from Radzinski films, but also the villains are both also from his previous releases, and others who are veiled mainstream slashers. But mostly what makes this film just so great (especially as it’s a love letter to the fans), is its self-referential humor. There are a lot of laughs built in, though if you’ve never seen any of Radzinski’s work, it may leave you scratching your head on occasion.

Part of the referentiality is the breaking of the fourth wall: not in talking to the audience, but rather things like Wolfie saying, “One of my super powers is knowing that we’re actually in a film,” and then picking up a script to see what’s next. However, there is some much subtler rib-stickers, such as the people playing Spookface including writer/actor Michael Varrati, who has written some amazing films like The Sins of Dracula in 2014 for director Richard Griffin, and Dustin Wayde Mills, who directed the likes of Puppet Monster Massacre (2010) and the more recent Her Name is Torment franchise.

Now, if you haven’t seen the previous films, would you be lost? Not necessarily, as so many of the villain characters are shadows of those familiar to all of us horror fans, both indie and mainstream. Not sure? Well, hell, check it out, it’s short at just over half an hour, and what’s more it’s free at the following site – and make sure you stick around for after the credits:

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