The Guild hosted a great event for the premiere of Super. There was a superhero costume contest that took place before the film started. The contestants all got up on stage and presented their costumes, and winners were determined based on audience applause. The two runner-ups received three-day passes to the upcoming Albuquerque Comic Book Expo. The grand prize winner received a Super movie script autographed by the cast of the film. I was fortunate enough to be that grand prize winner, with my reused Comic Con costume Quail Man! Anyway, Super is about a man named Frank (played by Rainn Wilson) whose wife (played by Liv Tyler) leaves him to be with a drug lord (played by Kevin Bacon). One night, Frank has a vision of God and television superhero The Holy Avenger (Nathan Fillion) basically telling him to go out and fight for good. Frank soon becomes a super hero called The Crimson Bolt, and with the help of sidekick Boltie (Ellen Page), they try fight crime and save his wife. Super is written and directed by Troma product James Gunn (Slither), so you can bet you’ll see some fun gore. Overall, this is one of the more realistic takes on the super hero genre and a refreshing one at that.
The last of the three New Mexico independent films on this list, Necroville is about the fictional town of Necroville where humans live in conjunction with zombies, werewolves, vampires and other monsters. Two friends, Zach and Alex (played by the film’s writers Billy Garberina and Adam Jarmon Brown) get a job working for Zom-B-Gone, a sort of monster extermination company. Besides the duo’s side adventures fighting monsters, the other plot revolves around Zach and his girlfriend Penny, whose relationship is going through some troubling times. Penny’s ex Clark (played by the always funny Mark Chavez) returns to town, and just so happens to be the master of a coven of vampires. This leads to an awesome rooftop showdown between the duo and Clark, leading to one of the most unique deaths ever captured on film. Kurly Tlapoyawa of Burning Paradise Video makes a small appearance as the former sensei of Zach and Clark.
Before I describe this, please note this film is NOT Repo Men starring Jude Law. In fact, a quick history, creator Darren Smith came up with the concept in 1996. It was originally created as a stage show, but later conceptualized as a film. Repo Men is based on a book (Repossession Mambo) written in 2003. Anyway, Repo! takes place in a future where an epidemic of organ failures has occurred. A company, GeneCo, devised an industry in which people could lease organs. If they fail to make a payment, then the repo man comes and removes the organ, thus killing the person. Repo! is about 90% singing and the soundtrack is mainly a mix of opera and industrial rock. The film stars Alexa Vega (Spy Kids), Anthony Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas), Bill Moseley (Devil’s Rejects), opera singer Sarah Brightman and a surprisingly watchable Paris Hilton. Repo! is now a cult favorite that has inspired theater viewings with shadowcasts throughout the country (much like Rocky Horror Picture Show). Of course, if you don’t like actors singing in films, or lots of blood, then this one probably isn’t for you.
I had anticipated this film before the Guild announced it would be showing Fido, so I had high expectations going in. That can usually hurt a film’s chances to be ultimately loved by me, but Fido did not disappoint. Fido takes place in a post-zombie apocalypse 1950’s-like time in which humankind ultimately won a war with the undead. Now communities are fenced in away from the danger zone so life can continue normally. Well, normally is a bit of an overstatement. A company named Zomcon has developed a collar that renders zombies calm and servant-like. The main story revolves around the Robinson family, including father Bill (Dylan Baker), mother Helen (Carrie-Anne Moss) and son Timmy (Kesun Loder). Timmy doesn’t really have any friends so Bill gets him a pet zombie which Timmy names Fido (played perfectly by Billy Connolly). Of course things don’t go quite smoothly and a combination of violence and hilarity ensues. Fido also co-stars Tim Blake Nelson as the Robinson’s neighbor.
It is really hard for me to put together all of the awesomeness of this film into a few sentences. Black Dynamite is sort of a spoof (but more of a comedic homage) to 70’s blaxploitation films. Every part of this film would have you believe this film was actually made in the 70’s with a low budget. The quality of the film looks like it belongs, and there are even site gags and “mistakes” to make it feel like you’re watching one of those films. Black Dynamite centers around a former CIA agent named Black Dynamite (played by Spawn…I mean Michael Jai White) who must now avenge his brother’s death. The story goes all over the place, from black militants, to orphanages filled with crack-addicted children, to Kung-Fu Island (home of the fiendish Dr. Wu) and even to the White House. This has quickly become one of my favorite films to quote (“Your knowledge of scientific biological transmogrification is only outmatched by your zest for kung-fu treachery!”). You may or may not think you’re interested in this film, but so far it has surpassed expectations of everyone I’ve watched it with.