BluRay/DVD Reviews


By • Jan 6th, 2014 •

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There are tent-poles, big budgets, medium budgets, low budgets, micro-budgets, no-budgets, and perhaps a few others wedged in there. SAG even recognizes the ultra low budget films with recent contracts that allow their members to get a piece of the action rather than a salary, if not up front, than if the film ever comes out.

MOLD, I suspect, was a micro-budget film, and its seams show, but one has to consider the budget of this kind of film when applying critical standards. You can’t compare it to IRON MAN, or even to whatever the 1.2 million that Spike Lee just raised on Kickstarter will yield. And if you approach it critically on its own budgetary level, then MOLD is a good film with lots of effective gore effects and humor.

The claustrophobically confined story unfolds in a secret scientific installation where a new deadly mold is being produced to deal with such scenarios as terrorists in other countries. However, the destiny of all involved in this project are doomed to deal with the rampant effect of the spores before it’s even cleared for use by the government.

It says (twice) on the box cover, that this film was made in the spirit of eighties horror flicks like STREET TRASH (which I wrote and produced). But on the commentary track, the film they invoke is GHOSTBUSTERS, and I can see it. Funny, and with green slime.

Actually I can see ST in it as well. A guy’s stomach explodes. We did that, but having more dough to throw around, we were able to actually show it. Both our actor and theirs were able to distend their stomachs in a way that made them look as if they were about to explode. But they shot their actor in such tight close-ups that the effect looked like a prosthetic, which I don’t understand: it would have been better, since he had the ability to do contort his body, to show a full-body shot.

The SVA connection to MOLD is unusual as well. I was teaching there in ’85 when STREET TRASH was done as a fourth year thesis project. Director-etc-etc Meschino was also a ST alum, and shot some of the scenes inside the school.

The cast is physically well chosen, and give earnest performances that are balanced between high-decibel delivery and being rooted in the inner logic of the story. They give it their unbridled commitments, and most of them are quite effective, aided by a good script that is surprisingly intelligent and full of smart twists.

Rick Haymes is lots of fun as an anxious chief scientist, and I still laugh at his pitiful delivery of the line “I got some in my mouth.” The filmmakers wisely found a way, in the editing, to replay the line a few more times because it was so much fun.

Lawrence George, as the scientist with his head most on his shoulders, is decent, and Ardis Campbell as the stiff, professional, lone female of the bunch is given to extremely likeable moments (when asked to undress for a mold scan, she says “We’re all adults here…”

Other strong cast members are Edward X. Young as the cigar-smoking Colonel, and Mike Keller as his military aid who still somehow obeys his commanding officer’s orders even after the enemy spores have completely infiltrated his brain. Keller has some wonderful physical bits.

Interspersed throughout the end titles you see the cast members getting inundated with the green glop, and appreciate what good sports they were.

Now oddly enough, there is one more tenuous connection between this film and my work: which is that I’ve written a script called NOCTURNE FOR A DYING PLANET, that is out on the coast with my agent now, in which, in the wake of the destruction of the Ozone layer, a blanket of green fungus carpets the earth, and takes animal life as well. It’s a zombie-noir, kind of CHINATOWN meets THE WALKING DEAD. But the green stuff is quite a co-incidence. I wrote both the script and the novelization over a year ago, and only saw MOLD two weeks ago. But still. Strange happenstance.

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