Wednesday, July 31, 2013


If I had to come up with a Grindhouse double feature showcasing two recent movies that embody the spirit of the term Grindhouse I would look no further than Die Develkok, Die and Thrill Kill. These are two new films, one long, one short from two friends of mine. I want to run through each movie separately, but I can assure you as a pairing they fit together puzzle piece solid. From the bowels of indie filmmaking and all budgetary restraints aside we are talking about two movies, effective, fun, dark and dirty. Both are festival ready though not tested as of yet.

A Mike Dobrzelecki Film

What if you woke up one morning and decided that it was probably best if today was your last? For any reason... then, what if you dropped a bullet in the back of your cranium and waived this mortal coil a fond adieu, or at least that was the plan before you COULDN'T FUCKING DIE. Welcome to the plight/gift of Terry Develkok; a man with nothing to live for except his new mission in life... to be the good guy and to fuck up the baddie bad guys.


Mike Dobrzelecki wrote and directed a film that plays on the Groundhog Day theme add violence and purpose that isn't purely internal or lovey dovey. Mike is a super hero creator. Terry Develkok, the man of steel. Fuck Kryptonite. Terry Develkok can't die, and that's something you can take to the bank. No cape necessary. It's in this hero that we find our own struggle with the forces of evil and redemption. Best of all, you can root for Terry D and excpect him to win, like Rocky only bloodier. Ivan Drago is a pussy compared to Terry D. (but don't tell him I said that).

The reason you'll love Die Develkok, Die is due to some excellent casting in Chad Laha. He's got a big. He's balding. He's got that look that screams bad ass motherfucker, and Samuel L. Jackson didn't even open empty out his wallet. His performance is assertive with excellent comic timing and turns up the high heat when the energy level  demands it. From there you can just pick your ultimate bad guy whether it be: Creepo the Clown (Dustin Rye), The Preacher! (David Hardin) or Pimp Daddy! (Anthony Thomas). It's a darker version the Batman villain alliance, a cavalcade of sinister characters based on your stereotypical grindy bad folks with distinctly Develkokian touches. The Creepo the Clown make especially the chin is daunting and evokes images of your worst circus nightmares.

The thing to remember when you finally get to enjoy DDD is that it's shot on a low budget. Very low. That doesn't excuse flaws because even an indie filmmaker should hold himself to a high standard, but it will help to explain some of the minor glitches in the production value. Die Develkok, Die does transcend its budget, but at times might suffer from slower moments, moments where the action isn't moving or where a fight scene could be more evil comic SMASH AND POW rather than a squirt of fake blood here or there. You work with the budget you have, and you create the best that you can and you play to your strengths. In this instance our director chose to go gonzo gaga for over the top action but left some of the high budget draining physical effects for the follow up effort. 

I consider works like DDD to be a jumping off point for a filmmaker. It shows what he is capable of. In this instance we have a Mike Dobrzelecki putting together an intelligible movie that is also funny and full of the gooshy gooey yuck with credible baddies and a positive outlook on dark action. It's got a great, feel good moral too and creates a character that will most likely have to return to fight the forces of evil or darkness or bad when the time is right. Son of Develkok? Beware of the Develkok. 

Make sure you like Die Develkok, Die on Facebook here and keep your eyes peeled for future screening, releases or full film posts in the future. This film had a successful funding project and a great opening night. It even made it from a short film to a feature.  Let's see where it goes from here. 

A Zach Shildwachter Film

When you put the words thrill and kill in the same sentence, you automatically have me. As an MLWTTKK lover (that's My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult) the two words have more sentimental attachment that most other pairings. That's just a little tidbit about what my brain said when it saw the title card and received a link for the full short film. The next step would be to actually watch this effort by Zach Shildwachter who wrote, directed and did effects work for the production among other tasks. This is a piece of indie short gold, something to enjoy, and it tops out at 7 minutes so when it's over you can watch it again.

The whole thing starts off with a robbery gone wrong... or at least you think it's gone wrong. What unravels is the reason you watch the film. The twists and turns of a demented human mind, exposed to perfect comedic effect but the kind of comedy that you have to be disturbed yourself to enjoy. It's funny and gross and without any true flaw to speak of. A true festival short (festivals take notice). This movie maybe only seven minutes, but its the best kind of thrill ride (thrill kill ride). Like one seven minute ride on a Gravitron inside a rollercoaster on top of a Scambler.

Zach Shildwachter is an effects guy, and his work in Thrill Kill stands out. It's effective and fun. We're not talking about someone who went to the butcher and dropped pig guts through the back window of a Mustang. His work is in your face with enough gore to fill a seven minute span appropriately. I prefer my blood a tone more Crayola, but that's the H.G. Lewis freak in me. I remember watching Zach's audition video for the effects TV show Face Off and being impressed. Put together with a competant cast and good camera work, and the effects stand out.

Also, of note, the soundtrack fucking rocks. Shitty on Blatz, Crows Labyrinth and The High Gears (who fucking rock). If you like the music, most of these bands are putting out material and you should support them as well. 

Before we leave Thrill Kill, let's mention The Studio on Mars, a video production company that made Thrill Kill look professional and gave it an edge. Indie filmmakers looking to put polish on their project may want to consider them a viable option because Thrill Kill looks great.
You can find The Studio on Mars on Facebook Here or at their website Here. You can read all about Thrill Kill and see the full credit listing on their Vimeo page Here

At the Grindhouse? Let's just start with the internet for now and wish these fellas and their teams extra good luck.


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