Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Mulva: Zombie Ass Kicker! (2000)

Directed by:
Chris Seaver

Debbie Rochon is a great actress, but being a Debbie fan has one major drawback... Having to sit through some of the worst direct-to-video dreck on the market. Case in point is this monotonous "twisted horror comedy" from one of the lowest-of-low-budget directors; Chris Seaver, who directed, wrote, produced, did some of the make-up effects and co-stars. I've seen one reviewer call him a "juvenile idiot with a camcorder," but I'm willing to give him a little slack being pretty familiar with the low-budget film industry in general. Obviously inspired by Lloyd Kaufman and Troma (whom he attempts to emulate and frequently cross-references), Chris seems to have endless enthusiasm, but little actual talent when it comes to making a decent video. Equally inept at both the horror and comedy genres, he intentionally goes out of his way to make crappy films, succeeds and then expects the audience to laugh along at his crappy production values and juvenile in-jokes. Watch more than one of them and you'll just see the same overacting, the same awful gags and the same unfunny pop culture references recycled over and over and over again. Debbie has appeared in over half-a-dozen films for them and is always the best thing about these movies, even though it's depressing to see her wasting her talents on such crap.

Shot on the cheapest of digital video for around "2000 dollars" in Long Island, New York, Mulva follows the adventures of a brain-damaged, junk-food obsessed young Tromaville resident named, you guessed it, Mulva (played by Missy Donatuti, who was one of the producers and not the girl on the DVD cover). She has a dream-fantasy sequence being showered in bed with candy and a flashback sequence before scarfing down a breakfast of Franken Berry cereal, pop, sugar and chocolate syrup. She and her 'morbidly obese' best friend Cassie (played by "Callie the Hut") go trick-or-treating (with Mulva dressed as Egon from GHOSTBUSTERS) and encounter various oddball characters before doing battle with a slew of zombies. The director himself plays Mr. Bonejack, a jive-talking, Bill Cosby-obsessed neighbor with a Don King hair-do who also gets thrown into the mix. We also get cameos from Debbie as an aloof oddball in some weird Road Warrior-like get-up (that she designed herself out of football pads, deer antlers and fur), Trent Haaga as an amateur magician wearing a shirt proclaiming him "Cock God," Lloyd Kaufman (who seems lost as to what to say here) as the mayor of Tromaville, Doug Sakmann as the lead zombie, TeenApe, The Toxic Avenger and Sgt. Kabukiman. There are parodies of The Benny Hill Show and Michael Jackson's Thriller video (break dancing zombies), plus many digs at popular horror films (particularly DAWN OF THE DEAD).

There are a few dumb laughs, some major bad acting, hitchhikers talking about Romero, Savini and Fulci before being disemboweled by zombies, a Dragon Ball Z obsessed guy who is comically dubbed (by the director), music stolen from CHILDREN OF THE CORN and THE SHINING and plenty of amateur gore effects toward the end. It's about as 'home movie' as they come. In fact, you can actually hear people behind the camera laughing and even the director saying "Go!" to cue an actor!

The Splatter Rampage disc teams Mulva with FILTHY MCNASTY (2001). Each film comes with an introduction and several commentary tracks. Debbie contributes to the Mulva track, but Filthy has two of the worst tracks I've ever heard. I think I'd rather listen to two straight hours of a dentist's drill than this pointless inane chatter. Here you can listen to the humble director and his friends giving their unbiased remarks ("hilarious," "fantastic," "well shot," "creepy") on the film. You also get to hear the director offer such insight as "When it comes to writing the films, I try not to put much plot in them." If you must check out a movie from Low Budget Pictures, the two best I've seen thus far are the first FILTHY MCNASTY and MULVA 2: KILL TEENAPE (which stars Debbie and is a spoof of Tarantino's KILL BILL).



spookyx3 said...

thought debbie rochon was great in DR. HORROR'S EROTIC HOUSE OF IDIOTS (maybe as good as micro-budget gets anymore), and was interested to see what else she'd done. i understand that people want to make low-budget movies and cast actors they grew up watching, but, in the past, those directors could be film-buffs who might have learned their craft with corman and the like. your review, and a list of seaver's credits, made for depressing reading.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Yes, it's sad to see a talent getting wasted over and over again. I saw her in a documentary where she said she had to work constantly in these micro budget movies and still couldn't pay all of her bills. True shame she gets so few good roles.

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