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Many thanks to the fine folks who worked so tirelessly to bring visual arts to the Pine City, Minn., public in their 2nd Annual Highway 61 Film Festival. We were honored to have been present on Day 3 of the screenings to introduce writer/director Christopher R. Mihm’s B&W 1950s-drive-in-style B-movie homage to William Castle (The Tingler, House on Haunted Hill), House of Ghosts. We were even more pleased to be able to accept on his behalf the award for Best Action/Horror Feature Film! Mihm was unable to attend because he was busy filming his upcoming movie, The Giant Spider. From the cast and crew of House of Ghosts, we say THANK YOU!!
I’m also pleased to announce that I was awarded Best Actress award for the Murder Mystery Company’s production of “‘Til Death Do Us Part,” an interactive dinner-theater comdedy production at which I, an audience member, was “cast” as Anita Goodman (phonetically: I need a good man) the maid of honor. A delightful time was had by all, and I got this really cool certificate as a souvenir:
This latest movie is a bit different from its predecessors, which all focused on the monster or sci-fi genres. This one is an homage to William Castle, master of the cinematic gimmick. My copy has been pre-ordered for a while, so I hope to have it by the long weekend. I’ll post a detailed review here as soon as I watch it.
Okay, I have now seen House Of Ghosts and it has exceeded my expectations. Which is pretty amazing, because I had very high expectations. At this point, I’ve gotten used to them exceeding my expectations, but even when I allow for that, they still exceed my expectations.
This one, as I said, is an homage to the works of William Castle, and it is a labor of love for all concerned. Mihm does not produce parodies (like, for example, Larry Blamire [whose movies I love]), but fond pastiches of the old B-Movies that we remember from the Drive-Ins and Creature Double Features of our youth. Our younger youth. Whatever. His films are done for pocket money, but look like they cost the mortgage and are far more entertaining than studio efforts that cost hundreds of millions. They are like homemade cookies. They’re just better than store bought.
And the main reason this movie, like all the others, is so great– even beyond the lovingly recreated ambiance of 50s low-budget cinema– is that Mihm respects his characters. You’ll watch and smile at the nostalgia and the stylized storytelling, you’ll even be creeped out from time to time– and then, out of nowhere, you’ll be blindsided by moments of genuine sentiment, such as when you realize why one character is drinking herself to death or when you see how much another character cares for her pet. And there’s one relationship in the film that, in the context of a 50s horror movie, is just wonderful.
All of Mihm’s movies take place in the same universe and this one has a surprisingly strong tie to his first movie. And they are all made with the same integrity and respect for characters, and I recommend that you get them all. I strongly believe in supporting independent creators and nobody I’ve met to date deserves that support more than Chris Mihm.
PRLog (Press Release) – Mar 07, 2012 -
Minnesotan writer/director Christopher R. Mihm has a unique filmmaking niche. He makes only B&W, 1950s-drive-in-style creature features, or as he puts it, “I make good bad, new old movies.” Released in May 2011, his sixth film, “Attack of the Moon Zombies,” received universally positive reviews from those who appreciate this unusual genre. Recently, cult-movie site MailOrderZombie.com nominated “Attack of the Moon Zombies” for the second-highest number of categories of any other movie honored by their Dead Letter Awards.
Among the awards for which Mihm’s film is in the running are: 1) Best Zombie Movie, feature length; 2) Best Director of a Zombie Movie (Christopher R. Mihm); 3) Best Zombie (Michael Kaiser); 4) Best Actress in a Zombie Movie (both Sid Korpi as Administrator Ripley and Shannon McDonough as Dr. Stephanie Hackett received nods); and 5) Best One-Liner in a Zombie Movie: “I know I’d rather die in agonizing pain than become some weird meat puppet for those nasty little things out there, wouldn’t you?”
Fans of this monstrously memorable, family-friendly, super-cheesy flick are urged to visit the Dead Letter Award Ballot form at the Mail Order Zombie site (https://www.docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGl5Mzd3eVVFMm0zTVFQMXFhRy0wa3c6MA) to cast their votes for “Attack of the Moon Zombies” in all categories by the March 16 deadline. Winners will be announced on the 3/22/12 Mail Order Zombie #177 podcast at http://www.mailorderzombie.com.
Also up to popular vote to decide is the 10th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards, for which “Attack of the Moon Zombies” has been nominated as Best Independent Film (Category 8). Please visit http://www.rondoaward.com/rondo/rondos.html to vote for this fine ’50s movie and support independent cinema by March 31, 2012.
If you haven’t yet seen “Attack of the Moon Zombies” and want to check it out before you vote, order your copy from http://www.sainteuphoria.com today! While you’re on the site, why not purchase your tickets for the May 23, 2012 Heights Theatre premiere of Mihm’s seventh film, “House of Ghosts”? This show, a spooky homage to the 1950s-fright-film director William Castle (“The Tingler” and “House on Haunted Hill”) is selling out fast, so act soon.
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Attack of the Moon Zombies Review
REVIEW: Attack of the Moon Zombies
Attack of the Moon Zombies is the latest in a series of movies by writer/director Christopher R. Mihm that emulate the cheesy sci-fi b-movies of the 50s (other titles by Mihm include Cave Women on Mars and It Came from Another World!). Moon Zombies is the only one I’ve seen, so I can only speak for it, but everything in this movie tried to make it seem like a genuine 50s drive-in flick, from the soundtrack, to the haircuts, to the worn-out (but not overdone) black-and-white film look. There’s a real sense that Mihm is not trying to parody those films in any way, but trying to genuinely, lovingly make one.
Our story takes place entirely on a Lunar base that was established in 1976 (again, a 50s idea of the future). Silent and eccentric newbie Glen (played by Michael Kaiser) is coming aboard to replace retiring Dr. Vincent Edwards (Michael Cook). When showing the newcomer around, Dr. Edwards shows him a strange plant he found in a cave on the moon and they take it back to the base. The plant sprays some powder in a character’s face and the character dies (trying not to give anything away here), returning a few hours later as a strange plant-human hybrid out to get the humans — who, of course, themselves turn into moon zombies if they are indeed got. The rest of the movie is pretty much the characters running around the base, trying to avoid being zombie plant food.
Which isn’t to say the story doesn’t work or is boring. It may be a bit simple, but this is a 50s cheesy movie wannabe here. And it works. The acting is perfect and feels just like pre-method acting, which is to say, a lttle wooden and overdramatic (actress Shannon McDonough really shines in this aspect as Dr. Hackett). Like I said, I don’t know about the previous movies Mihm has done, but I would venture this one is his best, as you can tell this isn’t the crew’s first time attempting this kind of thing. It all gels nicely and nearly flawlessly. It’s entertaining in ways I didn’t expect, one being the comedy aspect. I laughed out loud numerous times, at self-conscious lines like “Yeah well, it sounds like the plot of some.. bad.. drive-in movie,” and especially at the subtitles. I watch all movies with subtitles on whenever possible just to be sure I don’t miss a line of dialogue or anything. Well, the subtitles for this movie were amusing as hell, with funny captions like >>rejection< < when a man is hitting on a girl and the girl slams her book in his face, and when a title card reads “Day 1″ the humorously unnecessary subs read “The First Day.”
I was surprised at how much I laughed and was entertained by the film, especially since 50s sci-fi cheese doesn’t hold any kind of special place in my heart; I just think they’re bad movies, just like we have bad movies today, and I only watch the ones with zombies in them (believe me, I get my fill of bad movies that way). But this was so charming and so successful at its goal that the viewer can’t help but admire it. I have to knock off a point for the length — at 99 minutes, it could have been at least 85 — but I still give Attack of the Moon Zombies 7/10 plants. You can get it at http://www.sainteuphoria.com/aotmz.html for a reasonable $9.99.