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Monday, October 21, 2013

Attack of the Moon Zombies (2011)

REVIEW BY: Jeffrey Long

 

Company: Saint Euphoria Pictures

Runtime: 100 mins

Format: DVD

Plot: A mysterious plant found on the surface of the moon wreaks havoc on the Jackson Lunar Base when its spores change the base’s crew into leafy, undead creatures!

Review: Attack of the Moon Zombies was the Christopher R. Mihm movie that initially grabbed my interest and, by doing some light research into it, alerted me to the entire Mihmiverse Collection. I stumbled upon a thumbnail picture from this movie while looking through Google Pictures for some other B-Movie to use in my review of that one, and as soon as I saw the weirdly cheesy-looking plant-headed Moon Zombie picture I knew I had to find out what movie that was from and thus started my adventure into the Mihmiverse realm. However, once I ordered all the movies, even though this is the one that I was most interested in checking out, I decided to watch them all in release order so that’s why it’s taken me so long to get to my most anticipated one, first sitting through, and enjoying on various levels, The Monster of Phantom Lake, It Came From Another World!, Cave Women on Mars, Terror From Beneath The Earth, and Destination: Outer Space.

And I’m glad I did, because while (for the most part) the movies are stand-alone and you can watch them in any order that you choose, you get so much more out of them by watching them in release order. I say release order because in terms of chronology they jump around back and forth quite a bit, such as the case with this one, taking place in the future (as it may have been envisioned back in the 1950s – the gimmick of all these movies is that, while made now-ish, they’re made with the intent of having them act as if they were made in the black and white 1950s era of B-Movie filmmaking), this one taking place roughly around the timeframe of Cave Women on Mars and Destination: Outer Space, give or take a couple years.

This one is the longest Mihmiverse movie yet, clocking in at an hour and 40 minutes. Now as you may guess from some of my previous reviews, I kind of feel that almost-two hours is way too long for something like this, especially when it takes 40 minutes before we even begin the actual plot of the movie of people getting infected and the Moon Zombies start going around. A bit tighter of a pace in that first half and this movie would be 100% perfect. As it stands it’s only ‘Just About 100% perfect‘, which is still really damn good!
For the most part, Attack of the Moon Zombies deals with almost all-new characters. A lot of familiar faces for fans of these movies, but they’re playing brand new characters from what they played before. Playing the lead female character is Shannon McDonough, who fellow Mihmivites will recognize as the fiance-and-then-wife of Doctor Jackson from It Came From Another World! and a cameo appearance in Terror From Beneath The Earth. I was a bit harsh on her role in those movies, as I found the character she played a bit drab and boring, but after seeing her here I now know that was solely the way the character was written and it was not indicative of Ms. McDonough’s acting abilities because she owns this movie in every scene that she’s in. Within five minutes of being introduced to her new scientist character here, I was totally in love with her. Returning alongside her is also Daniel Sjerven from Cave Women on Mars and Terror From Beneath the Earth, this time playing a rude, childish, alcoholic pilot that still manages to retain a certain level of humor and charm about him, despite being the kind of character you probably wouldn’t like spending a whole lot of time around in real life. Also with them is Michael Kaiser who has been in all of these movies in small bit parts as well as the man behind the costume of I think almost every monster, creature, and humanoid alien to date, and Sid Korpi who played a minor role in Destination: Outer Space but here plays the person-in-charge on this Moon Base, Administrator Ripley. And yes, that is a very clear (and loved!) nod to the Alien franchise. The one person who does return and actually plays a previous character is Mike Cook reprising his role as Dr. Vincent Edwards from Terror From Beneath the Earth, a role I also previously found a bit dull and uninspired but actually really enjoyed this go-around. Also, he hasn’t visually aged a day in the 20+ years between that movie’s timeline and this one! Oh, the wonders of Movie Magic, I tells ya!
Actually, old character and new ones, old actors and new ones, out of all the Mihmiverse movies this one I think is the one that had me loving all the characters in record time and it wasn’t long into the movie before I started genuinely caring about what might happen to them. Sure, the movie has an overly-long 40 minute lead-up to the actual horrific events that make up the plot of the movie, but it uses that time really well to give us some good characterization on everyone and some nice story beats that pay off later in the movie. For instance, lead character Dr. Hacket (as played by Shannon McDonough) is in a relationship with another of the scientists on board and he keeps trying to propose to her but each and every time he does they keep getting interrupted at the last second before she can give her answer, a continuous and hilariously repetitive story beat that keeps playing out even well into the Moon Zombie infestation. Add to that the continuous complaints by some of the staff that there isn’t enough women on-board, Ripley missing the birth of her grandchild due to being on that base, and the sub-plot of Dr. Vincent Edwards’ looming retirement and they really give you enough meat to sink your teeth into for each and every one of these characters, no matter how large or small their role is.
The only issue I have in the character department, and it’s only a minor nitpick and in no way goes against my final score of the movie, but Daniel Sjerven’s perfectly sleazy pilot character drops out of the movie pretty early on to return to Earth, and during the thick of the infestation events of the movie the main cast are trying to survive long enough for him to return so they can leave the base and get the heck outta dodge, so having them constantly make reference to waiting on him, in addition to knowing what a familiar face Daniel Sjerven is to this series, I was fully expecting him to show up at the last minute and save the day, Han Solo style, but sadly we never do see him again, which was slightly disappointing especially since he never got that character redemption moment I was really hoping for. Even though this is a minor nitpick, it also works as a compliment as well because if these characters weren’t so likable and well-written, I wouldn’t have cared about wanting him to return at the end for a redemption moment to begin with.
Making us care for these characters this much actually ends up being a bit heartbreaking, seeing as how once the Moon Plant shoots its spoors out and finally turns the first person into a plant-headed Moon Zombie (which then in turn begins turning everyone else), it’s only a matter of time before most of the characters you’ve come to love bite it, and as much as I enjoyed spending time with everyone leading up to this portion of the movie, it’s really here till the end that it truly shines. Seeing as how the terror begins during the middle of the night when most of the crew is sleeping, there are some authentically creepy moments that play out here, such as a scene where one guy wakes up in his darkened room with no knowledge of what has started, and begins hearing some unknown thing banging savagely on his door, trying to get in to him. The claustrophobic feel of the base as the characters run around the maze-like hallways and run into various random Moon Zombies, either stand alone or in large groups, only adds to the creepy factor. Of course none of that would have been successful had it not been for the best creature designs we’ve seen yet in the Mihmiverse series, nor for the best set designs we’ve seen yet; Never once did I question that this was actually a real Lunar Base and these plant-headed Moon Zombies were a real threat – Within a few minutes of pressing Play I was sucked right in and I was right there alongside all these characters. Micro-Budget as this may be, it did just as good a job loosing me in its imagination as any bigger budget Hollywood movie could, and its this movie that best shows just how far Christopher R. Mihm has come, in addition to everyone who works with him, since the days of The Monster of Phantom Lake, and it shows best just how they’ve all evolved as filmmakers.
As with all the other movies in the Mihmiverse, this self-produced DVD is stacked right up with tons of excellent bonus content. There’s only one Blooper Reel instead of the usual two (but it has a really good length to it and is, just like all the others, simply laugh-out-loud hilarious), a trailer for the movie, a Photo Gallery of tons of Behind-the-Scenes photos, an introduction to the film by Horror Host Dr. Ivan Cryptosis, a half hour long featurette on the whole Mihmiverse itself, and the usual informative full length Audio Commentaries, one by just Christopher R. Mihm and a second more Technical Commentary by many of the Behind the Scenes folks.
Attack of the Moon Zombies is easily my favorite film by Christopher R. Mihm to date. Sure, it’s a bit longer then I’d like and takes it’s sweet time getting anywhere, but it also uses that time to perfectly make us get to know and care about our cast of characters, which is actually a really smart move here since it made it all the more heartbreaking when many of them get ripped away from us during the events of the second half of the movie when the infection has broken out and the Lunar Base is overran with 30+ deadly Moon Zombies shuffling around the dark, empty maze-like corridors. The movie can also double as a fun ‘Find The References’ game, as it’s chock full of references to classic sci-fi/horror flicks like Alien, The Thing From Another World, It! The Terror From Beyond Space, and any number of zombie movies to just point out a few. Plus there’s also tons of inside jokes and references to previous Mihmiverse movies (Such as Doctor Jackson-then-Director Jackson is now the President – Nice!), so be sure to keep your eyes and ears open to catch them all.
Seeing as how most of the advertising for these movies come from simple word of mouth from the fans, then if you do check his stuff out and enjoy it please help get the word out there on these movies and hopefully we can snag in a few other fans that may not even realize these exist. You can order these on DVD (and even BluRay for the latest couple!) over at his official site which is filled with all sorts of other goodies as well (including a monthly newsletter in addition to a very laid back, yet fun and informative, podcast). Hell, there’s even an excellent deal on right now – Buy Three Movies, Get One Free, which seeing as how there’s currently eight of these titles, if you do that twice then that is the perfect way to catch up with all of them and in the end save some dough – that’s how I did it!


10/10 rooms in the Psych Ward

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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:

My hubby Anthony (“Reginald,” father of the bride) and me as the maid of honor.

It’s been announced on their website so we feel comfortable saying it: “Attack of the Moon Zombies” has won an award for “Best Action/Horror Feature” at the Highway 61 Film Festival! Congrats to everyone involved in the making of the film and a special thanks goes out to the film festival for bestowing this honor upon this fine Mihmiverse film!

The Highway 61 Film Festival, being held on Friday, October 14 and Saturday, Oct. 15 in Pine City, MN, has announced the official selections for the festival.

The festival will be held at two locations. Daytime and evening shows will be held at Pine Technical College Auditorium (900 4th Street SE, Pine City, MN 55063).

Highway 61 Film Festival winners

Posted on October 12, 2011 by

We are proud to present the winners of the  2011 Highway 61 Film Festival.

Many thanks to our judges for their consideration of all of these films.

Action/Horror Features

1. Attack of the Moon Zombies

Director: Christopher R. Mihm

2. Ghost from the Machine

Director: Matt Osterman

Action/Horror Shorts

1. Stitches

Director: Mason Makram

2. Dope Sick

Director: Elijah Woodcock

Comedy Features

(no entries)

Comedy Shorts

1. Birthmarked for Death

Director: Matt Olson

2. Lumber Jill

Director: Tucker Lucas

Documentary Features

1. All Over the Walls

Directors: Ryan Anderson, Greg Paape, Joe Galegher, Jake Johnson, and Alex Grangaard

2. Welcome to America: 50 States in 50 Days

Director: Rodney Johnson

Documentary Shorts

1. Songs to Enemies and Deserts

Directors: David Martinez and Shane Bauer

2. Stories Next Door

Director: Jeff Weihe

Drama Features

1. Lambent Fuse

Director: Matt Cici

Drama Shorts

1. The Missing Frame

Director: Elijah Woodcock

2. Sun Gods

Director: Nial Hopkins

Animation Features

(no entries)

Animation Short

1. Cento

Director: Michael Thompson

The winning feature film in each category will receive a $100 prize. The winning short film in each category will receive a $50 prize.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

 
Late night showings will be held at Danny C's BeachRocks Resort (10762 Lakeview Shore Drive, Pine City MN 55063).

Congratulations to all filmmakers selected for the festival.

FILM SCHEDULE (Note – may be subject to change)

FRIDAY 6:30pm Pine Technical College Auditorium
What If? 6m
Boundary Waters 36m
Five Bucks Til Friday 28m
Stories Next Door 28m
Lumber Jill 29m
Songs of Enemies and Deserts 35m
162 minutes (2h2m)

FRIDAY LATE NIGHT 10pm Pine Technical College Auditorium
Recreation 8m
All Over the Walls 77m
True Story of Peter Pan 13m
Night Surf 16m
Cocainine 20m
Your Mother’s a Hunt 14m
Hunting Buddies 77m
225 minutes (3h45m)

SATURDAY 11:30 AM — FAMILY FRIENDLY SHOW Pine Technical College Auditorium
Rhythm Sticks 26m
Spaceman from Space 3m
Whistle 8m
Underwater Ocean Visit 23m
Welcome to America 50 states in 50 days 90m
150 minutes (2h30m)

SATURDAY AFTERNOON 2:30p Pine Technical College Auditorium
Ink Blots 5m
Out of Character 21m30s
Games Men Play 2m30s
Cento 5m
Sun Gods 16m
Masquerade 27m
Payback Time 7m
Harold Crumb 24m
The Suit 6m30s
Lambent Fuse 99m
187 minutes (3h35m)

SATURDAY EVENING 6:30pm Pine Technical College Auditorium
Love Notes 11m
Stitches 13m
Bloodshed Love 17m
Roadside Assistance 8m
Dope Sick 18m
Birthmarked for Death 7m33s
Ghost from the Machine 86m
167 minutes (2h7m)

SATURDAY LATE NIGHT 10 pm BeachRocks
The Missing Frame 12m
Attack of the Moon Zombies 99m
Some Fangs 9m
Potpourri 90m
210 minutes (3h30m)

The friends and fans of the Mihmiverse (i.e. the movies of filmmaker Christopher R. Mihm) are legion, and they’re stepping up once again to see that this man’s movies get the recognition they amply deserve. Yesterday, I entered “Attack of the Moon Zombies” in SIX film festivals across the country, including: the Spooky Movie International Horror Film Festival; the Syracuse Horror, Sci-Fi & Fantasy Film Festival; the Thriller! Chiller! Film Festival; the Chicago Horror Film Festival; the Eerie Horror Film Festival; and the Drive-In Film Festival. Folks have been generously donating toward the costs of the entry fees (now well over $300 accrued by little old totally broke me). Should any of you readers like to support our efforts to get “Attack of the Moon Zombies” screened nationally and have it garner some hard-earned awards in the process, contact me through my website <www.goodgriefpetloss.com> and I’ll tell you how. As little as $5 or $10 would really help out. I’ll stop the fund-raising attempts well before I reach the point of my making any personal profit. 🙂

Another way to support these independent films is to come to the exclusive screenings. One is coming up June 11 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, organized by super fan Bob Arndt—a fabulous Mihm double feature with “Terror from Beneath the Earth” AND “Attack of the Moon Zombies,” introduced by horror host extraordinaire Doctor Ivan Cryptosis. Another is the July 14 screening in the Twin Cities—the New Hope Cinema Grill, 7 p.m. For $15, you’ll see the greatest B-movie ever made AND enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet of salad, pizza and soda (and there’s even a full bar available). More info, advance tickets, “Attack of the Moon Zombies” DVDs ($10), and other great merchandise and collectibles can be ordered at <www.sainteuphoria.com>. Help Christopher Mihm recoup the $3K he spent making this masterpiece! Maybe if he gets rich and famous, he’ll pay his actors someday! 🙂 —Sid (Administrator Ripley)

{★} Classic Creature Features…Or Not! * Posted by Cherri Bombe {★} on June 5, 2011

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By looking at these posters, you would think they were some of those old-school B horror movies, right? Wrong! These were all made within the last five years by Minnesota-based Christopher R. Mihm, who says that he makes “new ‘old’ films.” On his website, www.sainteuphoria.com, Mr. Mihm says of classic B-movies: “I enjoyed their often poorly written dialogue, sometimes (but not always!) wooden acting, stilted camera work and marginal special effects. It was during one of these marathon movie-watching sessions I had an epiphany: “What would happen if I stopped thinking about it and actually made a movie? And not just ANY movie but THIS kind of movie, one that a ten year old version of my dad would approve of?” His latest is See the trailer here: All his DVD’s are $9.99 + $2.50 shipping and can be purchased here: http://www.sainteuphoria.com/merch.html#dvds Next payday, I’m soooooo going to pick up a couple of these! Yay for cheesy horror movie re-creations!

My friends and Petlitzer Prize colleagues, Robert and Michelle Forto, traveled from far and wide to share the singular experience that is a Christopher R. Mihm movie premiere. Read what Robert had to say about the gala event.—Sid

Attack of the Moon Zombies World Premiere!

All of us like good entertainment. But would you fly 3000 miles and have your wife drive 15 hours and almost 1000 miles to meet you for a secret rendezvous in the Twin Cities just to go to a movie?

We did.

To be fair it was part of a meeting with an editor friend for a book project that I am working on and a road trip to Deadwood, South Dakota and then home to Denver for a couple weeks before I head back to Alaska.

The movie was the world premiere of Christopher R. Mihm’s Attack of the Moon Zombies!

Moon Zombies premiered at the Heights theater in Columbia Heights, MN. The Heights is one of those cool old school-type theaters that our great country is losing at alarming rate, giving way to I-Max, 3-D and twenty screen stadium seating multiplexes. What a shame.

There was a line around the block waiting to get into the sold out performance and even included reporters Bob and Rob asking us what we were wearing and asking goofy questions. They weren’t Joan and Melissa Rivers but close…

Before the show Dr. Ivan Cryptosis emceed introducing the film and the man behind the madness, Christopher R. Mihm.

[Listen to Attack of the Moon Zombies Interview on Dog Works Radio]

The movie was everything that we would expect from Mihm. True to form bringing back some of his characters from previous films and that quirky 50s drive-in horror/sci-fi style that kept the sold out audience on the edge of their seats.

Moon Zombie’s peppered humor with some serious acting from Sid Korpi (Administrator Ripley), Mike Cook as Dr. Vincent Edwards and the fan favorite, Michael Kaiser as Glen Hayes.

What would a 50s-style B-Movie be without a damsel in distress? Of course Moon Zombies covers this with a brilliant performance my Shannon McDonough and her screams!

Of course we have to have a monster. In Moon Zombies we have plenty of cabbage-headed zombies lurking around that scoop up their victims as quick as you can toss a salad. With Mihm’s trademark bug eye’s the monsters paid a great homage to those creatures from the films of yesteryear. While the effects are cheesy and low budget (they are supposed to be) they work!

After the film they gave out schwag and a meet and greet with the stars and a reception followed with cupcakes and an ultra-cool Moon Zombie’s themed cake that would give Food Network’s Ace of Cake’s a run for their money.

Even though I was going on 24 hours without sleep at the time of the movie I would have to say that this movie kept my attention and was some of Mihm’s best work.

This type of filmmaking is what the world needs these days. It is just plain fun. Fun for the whole family in fact. Yes, the effects are corny and the million dollar sets and CGI of today’s big budget features are in a far off land, but that doesn’t discourage Mihm. Moon Zombie’s was filmed almost entirely in Mihm’s basement.

The Mihmiverse is deliberate and out of this world. You have to check this guy out. You can buy all of his work on his website for less than 10 bucks a piece. Few independent filmmakers have put out a movie a year like Mihm has since his first effort in 2006 with The Monster from Phantom Lake. I would venture to guess that few have been as successful as Mihm in his passion and it shows.

If by chance you’re unable to attend the world premiere of “Attack of the Moon Zombies” on May 25 at the Heights Theater in Columbia Heights, MN, you will have a second chance to catch this amazing B-movie by Christopher R. Mihm, June 11, in Oshkosh, WI. Check out this promo with Horror Host Extraordinaire, Dr. Ivan Cryptosis.

Last night was my first on-camera scene in “Attack of the Moon Zombies.” Director @Christopher R. Mihm tortured me during closeups, reminding that my head will be 90 feet high when the movie is shown at the drive-ins! Such intense mental cruelty! (You’d think he was my sibling or something!) The shoot took several hours longer than expected, thanks to my costar Dr. Edwards’ and my dueling hungry-tummy grumbles and subsequent giggle fits by us all (even though those beastly men will try and blame it all on me because I’m a girl, sort of!). Learn more about the movie and the upcoming Oct. 30 Mihm Movie Marathon in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and check out the possibility of becoming an associate producer at his website <www.sainteuphoria.com>

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