TT: The Bugg Gets a Special Look at Chance Shirley's New Horror/Sci-Fi/Comedy Interplanetary (2008)

Another Terrifying Tuesday has arrived, and I’ve got something really special for you folks today. Over the last 10 months, I’ve been lucky enough to become friends with a few independent film makers, and this week one of my friends is doing me a solid. In 2005, Chance Shirley made one of the best low budget horror films ever made with Hide and Creep. It’s consistently one of my favorite films, and I go back to it time and time again. Now with his next feature finally in the can, Chance has started sending out the finished product to film festivals…..and a little place called the Lightning Bug’s Lair.

That’s right folks, today we’re getting a first look at Chances new sci fi horror comedy, Interplanetary. Now when I first heard the title, all I could think of was the Beastie Boys song, Intergalactic and it’s refrain or “Intergalactic Planetary Planetary Intergalactic”, and much like that song, Chance describes Interplanetary as “The flick is set in "the future," but it's a future as seen through 1980’s eyes. An old-school future, as it were.” I can’t say that I disagree. As a child of the ‘80’s watching this film took me right back to the giddy joy I used to get watching good old fashioned crappy movies when I was a kid. It captures that same kind of playful, self aware nature that made many of those films so much fun.

I suppose I should get around to telling you what the flick is about. Well, the Interplanetary Corporation has set up a base on Mars, Mars Base Two. Why two and not one? Because test marketing showed people responded better to the name. The station is manned by nine crewmembers that spend their boring days hanging around the base. Well, except for Wil and his assistant Ed who spend their time outside surveying for a good location for Mars Base Three. Wil stumbles on a Martian fossil, and from there all hell breaks loose. Strangers show up at the base blowing people away with rocket launchers, scouts get kidnapped by villains who are easily thwarted by reefer, and to top it off, an alien monster shows up and starts ripping people’s heads off. Now, if only there was a corporate guidebook on how to deal with situations like this.

Needless to say, Chance has done it again, and to make it even better he’s done it the old fashioned way. No, I don’t mean he earned it (though he probably did). I mean he didn’t go all hyper digital and ass in a bunch of superfluous effects and gimmicks. Instead he kept it simple. Let me let the man himself tell you,

“Since modern technology has made it cheaper and easier for filmmakers to put their ideas on the screen, I thought it'd be a good idea to shoot a movie with technology from the 1980s. That means Super 16mm film, practical effects, and lots of lumber, nails, and paint. This definitely wasn't the fastest way to make a movie, but I think the hand-made approach does give INTERPLANETARY a character all its own.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself, but there’s something else Chance brought to this film that gives it a character of its own, its cast. Many of the players from Hide and Creep make a return here, and it was wonderful to see those actors spouting Chance’s acerbically funny dialog once more. Returning for another round are Melissa Bush, Mia Frost, Chris and Chuck Hartsell, Kyle Holeman, and Eric McGinty, and they are joined by new editions Kevin S. Van Hyning, Sylvester Little, Jr, and Amanda Myers.

While everyone is great, I have four of the actors I want to give special shout outs to. First all, Kyle Holeman, Oh, love this guy. Why he’s not in every film made, I have no idea. I loved him as Keith in Hide and Creep, and now in Interplanetary he brings another great character as Jackson the gun toting cook who used to be in the Texas mafia. Then there’s Mia Frost as the stoner Beth. The role is a far cry for her turn as Gail in H&C, but her understated performance had me in stitches. Chuck Hartsell once again provides one of the most memorable characters in the film. Chuck gets little screen time as Wil, but the scenes he does appear in make the most of his flat delivery. Finally, I have to take a moment to give major props to Michael Shelton as the films baffled and very unintentional hero. He turns is a great performance and has some of the funniest and most quotable lines.

Working as Chance did with “Super 16mm film, practical effects, and lots of lumber, nails, and paint”, Interplanetary has a style that has made Ed Wood smile somewhere in the great hereafter. I’m not saying it’s shoddily made by any means, and quite the contrary. It’s pretty damn amazing how great the film looks. I see things come out of major studios that the same loving care hasn’t gone into because they want to churn out a product. Chance isn’t looking to make a generic film. Instead, he takes his time and crafts movies that are deftly scripted, thoughtfully acted, and carefully filmed.

Sure, the monster is a guy in a rubber suit, but it’s a damn nice rubber suit, and it’s fun. That’s the main thing that comes through to me in Chance’s films. These are made by people having a good time, with people having a good time, and for people who want to have a good time. Interplanetary should rank up there with the great horror comedies. With its sly wit, over the top violence, and its self aware love of genre conventions, this has fast become one of my favorite films.

I wish I could tell you all to head over to Chance’s site and pick up the film, but its only now hitting the festival circuit so it might be some time before you folks get a chance to see what Chance can do. However, if you’re attending a convention or festival and it’s playing, don’t miss it. I would love to get an opportunity to see it on the big screen myself. Until then, check out Hide and Creep, if you can find a copy. Unfortunately, that wonderful flick has gone out of print, but I’ve seen rumblings lately that it may get a second life on DVD soon. Hands down, Interplanetary is one of the best films I have seen in quite some time, so head on over to the site, check out Chance's blog. check out the trailer below, and as soon as this film gets out for public consumption, you better bet the Bugg will be shouting it from the rooftops.

Bugg Rating

Interplanetary Teaser Trailer from Chance Shirley on Vimeo.

1 comment:

  1. Since Hide & Creep is my all time favorite low budget horror movie, I can't wait to see Inter-planetary, sounds like another winner!


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