Die, Develkok, Die (2012): Running With the Develkok

These days, looking an an indie film is a treacherous proposition. While the advent of cheaper technology has leveled the playing field and allowed everyone to grab a camera and make a film if they so desire, it also means that anyone can grab a camera and make a film if they so desire. For that very reason, and because I have sat through some real travesties over the years, I shy away from low budget efforts more often than not. For every one film that might be good, there always seem to be twenty more by Bill Zebub, or worse yet an imitator of his, waiting round the corner with a bag of offensive jokes, some substandard gore, and the vaguest stab at a plot. 

However, when the director of today's film, Mike Dobrzelecki, approached me to check out his first directorial effort, Die, Develkok, Die, all those indie film reservations faded away. You see, I've been following Mike for the last two years as he's made this labor of love, and, in the interest of full disclosure, he's been a longtime friend of the LBL going way back. Rest assured loyal Lair-ers, The Bug doesn't just give out good reviews for nothing just because someone is my friend. You've got to have the long green if you want to see my payola price list,  and let's face it, indie guys like Mike just don't have it to spare. They need to put it all on the screen, and when that happens, it's the best payoff of all.

Synopsis provided by The Die, Develkok, Die Facebook Page:
After a failed suicide attempt Terry Develkok realizes that he cannot die. He then goes on an all out rampage against the cities evil doers. Watch as Develkok bathes in blood under the big top against the Carnival of Carnage! Marvel as he pimp slaps the Gangstas! Watch him stomp a mud hole in Skin Head asses and walk em dry! And see him make the Religious Zealots pray for mercy! But how will Develkok fare when villains from around the globe come to the aid of their brothers in hate?!?!Find out when Die, Develkok, Die! is unleashed Summer of 2012!!!!

One thing the synopsis fails to mention is that Die, Develkok, Die is presented as a lost classic of the exploitation era during a pre-credit sequence that intones the film as cursed. Sadly, this presentation does nothing to enhance the film, and I really feel like the whole movie would have been better served if presented in a straightforward way rather then the addition of filters and such to give it a "grindhouse" look. As a device, I can see how the "lost reels" were used to stitch the film together, but with the tone and style Die, Develkok, Die presents at the script and acting level  it muddies the waters of what could have been a straight up, fun, laugh out loud time. Thankfully, it doesn't detract from the film that much, and D,D,D had me smiling, laughing out loud, and repeating lines back. When the green suited Pimp character criticizes his ho for "sitting on a short couch with no cushions", which is located outside, in a green suburban area while his boom box carrying hype man chimes in, the situation is too funny not to laugh. Mr. Dobrzelecki's film is full of moments like this, and the sheer absurdity of the situations, combined with some really effective and bloody, gore shots kept me wishing that the runtime was longer than sixty minutes.

Star Chad Laha, who plays the titular Terry Develkok  co-wrote the film with Dobrzelecki, and he carries the weight of the screen time on his shoulders. Laha is thankfully fun to watch, and he brings a winking reality to the character of the immortal, and fed up, killer. The other standouts in the cast are Anthony Thomas (Pimp Daddy) and Dustin Rye as Creepo The Clown. The pair even have one of the funniest scenes together as they provide play by play to Develkok's confrontation with the Lucha Lunatic (Matt Scott) in the squared circle. The rogues gallery are one of the most effective parts of this movie. No matter if you want to see Develkok take down a priest, some trannies, a bearded lady, or a magician (by taking the never ending scarf routine to a whole different level). Also greatly enhancing the film is the original score, something many indie directors don't consider, and the sound design. Both add to the layered texture of the film and serve to enhance the viewing experience. 

While I had some reservations about the style and presentation of Die, Develkok, Die, when the end credits rolled, a smile creeped out across my face. The film had maintained a steady stream of jokes and silly gore (which, again, was incredibly well executed and with Mike's background in special effects, that comes as no surprise) that kept me interested, amused, and wishing that the film would continue. Die, Develkok, Die proves that Mike Dobrzelecki has what it takes to make the most of of an indie budget. That's because he put more than a movie on the screen. It was clear that he and his crew put their hearts on the screen. Their love for movies, and their love for the project they were undertaking is all there for everyone to see. While there is a ton of trash in the indie horror world, seeing a flick like Develkok, feeling the affection for the material, it redeems my faith that the new democracy of film making could be the greatest thing to happen to the art-form since sound.

Bugg Rating

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