“I’ve come to realize that keeping B-movie cliches alive is my mission. After all, we all enjoy old movies like The Blob and I Married A Monster From Outer Space, but what’s going to happen when all those movies have been seen? Who’s making more? Not Spielberg or Lucas, that’s for sure. Just me, baby!” (Brett Piper)
Brett Piper has a knack for making films that are a lot of fun. He’s had an interesting low budget career, working with such masters of the ultra low budget do-it-yourself club as The Polonia Brothers, and Troma films. Perhaps he’s best known for his effects work, including some great make-up effects and a lot of stop motion animation.
However, the movies he directs himself reveal another side of his gifts: they’re filled with tongue in cheek humor, great visual sense, and a polish that we’d expect of a far more expensive film (in this case, around $17,000).
Here, we have a video-obsessed artist discovering what appears to be a film made years before Edison invented the movie camera. In it, the inventor tests a device which should allow us to see into the parallel dimensions surrounding us.
This is, of course, pretty much a retread of Lovecraft’s story, “From Beyond”. But Brett knows we know, and has a lot of fun with it all, bringing in nasty alien brain bugs, nasty tentacled things, walking corpses, and the manic comic relief character who gets his video camera permanently fused to his head. Okay, so the brain bugs have a very Claymation look to them, but he still manages to turn them into a vile menace which just happens to be a touch…silly.
And there is a nice sense of balance here, as he moves from what starts as a historical mystery to the out and out fantastic elements, as he combines humor and wit with genuine menace, and as he gently pokes fun at the very “B” movie nature of his own film (as, for example, when he squeezes in a perfectly gratuitous bit of female nudity). In particular, the footage of the device’s inventor has a nice, old-fashioned feel to it, and seems appropriately old (even if one might expect it to be grainier and no where near as clear, if it really were produced by some wacky inventor’s 19th Century video disk recorder).
It is let down rather badly by his choice to throw in a witch, complete with suggestions that what she’s doing is basically equivalent to science. Except with runestones and voodoo dolls.
But it is still just a speed bump in an otherwise insanely fun little feature. Thankfully, Brett is still out there, making more insane little “B” movies on nothing budgets.
One can only hope he’ll be doing it for features to come.