Homemade Monster (2008)
Directed by Brandon and Leia Gadow
Fresh from the jaded viewer indie mailbox, I was sent a very DIY film by Brandon and Leia Gadow of Scumbag Films. When I say DIY, I mean it. Scumbag Films based out of San Diego is run by this husband and wife team and they do it all. Act, produce, write and direct. They've produced a wide variety of music driven films and in Homemade Monster, which was made for around $400 they create a musical revolving around that old reliable Frankenstein cliche.
I gotta admit, I've seen some low budget indie films but I've never seen a low budget rockabilly horror musical. And if I, the jaded viewer have never seen it, you earn bonus points just on that.
Homemade Monster may have been made on a dollar cent budget but it's got a mixture of indie spirit and a killer soundtrack that make it a Misfits song come to life. It's clear Mr. and Mrs Scumbag are amateurs in the filmmaking world, but this musical has lots of ambition and they don't overdue it or try to hard.
What you get is a funny, jazzy DIY film that's like seeing a garage band music video.
Oh yeah it's got boobs and blood too.
Faced with an unspeakable act at her own hands, she attempt to rectify the situation and since she is frustrated with men, our heroine decides to make her own. This story is about her struggle to gather the necessary parts, put together and animate the man of her dreams. Music by The Jim Rowdy Show, who’s psychobilly rock and roll parallels our character’s
inner turmoil but hopefulness.
Leia wants a man with all the qualities that will make a lasting relationship. Somebody who cares, has brains and of course has a big dick. After a fight with her boyfriend she drugs and kills him and comes up with the bright idea to make her own new super boyfriend by assembling them out of the parts of various dudes.
Well that's the the gist of the story.
The film which runs about 45 or so minutes is littered with rockabilly tunes delivered by Leia as she sings her troubles, her plans and her ultimate goals. Some are catchy like the opening number and a song where she seduces a bar patron. They all have their country twang sound with a psychobilly beat and I'll admit, it's a bit catchy.
The big number comes after Leia assembles a brain from a yawny professor, a heart from a chubby bartender and Johnson from a big ole cowboy, she finally finishes assembling her masterpiece. Now all frisky she goes all stripteasy, gets topless and makes monster grunty with her dream man. We get lyrics like "cuz I am bringing you to life." as she tries different methods to zap him to life.
However it gets kinda repetitive at times and with all musical numbers you expect a elaborate dance routine to accompany the beat. We get sporadic moments of a choreographed number but mostly it's singing with monotonous acting.
The acting and singing are all pretty solid but the glaring oddness of it all is the lack of budget. I'm not going to criticize the film because of that but it's pretty funny to see SyFy-ish rain and lightning, a beer can labeled beer and some cardboardy acting by the other actors. Some scenes were way too dark but I wouldn't expect we'd get proper lighting on a $400 budget. During a penultimate scene where our Mrs. Frankenstein wishes her monster to "come alive!" we hear a dog barking in the background. It seems intentional but I got a chuckle out of the homemade-ness of it all.
The film is decently made for a husband and wife team with no film making experience. They do a good job of getting set ups to music numbers and there were different settings. But at the end of the day, it's all about the music and as a punk rocker in a former life, I dug the tunes. If you enjoy listening to the rockabilly you'll enjoy this rockabilly horror music video.
I can rest easy now that I've watched my first ever rockabilly horror musical. I can check that off my bucket list.
Check out the trailer.