November 17, 2016

Movie Review: Moonchild (1994)

There are a lot of movies out there. Even if you just consider the ones that you have heard of, that’s a lot of movies. Now, widen that scope and think about all the movies you’ve never heard of, that total number of movies is going to jump way up. I have stumbled across unheard of movies in a number of different ways, one those ways is the Video Vortex series at the Alamo Drafthouse. The series takes obscure, low/no budget, regional obscurities and rips them straight from VHS tape and throws it at the big screen. Is it pretty? Absolutely not, but it is an experience and a fun way to experience often terrible movies.

The movie that played this particular night was called Moonchild. A low budget film, shot on video, that is set in a post apocalyptic future and consists of mutants, cyborgs, scraggly humans, and a werewolf. Yes, you read that correctly. The movie was written, directed, and produced by Todd Sheets, who is a relentless low budget filmmaker with over 40 films to his name over the past 30 years. I do not believe I have seen any of his other films, but the fact that he continues to make them has got to say something.

Moonchild is not a good movie. It looks cheap, the acting is awful, dialogue even worse. What I will say, it that it manages to hold itself together in spite of itself. It is pretty crazy to watch this slow motion trainwreck refuse to fly off the rails. I have to admit, that is some feat. From the mannerisms, to the backyard wrestling style action, to the slow car chases, everything just begs to fly off the tracks, but it doesn’t.

The story is set in the future and is centered on Jacob Stryker, an escapee from the oppressive government experiments building, where they did things to him and turned him into a werewolf. It is a building he has escaped from a number of times, but this time it is more important, he is on a mission to rescue his son, who may hold the key to curing a plague that afflicts humanity. His escape leads him to team up with a rag tag group of rebels, while the evil government forces are hot on their trail. Of course, all of the running around ultimately leads to the inevitable showdown.

While the movie is not good, it is strangely watchable. It may be simple and constrained by budget, but it hangs together, has some nice sets, and is made with ambition. It is an example of a film made with the help of family and friends, and seeing it through to the conclusion. Yes, the finished movie is rather laughable, but I still enjoyed it and the obvious effort that went into driving the ambition.


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