Another Hole In the Head 2011 Film Festival runs June 2nd through the 16th at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco. Check out the Festival Genius site for film schedules and tickets.
The Moleman Of Belmont Avenue
Directed by Mike Bradecich & John LaFlamboy
Jarmon (John LaFlamboy) and Marion (Mike Bradecich) aren’t the brightest bulbs in the silverware drawer, but they mean well. That’s not true. They don’t really mean that well at all and are really only interested in doing what they have to do to keep their tenants from leaving. The apartment building they inherited was once a respectable place, but they’ve let it fall into ruin in a record amount of time. The handful of tenants that remain are hardcore and can live with the lack of proper maintenance, the electricity “borrowed” from the church next door, and the absence of much-needed repairs, but they have to draw the line someplace… and that line is apparently a creepy, flesh-eating creature living in the basement.
“My foot and your ass are getting married.”
The two dim-witted brothers have coasted through their landlord duties on waves of indifference and alcohol, but this new challenge suggests they’re not cut out for such a hefty responsibility. Or any responsibility. The pets in the building have been steadily disappearing, and the initial assertion that a large raccoon is responsible crumbles when they come face to face with a carnivorous, rag-wearing humanoid yanking a terrier through a mail slot.
Horror comedies, like any hybrid genre, are a delicate balance that can be difficult to maintain. Ideally the film will be both funny and thrilling to some degree, but baring that hopefully at least one of the two halves succeeds well enough to carry the other. And that’s pretty much the case with The Moleman Of Belmont Avenue. Barring two creature scenes where the beast charges the camera, the horror half is never scary, disturbing, or gross. Nothing is taken the slightest bit seriously so there’s never any real concern, and while the creature snacks on one or two tenants there’s no blood, gore, or giblets to enjoy.
But where it misses the mark with the thrills and chills it makes up for it with laughs. The two leads are wonderfully sarcastic and quick-witted (relatively speaking at times), and the rest of the cast is never less than capable. Robert England has a small role as one of the tenants, Hezekiah Confab, and while he’s always fun to watch his dirty talk here offers some additional entertainment. Some of the biggest laughs though come from two appearances by Greg Hollimon (Principal Blackman on Strangers With Candy) as a cop with zero tolerance for bullshit.
Bradecich and LaFlamboy wrote and directed the film in addition to starring, and hopefully this will open more opportunities for the duo going forward. They write and perform funny dialogue, but more time spent on other elements should help fill their next project out so it feels less like an overlong sketch and more like a full on movie. There are stretches of inaction here that drag the energy down until the next laugh. But unlike leaky ceiling tiles and broken light switches, that balance is something easily fixed in time for The Return Of the Moleman…
The Upside: Some very humorous scenes and dialogue; a couple truly creepy scenes of title monster
The Downside: Concept wears thin at times; needs a heftier element of horror; could have used some gore effects; ending a bit too abrupt; characters don’t say “fuck” nearly enough
Check out all of our Another Hole In the Head Film Fest coverage here.