Monday, November 02, 2009

Envisioning The Apocalypse

This past week I attended a screening for a new movie. With Michigan's lucrative tax breaks for film-makers, more movie crews are finding their way to the Great Lakes State. This movie entitled The 6th Extinction was a local production shot in and around Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.

An e-mail circulated by one of the movies' cast members at my work invited all to come to the screening. The sender said she played a vampire in the film. And it was free! A vampire movie the week of Halloween? Attending a movie debut would be a first for me too. The missus wasn't interested in going but I was fine so long as I had money for popcorn.

I even arrived extra early to make sure I got a good seat. As it turned out, that wasn't necessary. In fact, the theatre was seemingly empty when I arrived, save for a lone gentleman sitting in back. "If you want John, he's sitting way up front," he told me when I walked in.

Who was John? And why did I have to check in with him? Turns out that John was the writer-slash-director of the picture. I explained that I was just there to see the movie, and took a seat with my box of popcorn. Eventually, the other man left, leaving just John and I in the theatre. Rather awkward for me. Soon John's family came along and a few pictures were taken to commemorate the opening of the picture.

Gee, I hope I wasn't in any of them. I can hear someone asking, "Who is that older gentleman sitting all by himself in the back of the theatre?" The screening was set up mainly for cast and crew to see the final working print of the film, I learned later. But I was all right, feeling secure in my anonymity anyway. Until . . .

"There's Dave!" I heard a voice call out. It was a lady from my work. She pointed me out to a few of her co-workers sitting with her a few rows in front of me. Wonderful. So much for my anonymity. The theatre did fill in by the designated show-time. Most of the people seemed to know eachother.

I thought I would do a quickie review of the film here, since I'm doubtful this local low budget indie is going to attract much mainstream press.

The 6th Extinction gives an apocalyptic account of civilized mankind's demise when evil-worshipers organize, going house to house in white robes to slaughter the innocent. If that wasn't bad enough, vampires rise up to plague the survivors as well. The story focuses on one young woman whose first date with an internet suitor goes awry when he becomes a vampire after being attacked by another of the undead, all this happening when the young woman makes a brief trip to a restaurant bathroom.

With Harper's Grove (Ypsilanti, actually) erupting into flames about her, the heroine flees her newly fanged tormentor and eventually joins forces with a fireman. Together they find refuge in the basement of a local home after a tense stand-off with the armed homeowner.

Although they're safe from the woman's bloodsucking date, since he can't enter unless invited inside, another female vampire isn't so restricted and attacks the survivors, killing a young girl and mortally wounding her mother. Then the father tells the vampire to leave and she does, since that's another vampire rule to leave when asked. Lots of vampire rules in this movie. I took notes. You never know.

But it turns out, vampires can invite other vampires inside so the date eventually does get into the house when the mother becomes a vampire too. Meanwhile, somehow the daughter ends up outside when her dead corpse re-animates to become a vampire and she has to request permission to enter, or maybe it's her ghost since the corpse is apparently still inside--you know, it gets a little confusing here. I'm going to skip this part.

Here's a tip from the film anyway. If one encounters a vampire, dump a container containing pepper balls or something like that on the floor. For like the count on Sesame Street, these vampires have to count too. It's a priority for them. And it gives would-be victims a chance to flee. By the way, despite all the mayhem, I didn't find the movie suspenseful or scary, but it did maintain a campy spirit throughout.

The film is also visually effective and entertaining, even if the script isn't up to Hollywood standards. As the success of Paranormal Activity has demonstrated, even low budget films can produce cutting edge special effects. In Extinction, a vampire hurls a victim across Michigan Avenue into a downtown Ypsilanti building, the moon breaks into pieces, and a passenger train is attacked and its riders slaughtered by one of the undead. (Another tip: if the apocalypse is nigh, avoid AMTRAK).

As a fan of Sigourney Weaver in the Alien flicks, I admired the strong heroine in this picture too. Despite a broken arm and fractured ankle, she manages to cast aside one vampire, hurry upstairs and take out one of the devil-worshiping dudes with a single blow. That leads me to one last tip: scour the internet dating sites for survivalists if you want to live when it all breaks loose.

My ad is ready to go. "Seeking single white female with moxie to survive an apocalypse, plus the ability to overcome vampires and evil incarnate. Cooking skills appreciated." Reply to Big Dave's Blog.


Blogger TechnoBabe said...

Yo Dave, did you run that ad by the missus????

4:08 AM  
Anonymous Enforcer said...

Ah, I believe you have a woman like that now.

6:05 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

TECHNOBABE--Well, she does always proofread and preview my blog, so I guess I did.

ENFORCER--Yeah, but I'm thinking about my youngest son Scott. He's still eligible.

3:40 AM  
Blogger Carine said...

I hear you on the free movies (not the vampires and such though)-hubby and I were given free tix to that new bruce willis film. hubby said we had to wait in line and get there early. even for free-theatre was almost empty! plus, it really sucked.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

CARINE--Guess you didn't like the movie. That's unusually harsh language for you. But I have a feeling your hubby and I have similar tastes in movies.

3:49 AM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Dave ~~ I am glad you enjoyed that film ~~ Vampires are not on my list of favorites, so I'd give it a miss - even for free.
Have you devoured all that left-over candy yet?
It seems the coyote problem is very
bad over in the U.S. Glad you liked the joke.
Awful news about the shootings this
week over there. We never know what will happen next or where.
My sympathy to all the families
involved. Take care, my friend,
With Best Wishes, Merle.

1:56 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

Have you had any replies to the ad yet? :-)

You should check your search history. Based on the ad, you'll get some hits based on some interesting search terms.

4:20 PM  
Anonymous bonnie said...

Is this a a movie review,
Or the Michigan/Purdue game? Envisioning the Apocalypse;
What a shame!

From the ridiculous
To the sublime:
Beating those Broncos
Felt mighty fine!

7:41 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

MERLE--The candy was gone last Friday. I did have some help finishing off the last of it though.

FRED--No replies to the ad thus far. I guess if the apocalpse comes, we're on our own here--Wendy with her gimpy knee, my son with his iffy back, and myself with issues of my own. Not good.

BONNIE--Yeah the Wolverines are looking more like Lions this season. Guess your fav Spartans are doing better than your hometown Seahawks though. At least MSU evened up their record against MAC teams. Perhaps a re-match again Central Michigan is on tap for the Motor City Bowl in Detroit. Think big.

9:28 AM  

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