Hey, remember this?

A lot of you (well, more than two) have asked why the column has been absent for some time. Well, there are a few reasons. For starters, the sort of films I initially started the column to discuss (Asian films, weird foreign movies, lost gems, etc.) have been slowly getting more exposure thanks to savvy companies like Lionsgate, Subversive, Tartan, Magnolia and a few others (but not the selfish Weinsteins, who still don’t want you to see the Asian acquisitions they have locked in their vaults). And just about anything else that could possibly slip through the cracks gets illuminated by the keen chaps over at Twitch, who cover it far more extensively and insightfully than I could. On top of that, much of the recent output from Asia just hasn’t been overwhelmingly worthwhile (except maybe for Sha Po Lang), or at least not enough to justify the expense of getting an import DVD. And if it is, you’ve probably already been made aware of it. But I’ll keep looking! And I’ll endeavor to get this thing on the site more regularly.

All that said, I do still want the UNDERGROUND to also be an environment for smaller filmmakers (in budget, scope and height – I don’t discriminate against the short) to publicize their wares, particularly genre material. Some past “graduates” of the column like Hide and Creep and Zombie Honeymoon have even gone on to get DVD releases (you can find ‘em on Netflix). As I’ve previously said, even Oscar winner Peter Jackson started with an independent sci-fi splatterfest that featured spilled brains and vomit tasting. I’ve come to enjoy seeing what aspiring filmmakers can accomplish with a few grand, some talent, a lot of time and tons of focus, especially when I can barely finish a sandwich, let alone a script of my own.

So if you’ve got an independent film that you feel is reasonably professional and you want to expose yourself, drop me a line at dave@chud.com. Pants are now optional!


 In the harsh realm of Los Angeles, a beleaguered young Latino messenger grits his teeth and bears a constant stream of racist insults from just about everyone he encounters, whether it’s nicknames like “Taco”, “Sancho” or “Pepe”, or simply a greeting of “Do you speak English?” His bosses are a trio of powerful Hollywood agents, the kind of Buddy Ackerman-esque dickheads who feel that since they endured years of abusive behavior on their way up, all underlings should similarly suffer.

As part of his slow journey to becoming an agent, the messenger delivers important “packages” for the agents – narcotics for pampered celebrity talent who can’t find their motivation without a hit. The agents are looking to be players in drug trafficking as well as showbiz, but when they realize the messenger alone may not be sufficient for their quantities, they convince him to involve his blind best friend Chris (against his girlfriend’s wishes). Needless to say, things do not turn out well.

In the Dark was certainly a pleasant surprise – the comedy is never excessively quirky, the dialogue and crime aspect don’t come across in that ubiquitous self-conscious post-Tarantino manner, and it makes a social statement without being cloying or didactic. The solid cast (there are only a half-dozen major characters) deliver very natural performances without feeling “written”, particularly our unnamed (beyond racial slurs, anyway) protagonist.  And the movie looks far better than a little no-budget digital film has any right to, thanks to first-time feature director Letia Miller’s confident eye and guidance of a clever and unpredictable story.

You can find out more about the flick, including a trailer, at their official site.

 I’m still not 100% certain what the upcoming British flick Stagknight is all about, but it obviously involves paintball, hot babes and extreme violence, all going way over the top.

According to the filmmakers, it’s “an entirely independent project, following in the footsteps of Shaun of the Dead, Stagknight boasts better kills, hotter babes, more laughs and one of the most original horror villains ever seen. Featuring Sandra Dickenson (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and Jocelyn Osario this will be a project to watch! By producer/director Simon Cathcart and producer Rob Mercer (Razor Blade Smile)”.

Find out more, including a trailer, at their official site!

 Sugar Creek is a violent Civil War-era film written and directed by James Cotton, and starring Daniel Kruse, Robert Miano, Raynor Scheine, Rebecca Harrell and Kevin Gage (Heat’s dastardly Waingro!).

The movie (now in post-production) follows Adam, a man pursued by a relentless, mysterious Horseman.  The Horseman hunts Adam down with the intention of killing him; to survive, Adam must learn why.  The film is set in a fictional Arkansas town thirty years after the Civil War.

Check out the film’s official site!

 The intriguing sci-fi indie film The Men Who Fell first popped up on my radar some time last year, but now they’ve got a new trailer that makes me anticipate it even more.

The microbudget affair, being put together with mostly practical effects, involves two convicts sent down to a ravaged Earth from an orbiting prison to do salvage work for a big corporation.  As you might suspect, they find more than they bargained for.  So far it looks like a well-made sci-fi suspense film with a creepy vibe that seems to land somewhere between Le Dernier Combat and 28 Days Later.

For now, check out the trailer on the official site, made to look like the business portal for a futuristic salvage company.

 Aspiring filmmaker Micah Moore (who previously made the shamelessly silly Ninjas Versus Pirates shorts) is now working on a new project called Chinatown Dick, a “darkly comic martial arts detective noir”.  Moore wants to merge the “esthetic of Sin City with a healthy dose of Bogart and the Shaw Brothers thrown in” (and maybe a little Sesame Street, based on the test footage), and has given the lads at Twitch a glimpse at what he’s aiming for.

You can check it out here!

 The people behind the indie crime thriller Last Exit (reviewed HERE) are at it again, this time with a bigger budget film called No Right Turn, which they call a “stylish retro-thriller set between mysterious snowy landscapes and a mythological neon city”.

The movie is currently in post-production, but you can find out more and check out some spiffy stills at their official site.