Ben Gonyo’s portrait of aspiring no-budget filmmakers premiered in its hometown of Rochester NY last year. In addition to appearing on Snag, the film made its broadcast premiere on the Documentary Channel in time for Halloween last year.
With echoes of Chris Smith’s AMERICAN MOVIE, Michael Paul Stephenson’s BEST WORST MOVIE, and the recent JOURNEY TO PLANET X, Gonyo’s film introduces audiences, whether they’re ready or not, to the world of Mike, Lou, and Lawrence, a trio of Rochester-based filmmaking wiseguys. Their basement-made – and frankly inept – horror films from Mike’s “Twilighted Side Productions” (with Mike attempting to introduce on-screen à la Rod Serling) have titles like RIDE TO THE MORGUE and THE DEADLY CAMPING GAME and have appeared on local public access channels – the filmmakers naively believing that this exposure will somehow allow them to break into Hollywood. Gonyo follows the men over two years, giving an all-too-clear sense of the trainwreck-fascinating appeal of their work while also allowing them to elaborate on why they think their unique talents belong in the mainstream. While the film is undeniably enjoyable and often very funny, it skirts a very fine line between bemused affection for its subjects and mockery, which may leave some viewers uneasy. Still, as far as documentary subjects go, Gonyo’s underdogs are people viewers will want to watch.