One of the consequences of living in the Age of Remakes (especially in the horror genre) is that horror filmmakers not interested in doing a remake are finding it difficult to find what I call the “Prevailing Voice”. The 1970s had many different voices. There was the dark, sensationalistic Giallo voice; the documentary-like splashy Italian cannibal voice; and the psychedelic-like exploitation voice of various occult themed films. But today’s modern horror films really have no collective ‘voice’ they can appeal to in order to set a particular tone. That’s why, I believe, we see so many films reaching back to the 1970s and 1980s. Most people categorize such films as “playing homage” to the great films of yesteryear. I think some filmmakers revisit these films because they really don’t have anything modern to appeal to. This isn’t a critique of modern filmmakers; it’s more of a critique of modern horror films and how remakes have created this “void of a voice.” Take MOLD! for example. MOLD! most definitely reaches back to the horror films of the 1980s to find a voice and set a particular tone. The question is (both with this film and all films that do this) at the end of the day did the filmmakers simply give us a ‘new’ 1980s film or did they use the 1980s more as a framework and put a more modern twist on their film?
MOLD! is set in 1984 at the height of the “War on Drugs.” In a secret government facility there’s a new virulent strain of mold being created to spray on and wipe out the coca fields in Columbia. As the film begins we meet the main players and learn that the scientists in the lab are preparing to give the Military and a congressman a tour of the facility and show them the advances they’ve made with the mold. There’s of course a lab accident where the mold gets loose. Or was it an accident? Did someone outside the facility pull some strings to get a real life test on how the mold affects human flesh? I think you know the answer to that. Congressman Blankenship (James Murphy) is your walking, talking 1980s stereotype. He’s a real douchebag who is a womanizer and has a coke problem. Rhodes (Nicholas Russo) is Blankenship’s assistant and is the biggest pussy you’ll find outside Kim Kardashian’s lap. On the military side we have The Colonel (Edward X. Young), who I think steals the show, and Sergeant Brisco (Mike Keller).
As you can imagine, it doesn’t take long for the mold to get out and start infecting the cast. As the scientists tell us, the mold needs three things to grow, moisture, nutrients, and time, and apparently the human body provides a perfect playground for the mold to grow and kill. Director Neil Meschino, who co-wrote the script with Dave Fogerson, keeps everything moving along at a fast pace and gets to the gooey stuff quickly. He knows what his audience wants!! Once the mold starts spreading, none of the cast members are spared and as it turns out, even the cast member’s members aren’t spared. You know what I mean!! The mold also migrates to the victims’ brains thereby turning them into super-aggressive and violent individuals. Mayhem ensues. If you’re a fan of more of the gooey, body horror flicks of the 1980s then you’re gonna be real happy here. The f/x are all executed practically and they are juicy!!
But realize what you’re getting into with MOLD!. This is a micro-budgeted indie horror film with a limited number of actors and locations. The cast does a nice job overall and the scenes where there’s some overacting looks as though it was done on purpose. I also really liked the limited locations. The group gets trapped in the lab and this adds a really nice sense of claustrophobia to the entire project.
MOLD! plays out like a mishmash of WARNING SIGN and STREET TRASH … which are two fantastic films. Sure MOLD! is a one-note film, but the cast and crew have a fun time with the basic plot. The star here is definitely the f/x and these won’t disappoint you. Meschino keeps everything moving at a nice brisk pace and there’s a great payoff at the end. If you’re a fan of 80s body horror flicks then MOLD! will be right up your alley, Check it out.
Director: Neil Meschino (& co-writer with Dave Fogerson)
Plot: 3 out of 5 stars
Gore: 7 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer