366 UNDERGROUND: WAY DOWN IN CHINATOWN (2013)

Way Down in Chinatown 1

DIRECTED BY: Eric Michael Kochmer

FEATURING: Justin Dray, Stephanie Sanditz, Lisa Loring, Nancy Wolfe, Ashli Haynes

PLOT: Playwright Victor Mitchum (Dray) and his director/wife Jessica Mitchum (Sanditz) receive funding to produce their new play, “Apocalypse Tomorrow.” As they start auditions for the play, the real Apocalypse begins, involving worms taking human form and the song ‘Goodnight, Irene’.

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WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: It takes more than avant-garde pretensions to make a good weird film. This is strictly a ‘love it or hate it’ movie, and I completely hated it within the first 10 minutes.

COMMENTS: One of the worst P.O.S. that I’ve had occasion to watch; yet another project to give the term ‘avant-garde’ a bad reputation. Essentially a play adapted for film, it takes all the worst aspects of experimental cinema/theater and throws it in your lap. If you’re a fan of German Expressionism, you’re better off finding the real thing to watch instead of half-baked ‘tributes’ like this that cheapen and taint the term.

One could watch the film ironically, and see it as a parody of self-absorbed, pseudo-intellectual tripe that tries to pass itself off as deep and meaningful; but the film is so serious that even watching it ironically is exhausting and unsatisfying. Not even the presence of Lisa Loring (Wednesday Addams from “The Addams Family” television show) elevates this to camp value.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:

“Surreal, impressionistic, and irrevocably bizarre, Kochmer’s artistic approach to the eccentric is reminiscent of a David Lynch expose.”–Dave Gammon, Horrornews.net (contemporaneous)

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