“I think it was from taking the elevator to my dorm room every day in college. I developed this weird thing with elevators. It wasn’t fetishistic or anything, I was just always thinking about the elevator, and you know how you feel your stomach move a bit when an elevator first starts or stops? I would feel that at random times in the day when I wasn’t in an elevator, and I would feel like the ground was just a rising elevator platform. I was also very shy at the time and I started to look forward to taking the elevator every day because it was the rare time I might be forced into a social situation with someone.”–Zeb Haradon on the origins of Elevator Movie
FEATURING: Zeb Haradon, Robin Ballard
PLOT: A woman carrying groceries is trapped in an elevator with a socially inept graduate student. Oddly, no one answers when they push the call button, and no one comes for days and weeks on end; even more oddly, her grocery bag is refilled each morning. As the weeks stretch into months, the mismatched pair—an adult virgin obsessed with anal sex and a reformed slut turned Jesus freak—form a sick symbiotic bond, until the girl undergoes a weird metamorphosis.
- Per director Haradon, the budget for the film was between twenty-five and thirty thousand dollars.
- According to a statement on the official website the main influences on the story were Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot,” the films of Luis Buñuel (particularly That Obscure Object of Desire and The Exterminating Angel), and Eraserhead.
- Although the mouse-stomping scene was faked, the end of the film shows a joke disclaimer that proclaims, “No animals were harmed in the making of this film except for lobsters and mice.” Haradon received angry mails from animal rights advocates who believed that a mouse was actually killed onscreen.
- Hardon’s followup film was the documentary Waiting for NESARA (2005), about a bizarre UFO cult composed of ex-Mormons.
- The 2008 Romanian film Elevator features a similar dramatic scenario of a young man and woman trapped together in a cargo elevator, but without any surrealistic elements.
INDELIBLE IMAGE: Lana, after she inexplicably transforms into a metal/human hybrid.
WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: By mixing Sartre’s “No Exit” with an ultra-minimalist riff on Buñuel’s The Exterminating Angel, garnished with large dollops of fantastical sexual depravity and a pinch of body horror, writer/director/star Zeb Haradon created one of the weirder underground movies of recent years. The absurdist script is exemplary, and the simplicity of the one-set scenario means that the movie’s technical deficiencies don’t stick out, and could even add to the oddness.
Original trailer for Elevator Movie (WARNING: trailer contains profanity and sexual situations)
COMMENTS: I have to start this review of with a confession/apology: when I first Continue reading 60. ELEVATOR MOVIE (2004)