– 4 limbs of Frank Henenlotter
– 2 leaves of Little Shop of Horrors
– 1 copy of VCR junk food
– 10 pages of Dune
– 1 fifth of Cronenberg’s fluid
Blend together these elements using the Konami Code. Sprinkle with tears and serve in the Holy Grail embellished with an umbrella that has Buddha printed on it.
If you can imagine the above drink, then you have a good head start on the experience of Motivational Growth. The brainchild and first feature length film of Don Thacker strives for the low budget horror of Basket Case, while occasionally reaching some sort of bizarre glory.
The plot of Motivational Growth is primed for maximal budgetary concerns. Ian Folivar (Adrian DiGiovanni) is a mess of a depressed person who has become a shut in for 67 weeks when his television, Kent, conks out. His apartment is a pigsty, as he doesn’t even feel like cleaning. And, so, he decides to kill himself by mixing bleach and ammonia in a bathtub and breathing. When he tries to shut off the exhaust fan, he falls, hitting his head and knocking himself unconscious.
When he awakens, the giant pile of mold that has been gathering in his bathroom has come alive and motivates Ian to become a better human being until it goes too far.
Motivational Growth is largely a one-man one-set show. The mold is voiced by Jeffrey Combs, but is still an unmoving pile of rubbery anthropomoprhic goodness that Henenlotter would be proud of. Thacker, who also wrote the movie, offers up a battle for Ian’s soul between the television, Kent, and The Mold (who petulantly demands to be called THE Mold). Thacker mixes in mythology from a variety of different religions as well as Dune. He also throws in 1980s TV show trope recreations from anime to HSN, adds in animation, and overlays the whole thing with a chip tune score.
Fortunately, Motivational Growth works in no small part due to the willingness of DiGiovanni to go there. He spends the first 20 minutes of the film in a filthy undershirt and tighty whities, with a hideous beard and a giant zit. He gets fluids sprayed on him a several points in the film, and he’s always game for whatever Thacker sends his way. Plus, he’s entertaining and interesting to spend time with. And, he better be, since he carries the film for 104 minutes with a piece of rubber and a rotating pile of guest stars.
Despite its occasional pacing problems, it was really fun to spend time in a dirt cheap low-budget creature feature. As a huge fan of those light-weight gory horror movies where everything was rubber and the movie waffled between horror and hilarity, it was nice to get a new entry in that mold, and one that updated it for today’s retro-fetish mindset. Motivational Growth isn’t going to win over the masses and become a household name. But, with any luck, this might end up as one of those types of movies that fans will pass around like VHS tapes of old.
Motivational Growth is available for pre-order starting last night, and will be released on September 30th.