Saturday, February 21, 2015


Motivational Growth (2013) d. Don Thacker (USA)

Ian Folivor (Adrian DiGiovanni) is a depressive shut-in who, following an ill-fated suicide attempt, finds himself being given life lessons from The Mold, an expanding fungal growth in his bathroom (a superb alliance of puppetry and Jeffrey Combs’ mellifluous vocal performance). Soon, the thesaurus-enhanced smooth-talking goop is large and in charge, leaving Ian desperately trying to maintain sanity in between bouts of channel-surfing on his sometimes-deceased television (named Kent) or keyhole-stalking the comely next-door neighbor (Danielle Doetsch).

Chicago-based writer/director Thacker explodes onto the scene with his debut feature, one that rattles viewers’ synapses with an ever-changing view of reality and dazzles practical effects lovers with a wealth of impressive latex and karo syrup splatter. DiGiovanni is outstanding in the central role; even with all the enjoyably cheesy throwback bells and whistles, the movie wouldn’t survive without his committed, charismatic turn as the luckless loser. Doetsch is all quirky loveliness, a dream girl in more ways than one, while Ken Brown, Pete Giovagnoli, and Hannah Stevenson offer memorable support.

Thacker delivers numerous terrific trick shots of his increasingly ungrounded protagonist floating, flying, and floundering through space and time, whether it be gravity-defying intervals in the commode or popping up in Kent’s TV-show worlds (ranging from public-access aerobic classes to cheesy sci-fi soap operas). All of this is underscored by Alex Mauer’s authentic, ear-blistering Commodore-64 soundtrack, emulating the arcade and home video games of the 1980s.

With its technical expertise, ambitious scope, and original vision, this is a terrific example of microbudget filmmaking, both smart and sloppy in all the right ways.

Motivational Growth is available now on DVD from MVD Entertainment, with trailers, photo gallery, and an audio commentary track featuring Combs, DiGiovanni, and Thacker. Order your copy HERE:

--Aaron Christensen, HorrorHound Magazine


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