POLLEN ( 2016) Film /Grindhouse Purgatory Magazine
I'm going to do something slightly more than a film review this time. I hope my slight change is tolerated by readers and maybe even introduces you to some very cool stuff you may not have known about otherwise.
Pollen is a short film that I found out about from being a fan and FB friend with the writer, 42nd Street Pete. I am a big fan of Pete's and his excellent magazine, "Grindhouse Purgatory Magazine."
The film was adapted from an original story written by Pete, and was directed by Scott Brosius. The filmgrew out of another project from the two after working on a film festival event. The original project as I understand it, was a found footage type short about the filming of a commercial that goes wrong when a deadly virus outbreak hits. This short can be found as an extra on the Pollen DVD. It is prettyhilarious and disgusting and is within the same tone as the film . This short is clearly the engine that got the idea rolling on teaming up Pete with the female star of Pollen due to their chemistry.
Pollen itself is a short feature that was clearly a labor of love by its creators. The plot while not complex is a twisted tale of drug dealers, betrayal and fungus zombies resulting from a mad scientist who is desperate. The blurb on the back of the DVDsums up the film better than I could.
"A scientist looking to slow aging gets into a bit of trouble by supplying drugs to a seedy drug dealer. And drug dealers take note - when your supply starts to run low, never let your scientist connection just "whip something up" for you in a pinch. You just never know what you'll get as they say. Such is the case with small time hustler Bob, and his crony, Red. After Red gets taken for a quart of what ever the fuck concoction scientist guy whipped up for them by party girl, Leece, she and her roommates Brandy and Carla find that after a night of partying the shit grows... quickly. Meanwhile, tensions between Bob and Red grow, people die, things get weird, and shit, as they say, hits the fan. "
The film stars 42nd Street Pete., A Ghastlee Ghoul and local talent from Clevenland, Jenn Peters and Jason Botsford with a few other unfamiliar ( by me) actors . The main players in the film have great on screen charisma with Pete and the female lead really making the film a lot of fun. While the supporting actors obviously have smaller parts they make their impact, from the mad scientist tothe two party girl best friends being hilarioulys amoral and the barely competent hitman/mook.
The film's story moves pretty fast and when it does slow down its to see Red the drug dealer stumble around trying to remember what he was even doing after drinking toomuch of the drug he sold. This is probably my favorite parts of the movie as Pete really made this dopey drug dealer who can't seem to get his shit straight a lot of fun to watch. Red's bickering with his Exthat ripped him off is comedy gold. I don't like to nitpick low budget passion projects because I keep in mind the hurtles that have to be over come with time and money etc. So within context of a low budget short film, I can't really gripe about anything. Everything moves at a good clip with the only thing I would have changed was a bar/party scene of the girls lasting a little longer than needed. Of course as I am wont to do, inaccuracies of weapons and how they work is always something that draws my attention like steel to a magnet even if no one else notices or cares.
The movie is a indeed low budget but it is well done and the makers put real effort into it and it shows. The fact that they shot the film in arctic OH conditions couldn't have been easy but they clearly cared enough about this to push on through. I hope we see more from the director in the future and from the actors. If you want to pickup a copy to check out you can contact Pete on his FB page https://www.facebook.com/42ndstreetpete
If you send Pete a message on FB he will sell you a copy of Pollen and sign it for you if you ask nicely. You can also buy copies of his magazine directly from him. The GrindHouse Purgatory Magazines are worth every penny. Every issue has tons of great pieces of film from the grindhouse era from a variety of writers, some of which, like Pete, lived in the era and visited the famous 42nd St back in the day. Pete recounts personal stories from those days that are worth the price of the book alone. Each volume has plenty of movie reviews, spotlights certain genres and actors and one volume even has a list of all the double features that played in the various grindhouse theaters back in the day. Another issue has an interview with the makers of Pollen discussing it and how it came to be. There is a lot of info packed into each issue and it's a little hard to give an adequate description of just how muchyou do get. Ithas my highest recommendation. I enjoy it so much I often buy copiesto give out as gifts.
On top of the magazines, Pete also has written the book "Gunfighters of the Drunken Master. Which is every bit as awesome as it sounds and " 42nd St Pete's Big Book of Grindhouse Trivia." It's cover to cover interesting facts about the coolest films made. If you like the Grindbin Podcast for more than laughs and are interested in these type of films, it's worth picking up.
If you check all that out and want more, you can find Pete on the Grindhouse Purgatory/radiodrome Podcast over on Josh Hadley's website 1201beyond.com. Over there Pete talks about grindhouse films and what it was like to be in those theaters seeing these filmsgloriously projected on the big screen. Being a well known figure in community Pete knows many of the figures from those times and has a helluva lot of interesting stories. As a friend says" Do Go Check it Out."