|Horror, Science Fiction
Mentally Ill Films, Wild Eye Releasing
May 21st, 2013
Release length: 1:28:00
Set in 1984, Mold is like many viral outbreak films of the eighties. A research facility is working on a new biological weapon in the form of spores that expedite mold and decomposition when introduced to anything wet or humid. This is part of a classified government project in order to fight the war on drugs. While experimenting on animal specimens, one of the mice bite the scientist involved, causing an outbreak that is thought secured when Sargeant Brisco (Mike Keller), the Colonel (Edward X. Young) and Congressman Stu Blankenship (James Murphy) stop for an update on their progress. As the creation is shown off, the vial containing the spores is opened, leading to the entire building being contaminated, quarantined, and part of a bizarre experiment meant to test the final product in real time.
One of the crucial plot points to Mold is that the spores thrive in moist environments. Most of the facility operates with dehumidifiers, which are supposed to help prevent the spread of spores in case of an outbreak. This wouldn’t stop them from spreading if someone comes into contact with it, especially if the skin is moist or happen to get inside you. The spores manage to get into the room everyone is stuck in from time to time through people being exposed, passing on the infection, as well as through the piping, only increasing the desperation to escape alive and take out the man orchestrating the whole thing.
But this is where the film’s main issue comes into play: The fact that the spores cling on to anything wet or moist, even acknowledging it could spread from puffing on a cigar thanks to vapor produced by the human body. This means people just talking would still run a major risk. There are plenty of times the characters are in close contact with one another and the spores still don’t spread.
The acting also could have been better, but doesn’t hold back the sensation of watching a generally low-budget film from the eighties. Most of the characters are played up with common stereotypes that the cast literally walks the line between moderately good to relatively over-the-top. Of course some of the later make-up used to represent the deterioration of skin takes on a flat, simplistic look similar to what exists in Redneck Zombies or Plaga Zombie.
While some of the make-up effects can look weak, especially as the film goes on, many of the gore effects are traditional eighties magic. During sudden flare ups of the mold, skin would quickly deteriorate and hair simply fall out. But then there’s the extreme cases of violent degeneration, such as the insides of one character’s head decaying so fast it literally starts folding in on itself as he vomits mold and rot. This is handled more through the effects of a latex mask. The best are the violent reactions to the antidote though, reminiscent of Big Trouble in Little China but sometimes far more gruesome. The only death that is far more horrific is one of the characters exploding, though handled off screen with the organs flying into frame to rain down on the remaining cast members.
On top of having the physical effects spot on, it’s obvious Mold took care to maintain some analog traits while not losing out on all modern values. The film is a widescreen production that had no black bars on the screen like some of today’s modern films on DVD, which is a huge plus right off the bat. The audio quality is a little on the rough side like the visuals, though it takes a bit after the opening credits for most of the conversations to be heard without needing to turn the volume up a notch or two. There is a score that really only comes into play during the more tense or gore-filled scenes, not to mention an actual theme song and two other tracks performed that vary between what sounds like Crossover Thrash and Punk, perfectly suiting the time period of the film and it’s aforementioned production style.
Mold acts as a nice love letter to the eighties era of government conspiracies and cover-ups while handling itself like a cross between The Stuff and the stylish eighties flare of the Return of the Living Dead series. If you didn’t know any better you would swear you were watching a Troma Films product. Unlike many others from that era, or even today, this one establishes a major plot point that not only sets up a sequel, but possibly a shot lived franchise if handled correctly. If you’re a fan of campy eighties gorefests, Mold will take you on a fun little ride.
|Overall Score: 7.5/10