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Dances With Films: Can a Bat Monster be Cinderella?

Attack of the Bat Monsters by writer/director Graham Kelly Greene is an independent filmmaker fairy tale. It premiered in 2000 at the Dances with Films festival and, even though the soundtrack wasn’t finished, it won the Best of DWF Award and got good reviews. Then, like so many other quality indie films it disappeared into the void.Attack Poster

But, not everyone forgot about this sleeping beauty, leading to its triumphal return this year.

About five years ago, Dances with Films received a phone call from Watchmaker Films, asking if they could locate Bat Monsters. Now, the princess is going to the ball, no longer in Super 16mm, but in a newly digitized high-def rendition and with the soundtrack completed.

Attack of the Bat Monsters is inspired by the work of legendary exploitation filmmaker Roger Corman. It takes place in 1959 during a movie shoot at a desolate rock quarry, where a driven director wraps three days early on a low-budget science-fiction film. When the exhausted cast and crew agree to shoot a second film in the 72 hours they have left, the laughs begin.

If you’ve seen any of Corman’s work you’ll realize that this is not an outlandish plot. In one year, for instance, he finished seventeen films. You’ll also enjoy how well writer/director Graham Kelly Greene captures the look and kitchy charm of the corny dialog that was a mainstay of Corman’s work. If you’re old enough to remember going to the movies or drive-in to see them while they were new, you’ll recognize some of the characters as parodies of stars who “crowned” or at least ended their careers in Corman’s flicks.

The film is more than just a tribute to old fashioned horror movies. It has a solid plot and some good characters. The protagonist is not the director, played in CassieEgo-Vision by Fred Ballard, but his long suffering A.D. (Assistant Director), played by Michael Dalmon.

It is Dalmon’s character that really inspires the crew to make the extra effort, saves the director’s project, and has a secret relationship with the scream-queen star of the films, played by Casie Waller (a.k.a., Casie Tabanou).

His efforts to bring in the 72-hour wonder are complicated by the director’s desire to add a sexy scene for the European release and the efforts of a big studio to kick them off their location early.

So where can you see this Cinderella of the indies? According to Greene it should be available on Movie.com soon, and later will be released to Netflix and VOD.

Beware! The Bat Monster is coming. And, so are some good laughs.

About LeoOfMars

Writer, photographer, graphic artist and technologist. I focus my creative efforts on celebrating the American virtues of self-reliance, individual initiative, volunteerism, tolerance and a healthy suspicion of power and authority.