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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

'Flytrap' VOD: Gilligan, the Skipper & all the Rest Three Days in the Valley

The unexpected copy of the wonderfully perverse 2016 scifi-horror-comedy "Flytrap" effectively arriving in a plain-brown wrapper a few days ago both is right within the spirit of the film and provides a good chance to be one of the cool kids who discovers this movie before folks who find it on their favorite VOD platform spread the word. The wonderful cult premise of an actual professor who stumbles on a house in the San Fernando Valley whose inhabitants live out a perverse version of "Gilligan's Island" evokes thoughts of the classic "The X Files" episode involving a recreation of "The Brady Bunch." (That is not to say that the "Files" episode revolving around "The Andy Griffith Show" also is not special.)

The scads o' festival recognition for this entertaining blending of genres includes the Best Film Award at the Chelsea Film Festival, the Best Non-European Dramatic Feature Award at the ECU European Independent Film Festival, and three awards (including one for talented Hawaiian shirt clad "Gilligan/real-life righteous PR dude Jonah Blechman) at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards.

The following YouTube clip of the spoiler-containing trailer for "Flytrap" nicely fills its role of providing a tempting taste of the film. In this case, the narration by the lead character and a sample of the very apt closing credits song are very effective.

The aforementioned professor is Englishman Pond, James Pond who is newly arrived in the United States for a teaching position at a prominent California institution of higher learning. He lands in New York with plans for more than a three-hour driving tour across America. He arrives at his destination only to to begin his adventure with a fateful request for assistance at the suburban house of horrors.

In true Hitchcock style, the terror is based (literally in this case) at the house next door. On meeting Mary Ann, Pond innocently jokes about her having the same name as the Kansas farm girl from the aforementioned classic '60s sitcom.

The fun kicks into higher gear when Pond accepts the repeated sweet offers to "reproduce," and  this good-time gal ambiguously suggests that she is from another planet. This is not to mention the mounting evidence that the Skipper is real, is in charge, and is more of an other from the "Lost" rather than  the beloved sitcom jolly fat man.

The cautionary aside this time is that the literal psychopath next door once knocking on the door of your not-so-humble reviewer with an offer to "make love" as thanks for programming a universal remote control shows that it can happen to you. The response to this offer that anyone can easily refuse was telling of a need to wait for a phone call and an insincere offer of "maybe later."

Pond also soon learns that he is on a mission from Skipper to knock up Mary Ann for the good of mankind. He additional experiences a hybrid Stockholm Syndrome/fellow traveler complex that results in bonding with the small-town girl next door.

Much of the great action revolves around the (of course) Gilligan-thwarted efforts to escape from the "island." One of the best involves particularly sadistic use of a dog-training collar.

"Flytrap" amps up the old school vibe of the film with the elements of air-vent communication with a fellow captive, the frantic friend concerned about Pond, and the (possibly temporary) turning of the tables. Neo existential aspects come into play regarding the final scenes.

This all adds up to showing what one can do with with a very limited budget, a friend with a house in the Valley, and an excellent team in-front of and behind the camera with senses of humor that rival their commitment to producing a commercially viable alternative to the latest superhero epic in which the fight scenes and the exposition share equal time.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Flytrap" is encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.