Monochromia (2013) – By Duane L. Martin

A long time ago, a scientist came up with a new biological weapon that would incapacitate our country’s enemies by turning them all blind. Unfortunately, the weapon had the unintented result of spreading the biological agent throughout the world, only thankfully, it didn’t work as expected. Instead of turning everyone blind, it gave everyone in the world color blindness.

Now, decades later, very few people even remember what it’s like to see color, and everyone thinks of their monochromia as basically normal. One scientist however wants to change all of that, and has dedicated his life to coming up with a formula that will restore the ability to see colors to everyone on the planet. Unfortunately for him however, a billionaire industrialist named Roderick (Michael Legge) wants the formula for himself so he can make himself even richer by selling it to the world. To that end, he sends his not-so-bright crook of a brother, Alvin (also Michael Legge), and Alvin’s main squeeze Nadine (Lorna Nogueira), to steal the formula. Now it’s up to the police and a bubble wrap popping junkie named Squeamy (Phil Hall) to put a stop to their evil plans.

For those who don’t know him, Michael Legge has a cable show where he plays a b-movie host called Dr. Dreck, along with his sidekick, Moaner, played by Lorna Nogueira. He’s also made a movie with those characters called The Dungeon of Dr. Dreck, which is a must see.

As for this film, we see many of the same faces we’ve seen in so many of his other films. He has a regular group of folks that he pulls from for his films, which creates a nice familiarity for the viewer.

This film, like his other films, is just plain silly, and rather surreal. His are the kinds of films where you leave all seriousness at the door as you plop yourself down in front of the television with your popcorn and milk duds for good smile and a fun time.

A big part of what makes this film fun are the characters. I have to say that although his performances have gotten some mixed reviews from me in the past, Phil Hall absolutely stole the show in this one. See, bubble wrap had been outlawed, and his character Squeamy was a bubble wrap junkie. He got his high, not from drugs, but from popping bubble wrap, which the cops used to bribe him to be their snitch. Phil acted like a straight up tweaker, and the voice he used and his manner of speech…, it was, to put it simply, awesome. I couldn’t imagine anyone doing a better job with the character than he did, and it was great to see him really open up and bust out the comedy chops for this role.

Michael Legge is always silly and fun in whatever he does, and Lorna Nogueira…ok, here’s what I think of Lorna. You know that internet meme where something insanely cute says it’s going to do something horrible, and then there’s the meme guy with tears gushing out of his eyes because whatever it was in the first frame was so adorable and he says, "Okay"? That’s how I feel about Lorna. She, could tell you she was going to cut out your liver and serve it to you for dinner, and you’d be just like that meme guy. Why? Because there’s something just absolutely adorable about her and the way she delivers her lines. You can’t help but like her, even when she’s playing a bad guy. Michael Legge is a little better at coming off as a bad guy, but he still seems like someone you’d want to hang out with. What’s great about that is that they can be the bad guys without adding any real heaviness to what’s supposed to be a fun film. Their performances always just work, and they’re always just so enjoyable to watch, whatever film they’re in.

The two cops in the film, Novak (Bob Heim) and Madigan (Don Paul Nogueira) are about as inept as they come. They’re constantly one big step behind, and always missing their opportunities to catch Alvin and Nadine. Even when Squeamy and the dead scientist’s cousin Paige (Cherry Lynn Zinger) very blatantly point them out to the cops at a poetry reading, the cops are just utterly dense and completely inept throughout the film. Bob and Don did a nice job of making them feel that way, without going overboard with it. At times you feel like they could actually be somewhat competent. You’d just have to catch them at the right mooment. Basically, they did a nice job with the balance of playing them as inept without making them feel overly stupid.

Michael has a great love of classic b-movies, as do I, and often his films have that sort of a vibe to them even though they’re not really made to be like classic b-movies, other than The Dungeon of Dr. Dreck, which was about as classic b-movie feeling as it gets and just so much fun. I think anyone who has a great love of classic b-movies will find a lot more appreciation for the fun and silliness of Michaels films than those who have their nose in their air and consider themselves too sophisticated for such fare. A sense of humor is required. If you don’t have one, then you’re not going to enjoy any comedy really, and the sillier they are, the less you’ll enjoy them. So for all of you air nosers out there, pass on this one. For the rest of you who like to have a good time, I can totally recommend this one. Can’t I recommend it as much as The Dungeon of Dr. Dreck? No, because I think that one was far and away his best film and I’m still desperately hoping to see a sequel to that one, but of all the films I’ve seen from him, I’d definitely recommend this one almost as much.

If you’d like to pick up a copy for yourself, the film will be available on CreateSpace very soon, and you can order yourself a copy from right here. If you’d like to keep up with Michael Legge and Sideshow Cinema’s happenings, or to pick up more of Michael’s films, you can check out the Sideshow Cinema website right here.