I’ll just get this over with right now. The Dungeon of Dr. Dreck is flat out the most fun I’ve had watching an indie film, maybe ever!
Some of our readers are familiar with the fact that aside from running Rogue Cinema, I also run my own personal review site B-Movie Central, where I review classic b-movies. I’m a huge fan of classic b-movie cheese, and that’s exactly what this movie delivered…in spades!
The Dungeon of Dr. Dreck is another great film from writer / director Michael Legge, and this one was made to look like a classic black and white b-movie that takes place in 1966. That already got bonus points in my book, but man, he just nailed it with this one.
Dr. Dreck (Michael Legge) is a mad scientist who’s been having a fairly hard time of it. He keeps applying for a mad scientist grant from the government, but keeps getting turned down. Undaunted, he keeps busy in his lab where he lives with his faithful companion, a rubber rat named Stu that he brought to life with a special serum. Dr. Dreck’s other friend and assistant is a high school cheerleader named Moaner (Lorna Noguiera) that he brought back to life while she was in the grave after a week of being dead. Things aren’t going well for them financially however, so Moaner’s been taking it upon herself to go out and pretend to be collecting money for her high school basketball team.
Stu happens to be a fan of a show on the local TV station called Tea With Louise, which has the station’s owner, a very nasty, crochety old lady named Louise Morgan (Phyllis Weaver) hosting a light afternoon movie with her co-host, a "French" chef (Ed Benjamin III) who delivers daily recipes with a French accent. Dr. Dreck and Moaner can’t stand the show, but Stu loves it, and while discussing it one day, it comes up that maybe Dr. Dreck should go pitch his own show to the TV station, and to that end, Dr. Dreck and Moaner head on down to the TV station to pitch his idea for a show where he teaches people how to perform various operations on themselves at home. Needless to say, the station’s manager Lester Morgan (John Shanahan), who’s also Louise’s son, isn’t all that interested because of liability issues that might arise, so Dr. Dreck leaves the station feeling pretty dejected, but that soon changes when a horror host showing classic b-movies on a rival stations starts tearing away at Louise’s ratings and sponsors start jumping ship. Lester makes an executive decision to hire Dr. Dreck and Moaner to host their own afternoon b-movie show and relagates his mother’s show to a mere segment on the the 7 o’clock news. Naturally she doesn’t take kindly to this, and starts to plan the demise of Dr. Dreck and Moaner so she can re-gain her time slot and her former glory. Will she manage to do a way with them, or will they have the last laugh? You’ll have to grab yourself a copy of the film to find out.
Before I go any farther with this review, I’m going to do something I never do. I’m going to tell you to go buy a copy of this movie…right now. Don’t read any further, just go get it. You can get yourself a copy right here. I mean, don’t bother if you’re humorless and can’t appreciate classic b-movie style cheesy fun, but if you’re as big of a fan of that type of thing as I am, then go get yourself a copy of this film. Trust me.
Why do I say this? Well, Michael Legge just "gets it" when it comes to cheesy humor and fun, and he really gets why the classic b-movies were so awesome, and you can really feel his love for them in this film. He also has a really goofy sense of humor, which also comes through in spades. I don’t want to get into it all here because it would ruin the experience of seeing it for the first time, but take it from me, the humor and the sight gags all just really work. I mean seriously, he’s got a living rubber Haloween rat with a speech impediment and a doofy high school cheerleader zombie as sidekicks? How awesome is that?!?
Michael Legge himself, and I didn’t realize it until I saw this particular film, actually reminds me a LOT of Jon Lovitz in his line delivery and acting style. I’ve always loved Jon Lovitz, so that just added to the fun of this film for me even more. Michael’s performance isn’t quite as over the top as Jon would do it though, and I thnk that’s a good thing, because his performance as Dr. Dreck was perfect for the story. Neither understated nor so over the top that it ruined the perfectly balanced fun of the film.
I’ve enjoyed Lorna Noguiera’s performances in all three films as well, but in this one she just shined as Moaner. She’s far older than a high school cheerleader, but she managed to bring that vibe out of her character so well that you really don’t think about it all that much other than noting the fact mentally once or twice that she is in fact older than her character’s supposed to be. She beautifully managed to merge her character’s traits of being a doofy high school cheerleader and a flesh eating zombie, and the end result was one hell of a fun character.
Another excellent performance in this film was Phyllis Weaver’s portrayal of Louise Morgan. If you could turn acid reflux into a human being, it would be Louise Morgan. She took pure nastiness to new levels and every word that came out of her mouth just dripped with bile. She’s also totally dominating of her son and nasty to her "French" chef co-host. Let’s put it this way. Cruella DeVille looks like a girl scout compared to this lady.
The film itself has a great story, is well shot, edited beautifully, and even includes a cool 3D segment you need to wear special red glasses to see. The glasses are included with the DVD. Something else that worked really well was the set design. I don’t always mention set design in my reviews, but sometimes it’s so well done and adds so much to the look of the film, that I actually do mention it. Such was the case in this film. The whole look of the film was beautiful and really enhanced the vibe Michael was going for with it. The right props can add so much to a film, and there was a great selection of them on display here. Everything from rubber body parts to lab equipment, and it was all complimented by the costuming and make-up, which was creative and superbly done.
This has literally become one of my favorite films ever and I’ll definitely be watching this one many more times in the future. Aside from the special glasses for the 3D scene, the DVD also includes bloopers, a look behind the scenes and a stills gallery. The DVD itself can be had for $10, and in my opinion, it’s worth twice that and more. This is one you’ll definitely want to add to your collection, and I really just can’t say enough good things about it.
If you’d like to find out more about Michael’s films, you can check out the Sideshow Cinema website here. Do yourself a favor and check out his films. There’s lots of great, cheesy fun to be had!