Welcome everyone to today’s film post. This time around I’ll be looking at the comedy/horror/sci-fi genre bender, Mandao of the Dead. The film is available now on Amazon Prime in the USA and will be screening at San Diego Comic Con on July 20th. As always, let’s start with the trailer itself.
So, my thoughts. Small budgets do not have to equal low quality, especially when it comes to features with a horror tinge. Take Cigarette Burns, John Carpenter’s 2005 episode of Master of Horror for example. Running to a little under an hour, the episode had modest funding but managed to provide plenty of shocks wrapped around an engrossing tale. The same argument could be made for multiple entries in the Troma Entertainment back catalogue, where black comedy was the order of the day.
The reason I mention this is that, as is apparent in the trailer, Mandao of the Dead, has a very small budget. Working with $13,000 (not to mention a filming turnaround of only ten days), it’s nowhere near the level of Hollywood’s scare projects in terms of funding. When in this position though, directors are often inspired to make the most of what they do have. Based on what we see in the trailer, I expect this to be the case here.
There is nothing in the trailer that makes me think that the crew is trying to overdo it in the effects department. Instead, they appear to be relying on simple tricks like vocal effects, lighting, and well-placed camera angles. To top it all off, the trailer also gives us a good idea of what the film is about. Even with the slightly hokey premise of astral projecting back in time, the story is clearly being kept fairly straightforward. The characters’ roles are clearly defined, and the whole thing has an air of cult films featuring slacker heroes, like Idle Hands.
The comedy appears to come off as the sort of off-the-cuff comments that you can probably picture people you know making. I like that. While I personally find that jokes don’t always land with that method, the humour often feels more organic than when using elaborate set pieces. I also really enjoyed the retro feel of both the logo and the film poster. I’ve always ah da soft spot for pre-2000’s horror, and this plays into that nicely.
Overall, Mandao of the Dead looks set to provide a good mix of laughs and scares with a fun time travel story to guide it along. Scott Dunn should have a cult success on his hands here, and may yet be a name that is seen more and more in a genre that is somehow both over-saturated and crying out for people with new ideas.
The unambitious Jay Mandao lives frugally off his late father’s cereal royalties. He wants nothing more than to live in solitude, but is duped into taking in his adult nephew-in-law, Jackson.
As Halloween approaches, Jay begins having odd dreams, and comes to find that he has the ability of astral projection. Jay and Jackson are approached by a ghost who has a small window of opportunity to reverse his death at the hands of Jackson’s murderous ex-girlfriend.
Mandao of the Dead: USA / 74 min / English
‘MANDAO OF THE DEAD’ Screening Coming to Comic Con 2019
Los Angeles, CA – Mandao Films has recently announced their screening at the Comic Con International Film Festival 2019. The festival is part of the San Diego Comic Con. Mandao of the Dead is scheduled to screen:
Saturday, July 20th, 2019
Grand Ballroom 6
San Diego Marriott Marquis.
The “charming winner of a flick” is now available to stream on Amazon Prime, iTunes, and Vimeo on Demand. The film is also available to purchase on Blu Ray via the Mandao Films website – www.mandaofilms.com.
This is the second feature from Writer/Director Scott Dunn and Producer Gina Gomez Dunn. The “genre-bending” film has recently gained some media attention with Dunn lauded as a filmmaker who, “… makes a better film than contemporary directors with twenty-plus features on Amazon” (Film Threat).
Mandao Films has also announced a sequel in the works, currently entitled “Mandao Returns” slated for a 2020 release. Prior to filming, the Mandao team will launch their crowdfunding campaign in October 2019 on to raise funding for the film. Details on the campaign to be announced soon.