Sunday, November 18, 2012

The “Enjoyably Ridiculous” and Totally Awesome Manborg

A man-machine created in Winnipeg arrives in Toronto and demonstrates the power of a low budget.

Steve Kostanski was watching 80's VHS tapes in his native Winnipeg (mostly bad sci-fi and cop movie cheese) when a friend half-challenged him to make a movie titled Manborg. Four years (and a thousand dollars) later, the Royal exhibited three special screenings of his lo-fi “labor of love” and the results are definitely entertaining.

The tongue-in-cheek plot involves the fight between hell and humankind, with the villains being a mix of zombies, Nazis and vampires. A soldier is resurrected Robocop-style as a not very eloquent man-machine who is joined by other freedom-fighters (all archetypes from video games) and a twisted cast of characters in the battle against hell’s forces. It gets weirder than that, and all with a good dose of campy humor.

Kostanski, who was present in Toronto for one of the few Manborg screenings in town, said that his ambitions exceeded his budget, which forced him to be resourceful. He had his mother, for instance, sew green fabric into green screens (which were the just a little off the chromakey standard, which adds to the home-made feel of the movie). Besides co-writing, editing and directing the feature, Kostanski proved himself to be a deft producer of claymation, computer graphics, special effects, make-up and DIY costumes. When you have a vision, money ain’t nothing but a thing.

Bio-Cop, a police officer who is also a chemical spill, might be the follow-up to Manborg. The trailer itself is already a fan-favorite. For other screenings of Manborg, click here.


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