Friday, October 17, 2014

Honourable Mention: Epitaph: Bread and Salt

Nathyn Masters had a vision and to create that vision he made a comic book. As well as a comic book he made this low budget (big ambition) prequel movie, which was released in 2013. Whilst you can buy the movie he has made it free to watch on YouTube.

Now, to be fair, it is the fact that it is free to watch that has led to me covering it as an ‘Honourable Mention’ rather than reviewing it and I will say from the outset that the film is flawed. However it is inexperience and low budget that has primarily flawed it and Masters has done much with little.

death by confetti
It begins with a woman, known as Fist of God AKA Sarah (Marissa Joy) and her brother Rabbi Adam Hassan (Vahan Artin), as they fight a group of vampires using guns (silenced) and melee weapons. The vampires, as they die, explode in what can only be described as a flurry of confetti. Its not the best effect but bear in mind the budget. We then see a character called Victor (Nathyn Masters) getting ready for work.

Victor at work
Nathan works as a clerk of some sort in an office and does church volunteer work but, also, he can detect supernatural creatures with a spidey-sense type ability. He hunts them too and is a foretold warrior called the Avatar. What being the Avatar means is not exactly explained but all sorts of people either want a piece of him or want him on side. The Jewish vampire hunters want to work with him but a group of Lilith worshipping women also want him to side with them.

zombie (& unfortunate makeup)
We get genetic engineering conglomerates, demons, vampires and psi-enhancing drugs. We get Nephilim (or their off-spring), wizards and we get a woman, Cassie (Jenna Ambien Halvorson), turned into a zombie – or so it would seem, though the green makeup used is unfortunate, to say the least. So there is a rich cornucopia of storyline but all is not good with it unfortunately.

a gaggle of vampires
I cringed when the rabbi suggested that the descent of civilisation into evil was due to various things including promiscuity and homosexuality. As these were the views of the good guys it suggested a bigotry that was unpleasant. Beyond that, the story itself was too complicated in places, with many aspects hanging unresolved and frustratingly underexplored. The story has little in the way of resolution – though as a prequel I suppose that the themes are continued and explored further in the comics.

The directing needed tightening, the film could do with a strong edit and, you know what, I’m feeling mean because, as I say, the very weakness of the convoluted story is also the film’s strength. Masters clearly has a set of stories he wants to tell. Inexperience is probably the key (though he has other directing credits) and that old bugbear budget. But he has done something most of us won’t and has done so with vision if not perfect execution.

The imdb page is here.

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