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01 May, 2010

Unimonster's Screening Room: GARGALESE — THE TICKLE MONSTER

Title: GARGALESE — THE TICKLE MONSTER

Date of Theatrical Release: N/A

MPAA Rating: Unrated


I don’t often discuss short subjects here, not because of a lack of interest in them, but because until recently there were so few of them worth mentioning. Though Horror is particularly well suited to exploration through the medium of the short film, until the development of the “YouTube” culture it was very difficult for filmmakers to market their short films to the audiences that would be the most appreciative of them. That is no longer an issue, and short Horror Films of every possible description now flood the internet.

One of these short films is from a team of filmmakers headed by Dean Millermon. GARGALESE — THE TICKLE MONSTER is many things—but ‘easy to describe’ is not among them. This 17-minute short (though Millermon states that the ‘finished’ release might come in at a 15-minute runtime) concerns an alien invader, described by some as a “tickle bear,” who crash-lands in suburban Illinois. This begins an enjoyable, humorous if not particularly logical, sequence of events which adds a whole new meaning to the term “die laughing.”

Directed by Millermon, who co-wrote the script with Ryan Guenther, and produced by Brian Kallies and Laura Szymber, this short film is a great example of a small group of people using their talents and abilities to overcome an obvious lack of funds. What’s more, they appear to be having a great time while doing so. Axiom Megamedia is the production company, and one would hope that we see more from them in the near future.

As Gargalese encounters various residents of Northern Illinois, it mutates through several forms, emerging from a fallen meteor in the shape of an eight-inch tall, toothsome, sharp-clawed “tickle bear” before a shotgun blast from farmer Mike (Dana Gasser) spurs a change into a larger, more dangerous creature. The alien’s efforts to return home leads him on a journey through greater Elgin, Illinois—and introduces him to a number of surprised, and very ticklish, humans. The movie also stars Megan Hincks as Brenda, a human unlike any other in Gargalese’s experience.

While GARGALESE — THE TICKLE MONSTER is very definitely a low-budget project, it’s a well-crafted one, and it benefits from the fact that the horror is firmly tongue-in-cheek. The film doesn’t take itself too seriously, which allows the audience to overlook the somewhat silly premise and play along. Millermon’s direction is good; everyone’s able to stay focused on their work, and the story progresses smoothly from point to point. The script is adequate; not great, but equal to the task.

The cast is surprisingly good, especially considering the independent, low-budget nature of the production. Particularly worthy of note are the three leads—Hincks, Dave Hunter as Brenda’s husband Ronnie, and Mack Perry as his uncle Glen. The two men soon find themselves confronting Gargalese, but when the alien encounters the very cute, redheaded Brenda… well, as the ex-husband of a redhead, all I can say is that we should have a brigade of redheads standing by in case of an alien invasion.

GARGALESE — THE TICKLE MONSTER is being screened at the Women in Horror film fest at Chicago’s historic Portage Theater on the first of May. For those not able to attend that festival, information on future screenings can be found at the movie’s Facebook fan page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gargalese-The-Tickle-Monster/108685912506693?ref=ts. If you’re a fan of indie Horror or short subjects, then you owe it to yourself to find a way to see this movie.

Don’t let the Tickle Bear get YOU.





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