1 Filmmaker, 3 Films- An introduction to Steve Balderson and HELL TOWN.
Being an indie filmmaker can be one of the most challenges endeavors in the art world. If you can get into a festival AND receive positive reviews, I consider that a real win. There is no argument that it is an uphill battle whether you are a big established name or a relative “nobody from nowhere”. For cinephiles, only one thing matters: Is your film good? Steve Balderson is someone who should get to know. His unique style and mutli-genre work is something to behold. From drama to comedy, horror to action, thriller to period melodrama, Steve has made over 16 award winning feature films from his micro-studio in rural Wamego, Kansas. He has now made the move to Hollywood.
In a series of reviews of Steve’s work, we’ll start with his film Hell Town. This film is a hilarious and gory , tongue-in-cheek homage to Twin Peaks and Elvira’s Movie Macrabre. Presented as a series of episodes “dug up”, we are introduced to a cast filled with every archetype from a Lifetime Network movie. The dumb jock, that bad boy, the popular blonde, the mother in a coma, the overtly sexy nurse, the angry rich kid and on and on. Add in a serial killer and you’ve got the recipe for awesome. At first, I thought the idea clever but perhaps not well executed. As I watched, I have to admit that I was far too intrigued with the outcome to say otherwise. When it came to “the end” of the film, or series of episodes, I was disappointed that there weren’t more to binge. In the time where Netflix has made us into content junkies needed immediate gratification, Hell Town is a genius move. Great kills, wonderful FX befitting the black comedy genre, casting actors that are years beyond their characters rational age, a brilliant move. Personally I hope Steve makes a sequel.
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