Melvin (2009)
By: Devon B. on February 21, 2016 | Comments
Chemical Burn | All Regions, NTSC | 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 2.0 | 61 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Henry Weintraub
Starring: Leif Fuller, Kayla Hixson, Meredith Adelaide, Ben Chinburg, Hudson Hongo
Screenplay: Henry Weintraub
Country: USA
Melvin features a group of bullies, and I know they're anti-social miscreants capable of horrible violence and general disrespect to people's property, but I kept thinking they were the good guys. The thing is the bullies wear a bunch of band clothing, and I find it hard to dislike someone that's wearing an Adicts shirt. Evidently I was supposed to be barracking for a guy named Melvin instead.

I assumed Melvin's name was a reference to Troma, and that suspicion was confirmed when the film began with a Troma style intro from Lloyd Kaufman, President of Troma and creator of the Toxic Avenger. Despite being Troma inspired, in a massive plot twist the titular hero of Melvin is a nerd. Melvin falls victim to a prank by those bullies that I'd like to hang out with, then the bullies begin hassling Norton, a second nerd. When Norton meets up with Melvin, Melvin forces Norton to help him get revenge on his tormentors. Also there're zombies.

Melvin's narrative structure is a little confusing at first, but I think this is mostly intentional. The movie's competently edited and put together for the most part, but I imagine budgetary restraints made a few moments less clear than they would've been if there'd been a few extra zeros on the end of the budget. There are other things besides clarity that have been impacted by the budget, like the film's runtime. The movie probably wouldn't even be an hour long if it didn't feature a trailer for a film that appears within the film, Night of the Driller, in the credits. Melvin also just kinda ends, which might not have happened with a bigger financial backing. The lower budget actually helps in other areas, because I dug the low-fi soundtrack. The songs seemed like the kind of music I'd play while hanging out with my new friends the bullies.

Mostly Melvin overcomes its lack of funds, and is a quirky film that should appeal to Troma fans. It even has a cameo by Lloyd Kaufman, President of Troma and creator of the Toxic Avenger, solidifying the Troma connection. The movie's certainly a bit strange, but in a good way. There're some funny lines and there's also a bit of bloodshed to keep things lively. The FX work is interesting at times, and while nothing gore wise looks too expensive, there are some FX moments that deserve praise for the ingenuity.

All in all Melvin is uneven, but it mostly overcomes its monetary issues, and it's definitely worth a look for Troma fans.
The Disc
Melvin was shot on video so it's never going to look amazing, but this transfer seems to represent the source material well. The audio was a bit more problematic for me because there's ADR. A lot of ADR. Like the whole movie was ADRed. That's not a fault with the transfer, but it still got annoying. Trailers for Haunting Villisca, The Shiftling, Rock 'n' Roll Frankenstein, Hell House: The Book of Samiel, and Unearthed play on start up. Real extras include a behind the scenes, a commentary, three trailers for Melvin, the faux trailer for Night of the Driller, and a slideshow. The behind the scenes is letterbox but not 16:9 enhanced. I'm not a fan of raw behind the scenes footage, but this does show some of the FX being done and has a few funny moments. I wouldn't normally consider a slideshow as an extra worth elaborating on, but this one is weird. It doesn't play all the way through and has to be toggled, however there's music to accompany the pictures. The music stops and starts until the next image is toggled to, and this gets old. Fast. The commentary is with director Henry Weintraub and actor Patrick O'Driscoll. It's a standard commentary that covers the movie's origins, casting, and a plot reworking that was required to cast O'Driscoll.
The Verdict
Did I mention Melvin, or rather Night of the Driller, has a nude shower murder? That entitles it to a recommendation on its own! Anyone that is disappointed they haven't spent more time in Tromaville should have a look.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
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