Manborg (2011) – Steven Kostanski

Anchor bay has recently released this to DVD so that the rest of the world can see what has become an undeniable cult favorite, which verges on the utterly ridiculous (in a great way!).

I won’t tell you plot details, it’s better to enjoy it all as it happens, preferably with friends and imbibing.

But this, and the included short Bio-Cop have long been favorites of the Toronto cult crowd, garnering huge fans amongst the crowds of Toronto After Dark folks.

The dialogue is camp, but never reaches the point where it’s annoying, it’s simply too charming and goofy for that.  Playing like a poorly copied videotape from the 80s, the special effects are purposefully cheesy, and it does nothing but to enhance the enjoyment of it.

This film is best described as a guilty pleasure as the not-quite-heroic Manborg (Matthew Kennedy) takes on Count Draculon (Adam Brooks), the Baron (Jeremy Gillespie) and the sexy but evil Shadow Mega (Andrea Karr) in a battle for Earth!

He’s aided by #1 Man (Ludwig Lee) who sounds purposefully dubbed, and looks like he escaped from a Mortal Kombat video game, crazy dance fan, and slightly illiterate Justice (Conor Sweeney)  and the lovely, anime-inspired Mina (Meredith Sweeney).

Together they are going to take on the legions of Hell who took over the earth! And along the way maybe they’ll learn to be a family and accept Manborg as one of their own.

manborg (1)I’ve actually seen it twice now, and both times I have laughed out loud, a high compliment seeing as if viewed in the wrong mood, one could just dismiss the entire film, but it’s just so fun, and never, ever, takes itself seriously.

Armed with a green screen, what looks like stop-motion animation, rubber masks, monster make-up and a sense of fun, this one has wowed midnight viewers at festivals since its release.

It plays like a bad 80s direct-to-video movie, or cut scenes from a less than succesful cd-rom game.

It may not play quite so well if you’re watching it solo, but then again, it might, as long as you can get into its goofiness. It is not going to be for everyone, especially for those who seem to take themselves a little too seriously, but this one, for me, just works.

And the addition of Bio-Cop which I saw at last year’s Toronto After Dark festival makes it all the more priceless. Kostanski has a great eye for 80s films and video games, and has created something in both cases that feels like it would fit right in with the time, while at the same time being wholly unique; never ripping anything off.

I for one, am looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next… Keep the humor, splatter, and sense of play coming, and it will no doubt be a winner.

Manborg is available from Anchor Bay on DVD now!


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