Thursday, January 16, 2003
Photo by Randy Tunnell: Blood Brothers: Donaldo Prescod''s (above) newest take on blaxploitation films opens Saturday; Daniel Prescod (right), aka Black Thunder, shows off his moves.
He''s rude--hell, he''s downright nasty. Black Thunder is an obscenity-spewing, back- handing, sexist crimefighter (who wishes he was a superhero) played to the hilt by soon-to-be CSUMB student Daniel Prescod in Esoteric Films'' latest spoofing incarnation of the blaxploitation genre.
"I wanted to make a hero who wasn''t likeable, because you never see that," says Donaldo Prescod, Daniel''s older brother and the director of Black Thunder: America''s Most Hated Crimefighter, which opens Saturday at Monterey''s Osio Theater. "And we''ve got a lot of silly stuff thrown in there making fun of exploitation movies--women with really large breasts, martial arts flicks. It''s a really absurd comedy."
Donaldo, a 23-year-old film major whose mild demeanor stands in contrast to the naughty fun of his work, wrote the no-budget America''s Most Hated Crimefighter as a sequel to his first Black Thunder film, a movie that, for the most part, he wishes people would forget.
"Let''s just say if I was to put out a trilogy, the first one wouldn''t be included," he says. "I think of it as just practice, even though it is still loved by a lot of people."
An MPC actor and playwright who transferred last semester to San Francisco State University, Donaldo spent the past two years coordinating friends, mostly fellow actors, to film scenes, primarily on Fort Ord--a process that ultimately involved extensive re-shooting."We needed to take it up a notch," he says. "And there was a lot of getting rid of people who weren''t serious. Even if I''m not paying them, I''m not going to let them mess up the work."
Shooting with a digital camcorder, Donaldo kept the filming costs way down with volunteer laborers and a peanut butter budget."The most money I spent was a few times when we filmed in Fort Ord and I bought the actors peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches and chips," he laughs. "You have to feed your actors or it can get ugly."
The low-budget roots of the production are apparent in the film, yet it isn''t amateurish. It''s more like a steak tartare: not quite cooked but still digestible. The plot revolves loosely around the evil conspiracies of two crazed villains: the stringy haired Demetri, played by Corey Atkison, and his diabolical cohort Mojo, played wildly by a lewd, mumbling, fluffy white puppet.
In the opening scene, Mojo and Demetri kidnap a redheaded laboratory researcher and force him to develop a deadly strain of the herpes virus, which is spread rampantly through "the city," causing riots and widespread chaos. Black Thunder, feeling unappreciated by the city fathers (and mothers) for his past crime-fighting efforts, petulantly refuses to help stop the plot until it infects the stars of his porn ring, including the voluptuous Monica Fellatio.
"I ain''t scared of nothing," Thunder proclaims, as a woman pleads with him to intervene. Foul-tongued as ever, Thunder ensues into an offensive tirade against the woman as she rolls her eyes in disbelief. Is this sexist pig our only hope?
But women in this flick don''t sit back meekly waiting for male salvation. "Ever since I was a child, I''ve wanted to hurt people," declares one tough chick decked out in a "Princess" T-shirt. After kicking some male ass, she pounds her chest and bellows in an Incredible Hulkian roar.
The womanly violence can be hard to take. There''s also a mildly disturbing scene in which two scantily dressed women take the kidnapped scientist aside. "Can we rape him?" they call out gleefully as they shove him into a room.
It''s scenes like this that have Donaldo warning his mother about the graphic nature of his unrated film. "My mom is like, ''Is this a movie where I can invite all my friends?'' I said, ''No, there''s nudity and language you won''t like,'' and she asked, ''How come you''re putting all that stuff in your movie?''"
Donaldo shifts in his seat and smiles. "I told her you have to--it''s almost a necessity."
Indeed, the grossness and vileness of the Black Thunder characters are never without a reference point in popular culture, and Donaldo manages to satirize the exploitation nicely with actors who go all out. "A lot of my friends are very funny to begin with," he says. "So it''s fun to use them in these kinds of movies."
Less than a month before his Jan. 18 premiere date, Donaldo was still reshooting some scenes, and had others left to edit. "I don''t think I''ll ever be 100 percent happy," he says of the film. "I think of all the things I could have done better."
But he''s already planning his next film and scoping out shooting sites in San Francisco. "This is something I really want to make my job," he says. "And if that''s the case, I need to go all out and keep the momentum going."
Black Thunder: America''s Most Hated Crimefighter premieres Saturday at 10pm at the Osio Theater on State St. in Monterey, following a 6pm reception for the art exhibit "Working Title: Artists in Progress" at 572 C Van Buren St., Monterey. $5 for the film, reception free. For more information call 372-1975.