Review: United Monsters Talent Agency. (Sitges 2010)

United Monsters Talent Agency. (Sitges 2010)
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PLOT: The monsters are real and the UNITED MONSTER TALENT AGENCY represents them. Find out where they sleep, how they are fed and what directors have to do to make these finicky mofos perform on set. Ya thought regular movie stars were hard to handle with their diva behaviors? Think again!

REVIEW: Award-winning SFX and make-up ace GREG NICOTERO is well known and respected within the horror community for his outstanding work. His creations have haunted our screens since he started helping out on Romero's DAY OF THE DEAD, INVASION USA and THE EVIL DEAD 2 (he was also Ash's possessed hand) in 1985 (his teacher was Tom Savini BTW, great teacher). In 1988 Nicotero, Howard Berger and Robert Kurtzman teamed up and started KNB EFX Group, and the rest as they say is grisly history. They've been owning the Hollywood effect scene ever since. And now not content with being the best in the FX field, Nicotero has dipped his toe into directing and his first effort is a wonderful, clever and well done 8 minute short called UNITED MONSTER TALENT AGENCY which I had the chance to tap at Fantastic Fest. 2010

Shot in black and white and structured as one of them old and grainy newsreel documentaries from the 50's UNITED MONSTER TALENT AGENCY was first and foremost a sly, tongue in cheek love letter to the Universal Monsters of old. The Mummy, The Wolf Man, The Gill Man, the Frankenstein Monster, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame were all in the house, original designs intact and looking better than ever and ready to rock and roll (Nicotero and his crew handled the effects). Not only did we get classic scenes from the old Universal movies faithfully reprised here, but we also got to see how this Monster Agency keeps its monsters lodged, fed, in check and controlled when it comes times to yell action. That's where the bulk of the humor came from for me as Nicotero came up with some pretty witty stuff, that played off the nature of the monsters themselves; their strenghts and weaknesses. The bit where they filmed the Wolf Man's transformation scene (with an hilarious Eli Roth as a geeky director) was one for the books! Funny stuff!

And the short didn't stop there in giving horror some wet and sweaty love. It went beyond the classic Universal Monsters as well. King Kong, Nosferatu, an ape from Planet of the Apes, JAWS (the film that inspired Greg to get in the biz BTW) and even Freddy's glove all made appearances, in cheeky and wink-wink manners. The cherry on top was the quip heavy narration which would often play on words having to to with the monsters showcased onscreen. Add to that groovy sight gags throughout, a slew of genre friendly cameos (Frank Darabont, Robert Rodriguez, the lovely Cerina Vincent, Jeffery Combs and more!) obviously having a hoot doing the film and Nicotero showcasing a firm hand and a keen eye behind the camera and you get a slick 8 minutes of horror loving. My only complaint? It was too damn short. Give us a feature version! Or maybe once Greg is done directing the adaptation of Joe R. Lansdale’s The Drive In, he can tackle The Monster Squad remake, he'd be ideal for it... or better yet...THE MONSTER SQUAD SEQUEL!



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