I have seen a lot of strange movies in my life. Or at least I assumed I did. Motivational Growth, a film by Writer/Director Don Thacker, may have completely changed my opinion of what I consider a completely off-the-wall horror film.
Motivational Growth is a story about Ian Folivor – a manic-depressive who has locked himself in his apartment for several months. He doesn’t bathe. He doesn’t clean. He orders groceries delivered solely to avoid contact with the outside world. And on one faithful night – his only connection to humanity, his television breaks. And along with it? What is left of his sanity.
The movie focuses almost solely on Ian and his snarky monologues (when you can compare taking a shit to the purpose of life itself you are either totally bat shit nuts or brilliant) with a handful of characters that come in and out of the plot. Although these characters don’t share as much screen time as Ian, each has a way of helping push his teetering sanity/insanity struggle right to the edge. First comes his landlord, a beefy guy appropriately named Box the Ox. After breaking his brother’s hands through the visitor glass at prison for questioning his ability to be a successful business man, Box wants to collect rent money to prove he broke those wrists for a purpose. Then comes the extraordinarily creepy TV repair man who instead of fixing Ian’s outdated box decides to sexually molest it. And then comes her. Leah. The girl of Ian’s dreams – who he can’t speak to. And instead religiously stalks through his peephole.
Oh crap. That’s right I forgot to mention someone else – you see, turns out all these months of living in filth has helped spawn a sorta of roommate to Ian. Meet, The Mold (voiced by Jeffrey Combs). Yes, The Mold. Try not to call him anything else – he isn’t much fond of that. After Ian’s television set died, he didn’t think there was much left to live for so? He tried to off himself. And it appears much like life, he wasn’t very good at that either. Because when he awoke – The Mold was there. And The Mold had a plan for him. You see – he was going to save Ian’s life. Make him better. Get him the girl and? Help him have it all.
But who really trusts fungus anyways? For awhile Ian starts listening to The Mold. Hell, he even cuts his hair and cleans his apartment. However, slowly but surely signs start showing that perhaps The Mold doesn’t have Ian’s best interest. Subtle signs at first like Ian’s favorite 80’s/90’s television show characters attacking him in his dreams, to more obvious ones like The Mold completely changing his delivered grocery list to include plant food and raw meat. And then it just escalates quickly into taking over his apartment with poison-dart-shooting plant creatures and eating people.
There is a lot about this movie that perhaps would make a lot more sense on a second watch. Ian’s reason for seclusion was never fully explained, and it was difficult to determine what was a psychotropic trip and what was really happening. But then again, maybe that was the point of it all. Maybe all of our realities have been blurred by gluttony, television, and the dirtying of our souls. Or something deep like that. The dialogue of the movie was fantastic. Each character unique and played very well against one another. And a script that professes there are two types of television – Star Trek and everything else, is something I can’t argue with. But perhaps the greatest thing about this movie was the special effects. The puppetry of the mold and the occasional murder was executed wonderfully.
I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone who has a chance to catch it at a local film festival – or hopefully upon its assumed future DVD release. Until then, you can head over to the Official Website and keep up with future updates.