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The Mole Man of Belmont Avenue

Writer-director-stars Mike Bradecich and John LaFlamboy keep horror-comedy "The Mole Man of Belmont Avenue" diverting largely via their droll chemistry as mismatched siblings who've inherited a dilapidated apartment building terrorized by a hungry man-sized critter.

With:
With: Mike Bradecich, John LaFlamboy, Susan Messing, Nicholas Barron, Justin DiGiacomo, Tim Kazurinsky, David Pasquesi, TJ Jagodowski, Mary Seibel, Xzanthia, Robert Englund.

Writer-director-stars Mike Bradecich and John LaFlamboy keep horror-comedy “The Mole Man of Belmont Avenue” diverting largely via their droll chemistry as mismatched siblings who’ve inherited a dilapidated apartment building terrorized by a hungry man-sized critter. Theatrical prospects are slight, but pic should win some friends in home formats and provide a ravenous calling card for the talented duo.

Just back from a failed stint raising llamas, extrovert Jarman Mugg (LaFlamboy) returns to the rapidly depopulating Chicago building managed by deadpan brother Marion (Bradecich). With the gas shut off and the electricity being stolen from a church next door, the only tenants left now are those with nowhere else to go — a generally disagreeable bunch including a couple of cranky oldsters (one played by erstwhile Freddy Krueger thesp Robert Englund), a prostitute and an apartment full of serious stoners. Another inconvenience they’ve all experienced lately is the serial disappearances of pets.

Jarman and Marion happen to be walking the halls just as the titular creature is trying to seize a small dog through a mail slot. To keep their tenants from bailing on them, they suggest that perhaps a raccoon has run amuck. But they do attempt to capture the creature, which, when its pet supply runs out, turns to hunting larger, rent-paying game.

Progress is consistently amusing if seldom hilarious; momentum occasionally slackens. As actors, Bradecich and LaFlamboy are always wiseass funny; ditto Susan Messing as the bartender in the ground-floor watering hole of a building that once housed a speakeasy. Featuring some “Strangers With Candy” veterans in supporting roles, pic has its cult-following credentials in order.

Tech/design contributions are above average on a low budget.

The Mole Man of Belmont Avenue

Production: A Zombie Army Prods. presentation of a Big Tree production in association with Resolution Digital Studios. Produced by John LaFlamboy, Mike Bradecich. Executive producers Jeff Facklis, Lee Facklis, Mitch E. Apley. Directed, written by John LaFlamboy, Mike Bradecich.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Nance Jordan; editor, Dustin Foster, Bradecich; music, Devin Delaney, Kate Steinberg; original songs, Nicholas Barron, Bradecich; production designer, LaFlamboy; costume designer, Vicky J. Strei; makeup f/x, Cat Bernier, Kristian Hickman; casting, Mickie Pascal, Jennifer Rudnicke, Rachel Tenner. Reviewed on DVD, San Francisco, May 13, 2011. (In Another Hole in the Head Film Festival.) Running time: 95 MIN.

With: With: Mike Bradecich, John LaFlamboy, Susan Messing, Nicholas Barron, Justin DiGiacomo, Tim Kazurinsky, David Pasquesi, TJ Jagodowski, Mary Seibel, Xzanthia, Robert Englund.

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