Opening with President Reagan’s infamous crack speech, the 1984-set Mold! unfolds in a secret facility deep within the Arizona desert. Scientists there have spent two years of funding on developing a strain of mold (they call it “stacky mort” to shorten its long, boring name) as an ecological weapon to destroy the Colombians’ drug fields and cripple their economy.
Naturally, its spores go on a rampage inside the facility, which is about all the plot the movie needs to get to the goop.
I don’t know how much money director/co-writer Neil Meschino had to play with for his first feature, but it feels like it’s at the level of a biweekly grocery bill for a family of five. He uses it wisely; in fact, I can’t fathom seeing the mold effects any other way than the lo-fi, stop-motion method they use. I don’t want to see those spores multiply in shiny CGI; I dig the rough, herky-jerky time-lapse approach, because it’s right in line with this picture’s bottom-half-of-a-B-movie-bill spirit.
Meschino takes the Full Moon Entertainment model (limited cast, one setting, under 90 minutes) and generally improves upon it with better performances. Of special note are Ardis Campbell (Man on Wire) as the level-headed female scientist and, on the spectrum’s opposite end, a show-stealing James Murphy as a cocky, coke-sniffin' congressman.
Also working in Mold!’s anarchic favor are a mind-power subplot, a groan-worthy but welcome reference to Back to the Future, Julian Tulip’s John Carpenter-esque score and the occasionally truly funny exchange of dialogue:
"Colonel, not to beat a dead whore--"
"Horse. Horse." —Rod Lott