Not Just Another Late Night Double Feature
By Darrell Moen, Minneapolis Movies Examiner
"The Late Night Double Feature" including "X: The Fiend From Beyond Space" and "The Wall People" written and directed by Christopher R. Mihm.
Local Twin Cities film director Christopher R. Mihm celebrated the premiere of his ninth film last night (Sat., April 26, 2014) at the Heights Theater (40th & Central NE). These events draw a loyal crowd of hard-core Mihm-fans of all ages to see these classics-in-the-making. For the older fans in attendance, these films are a doorway into the pastto the old days of low-budget "cheesy" films that didn't often make it into the first run theaters. For the younger attendees, it's a chance to see something special that doesn't rely on overpaid superstars and myriad CGI implementation. For all attendees, it's a gathering of people who seek an enjoyable evening with like-minded film buffs.
"X: The Fiend From Beyond Space" opens the program featuring Stephanie Mihm as one of the crew of the Endeavor. The computer awakens the crew from LD-sleep when they discover that the captain has brought an alien life form aboard the ship. The initial thought was that the creature was dead but in fact it was not. Life takes a severe left turn as the crew disappears one-by-one.
Mrs. Mihm delivers some bitingly funny one-liners with the straightest face ever despite the thought that filming them had to be even funnier. At one point, she describes the captain by saying "he wears pants and stands erect so he must be reasonably intelligent." It is this sort of engaging reasoning that made this her best performance to date.. Her understanding of this genre contributes to Mihm's ability to film with such precise accuracy in his homage to these films.
"The Wall People" is even funnier in its telling the story of scientist Barney Collins (Douglas Sydney) who becomes a single dad only to have his young son disappear inexplicably. After eight years, he resurfaces with the wild theory that his son was stolen by some unknown entity living in an inter-dimensional world on the other side of the bedroom walls.
Drawn into assisting Collins are two of his friends played by Mike Cook and James Norgard. They reluctantly help Collins operate a bizarre device that enables him to travel between dimensions. Their campy performances are hilarious as they try to understand Collins' theory and they do come to believe himvery reluctantly. It's situational humor at its very best, again delivered with straight faces that couldn't have been easy to maintain.
This pairing of films is definitely Mihm's best work to date leading one to believe that his upcoming tenth effort will be even better. It's the hope of all the hard-cores that he never tires of exploring this art form. There can never be enough excellent cheesy films and these annual gatherings are a welcome way to greet spring. All of his hard work is greatly appreciated by those of us who enjoy that link to our own past.