The film, It Grows!, by Ryan Cauchi (director/editor) and Nick Stathopoulos (writer, producer, director, SFX, art design, star) — first introduced to the world by Undead Backbrain back in February 2012 — was originally made as a 7-minute short. It received a faux-theatrical screening as part of the Aurealis Awards ceremony of that year and went down very well with the crowd.
Since then, however, Cauchi and Stathopoulos (who are also credited with the film’s cinematography) have been hard at work on it — and the film has grown into a monster. Now it is a 17-minute epic, with improved image quality and post-production glitz, new cast members, more plot, and many added scenes.
When asked about the film, Stathopoulos described it like this: “….it’s a 17-minute short monster movie made by me and my mate Ryan Cauchi along with some other friends who were roped in. We’ve finally finished it … it’s full of matte paintings and hung miniatures and puppet creatures.”
Zac (Nick Stathopoulos) has a problem. He suffers from ‘cyberchondria’ – he contracts every disease he ever reads about online. His long-suffering girlfriend Jan (Catriona Sparks) has had enough. But that’s not his only problem. Something is growing in his garden… and it’s growing fast! Is it just a cute little plant, or could it be the harbinger of something more sinister?
Can Zac, and his trusty canine companion Rip, nip it in the bud before it’s too late, or will they be pushing up daisies before it’s through?
It’s ALIEN meets THE THING meets LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS meets DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS.
Believe me, if you knew exactly how Stathopoulos achieved the FXs (and the Backbrain was treated to a live “commentary track” of the first version, by Stathopoulos himself), you would be even more impressed than you’re going to be when you see it. There’s no CGI here — just fantastic artistry, and old-school techniques used with aplomb and loads of skill.
With a cast that includes Stathopoulos himself, speculative-fiction writer Cat Sparks, Jaimie Leonarder (Flights of Angels, The Movie Show, Three Chords and a Wardrobe) and Henri Stathopoulos, among others — not to mention an award-worthy performance by newcomer Bonnie the Dog — this “love letter to classic B-grade monster movies” is a real treat.
“[The music] was done by Andrew Thomas Wilson, who is best known for his commercial work,” Stathopoulos added. “He created a ‘symphonic’ score for our modest little film. It’s brilliant.” In evidence is a theme song worthy of keeping company with the theme songs from such classics as The Blob (1958) and Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988). Vocals are by comedian Bob Downe, who reportedly “did a brilliant Shirley Bassey” on it.
The sound design of the film generally is by Tim Newsom.
In short, It Grows! is fun, made with love at all levels and is very impressive visually. Ever wanted to see Sydney completely consumed by rabid plants? Then this is the film for you!
Check out the newly released official trailer:
As for the future of the film, Stathopoulos commented: “… who knows? It might just keep growing!”
Source: Nick Stathopoulos.