Matthew Blackheart: Monster Smasher

Camp Sci-fi Made-for-TV movie (2002)

(Movie) A campy romp, somewhat along the lines of Bruce Campbell's Bubba Ho-Tep, but considerably more obscure. In fact, the only time I've seen it (and then only in part) was very late on a recent (March 2005) late-night/early morning broadcast on the SciFi Channel.

Briefly, the story is that of a sort of 1940s-era Frankenstein's creature, who is "assembled" at the request of FDR, to fight an emerging threat of monsters being cultivated in Patagonia by the evil Dr. Mortas.

A combination of bad luck and overwhelming forces in the evil Doctor's lair leads to Blackheart entering a cryogenic sleep-state for roughly 50 years, whereupon he reawakens and finds himself drawn to present-day New York City. While the movie was released in 2002, it contains at least one establishing shot that features the World Trade Center towers quite prominently, and it is very tempting to read into the movie a sort of commentary on the American fear of terrorists and terrorism that burgeoned in the aftermath of the towers' destruction.

At this writing the cast remain largely unknowns, or actors better known for character roles in television movies and TV series guest appearances.

Opinions I've read about the movie have tended towards extremes; camera work and production design are faulted by some, while applauded by those who seek out the "camp" elements of the movie. To be honest, though, since I needed to turn it off prematurely, I can't really judge the fairness of some comments that the movie tries to do too many things at once and thus falls down in the middle. Quite possibly it does.

I'll be looking to watch (or more likely record in the dead of night) this one for a more even-handed viewing. What I did see, however, was very funny in a rather self-conscious way. I can certainly understand if that sort of thing is not to everyone's taste.

Close observers may recognize the actor playing Dr. Mortas -- despite the overtly Ming the Merciless-influenced make-up job -- as Christopher Heyerdahl, who despite numerous other credits may be best known to many as stick-in-the-mud, Athosian elder Halling, from SciFi Channel's Stargate Atlantis. Key cast and crew include:

Eric Canuel - Director
Robert Engels - Writer (creator)
Roy Knyrim - Writer (creator),
John Schouweiler - Writer (creator),
Mark Villalobos - Writer (creator),
Karen Wyscarver - Writer (staff writer),
Lise Abastado - Producer,
Richard Donner - Producer,
John Dyer - Cinematographer,
Michel Corriveau - Composer,
Raymond Dupuis - Production Designer,
Fran├žois Gill - Editor,
Philippe Ralet - Editor

Partial Cast - in credits order

Rob Bogue ... Matthew Blackheart
Christopher Heyerdahl ... Dr. Jacob Mortas
Jay Baruchel ... Jimmy Fleming
Karen Elkin ... Nancy
John Novak ... Ruskin Stern
Paul Cagelet ... Young Glen
Ardon Bess ... Blind Sid
Vlasta Vrana ... Franklin D. Roosevelt
Kenneth Welsh ... Dr. James Franken

Revision notes
Drafted: 3/3/05
Revised: NA
First noded: 3/3/05
Source for credits info: IMDb

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