Ironhorse – The First Hourseman of the Cinepocalypse


I previously touched on my delight for this movie when I debuted the trailer for Second Self, and while getting organized and answering messages, it came screaming through to my frontal lobe and I felt the need to expound a little further and share with you my borderline-inappropriate feelings for the fantastically depraved movie Ironhorse. One from the vaults before I head back to my short sabbatical, shall we?

In a wasteland stands a man, gas mask clamped firmly around his face, waiting under the blistering sun. He waits for another man, clad in suit and tie, who remarks cheerfully about the impending snow, and hands off a briefcase, a briefcase with a bizarre gift inside. This is Ironhorse, and this is probably the most awesomely strange movie I’ve ever witnessed this side of Eraserhead. Ironhorse is a comical horror musical from Christopher J. Miller about two artists who wind up with the secret to bringing their works to twisted, squishy life. Mayhem, as it often does, ensues to the Nth degree. Everything about this movie is gratuitous in the best way, and there’s a crackling, mad energy in every scene. Soaked with just a hint of an air of desperation, this movie is a play for insanity as a survival tool.

Two disillusioned artists snag a formula from the mysterious and murderous Dr. Rubber and apply it to their eccentric creations, which come to life, bringing the desires of the artists to their terrifying conclusions. Being a bit left of center from the start, their deep, dark wishes run amok and bodies start piling up left and right. This sounds a bit stock, but there’s a lot going on in every scene. For the ADD set, that’s a blessing. Utilizing stop-motion animation, tidbits of found footage, bizarre characterizations, and some wonderful tinpan alley incidental music matched with some truly maverick musical interludes, the world of Ironhorse unfolds as an art-damaged cityscape populated with wicked art dealers, one berzerko mad scientist, the landlord from hell, and…Nana. I’m not sure what Nana is, but it was as fun to watch as it was insane.

The classic tale of man’s best intentions leading to extremely dire consequences is bathed in panicked, over the top hysteria and breakneck pacing for a cinematic experience so surreal and ludicrous and over the top it’s set at permanent nose bleed levels and so hallucinogenic it renders the need for psychoactive drugs and brain numbing alcohol absolutely ineffective and utterly useless. Think of this as the scared straight program for every movie that ever thought itself too edgy and avant garde for its own good. This is the real deal, and there have been few challengers to match this level of skewed hilarity and absurdity without looking like the result of a bunch of self-obsessed clowns.

The songs are catchy and soaked with New Wave synth and ominous vibes, but think Screamers more than Modern Lovers. Every song is catchy and very listenable, but a few stand out with a particularly sinister edge. There were a litany of tasks at hand that I was supposed to be responsible for today, but the first song from the film popped into my head with such brutal force that I started writing this review. I can relate to the artists at the core of this story, because I’ve been there, toiling in obscurity, and I still do to an extent (note: thank God you awesome people read the spew I publish here, every step towards validity helps!). Every night I play in the basement/every night I play with the animals…this is the crux of the film, and it drips and writhes from every scene – man’s obsessive imagination compels and obliterates him, but it’s fun as hell to watch the train wreck.

The effects are raw and resourceful, the performances are wry and caustic and the film as a whole serves to a razor sharp wit and scrappy ingenuity that thoroughly takes the piss out of cinema as a whole. This film hipped me to the fact that there’s a wealth of interesting and challenging movies under the surface as of late, and thankfully I snagged a copy off Amazon a while back and headed straight for brain damaging altered state Nirvana. I’m looking forward to more films from Razorwire pictures, so let the mind warp begin.

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