In the wild and heady days of university, when a group of friends and I would visit the local video shop and rent out the cheesiest films we could find, I had the misfortune to come across a movie so terrible I was literally struck dumb. Over the years I have seen worse both technically and cinematically but that film stuck with me; a film so terrible, so rotten to the core, so depressingly and miserably inane that for many years, to many people, it was the worst film I have ever seen. That film was ‘An American Werewolf in Paris” and I hated it not least for the extent to which it willingly pissed on the legacy of one of the genre’s greatest. Today I have seen the light and if I could return to 1998 I would reassure myself that, verily, a worse film will be created and that I should bask in the comparative glory of ‘Paris’; I would also warn myself that, whilst there may be many omens of the coming end of days, the most terrifying of all would be the coming of a man named Bill Zebub, director of ‘Indie Director’ – the new worst film I have ever seen.
The plot of ‘Indie Director’ is so flimsy that it could fit on the back of a cigarette packet but, in essence, a small-time no-budget film director realises that he needs to make money so seeks an investor. That’s it. It would seem that our friend Bill intends this to be some pseudo –comic, insider treatise on the hardships of the micro-budget film world. It comes across as the petulant ramblings of someone who not only hates cinema enough to pump out such a filmic turd, but who has both a complete delusion as to their own ability and an overwhelming sense of entitlement. In order to express this properly, I intend to cover the opening scenes in detail – worry not about spoilers however as nothing happens and, unless you’re a masochist of the highest order, you’ll likely never watch it anyway.
The opening credits show a large chested woman stripping off her bra, then alternating between shaking and squeezing her breasts, whilst some genuinely terrible German faux-black metal screeching goes on in the background. This seems to go on for an interminable amount of time, actually about two minutes, before we pan to the bed and lo, we find Bill Zebub waiting for the stripper. It turns out that she is his girlfriend in the context of the movie, and we are then treated to an extension of the scene in which he kisses and fondles her. It is at this point that it becomes obvious that Angelina Leigh, the actress playing Bill’s Girlfriend (legitimately her character’s name), is giving us an acting masterclass; I am no specimen of physical manliness to admire but to paw and fake attraction to Bill Zebub must have taken years of extensive acting training, especially when you consider the age gap between the two looks around thirty years.
Their canoodling is interrupted by the ringing of his mobile phone which, making a sound like a toxic alert siren, should have been my cue to turn ‘Indie Director’ off, burn the disc, and go take a shower. On the line is an actor playing Bill’s distributor (clearly not the real one as this guy has both the power of human speech and is able to operate a telephone) delivering some terrible news; his films have been pulled by stores as the manager had “never heard” of poor old Bill and, having watched some of his movies, “was nearly sick” he was so offended. This means that Bill won’t get a royalty check for “at least six months”! Oh no! What will Bill do without both of those dollars?! Watch on to find out; alternatively go outside and bash your genitalia repeatedly with a brick or similar blunt object – it will be a more pleasant experience than the rest of ‘Indie Director’. Bill ends the call by kissing his girlfriend who is clearly so shocked they both laugh at the camera and the scene abruptly ends. This scene taught me two things:
1) Bill Zebub is so inept that he has retained an outtake and passed it off as a legitimate scene from the movie. I suppose that his usual audience (i.e. no-one) wouldn’t spot it.
2) Bill Zebub, who wrote, directed, starred, and made the tea for ‘Indie Director’, is a terrible writer, director, and actor; given he wrote the script and is Bill Zebub playing Bill Zebub he delivers his own dialogue as if the words are alien to him. I expect he makes shit tea too.
The next scene is mercifully shorter and shows our intrepid director meeting with a “suit”. There are many “suits” in this film, their roles somewhat vague and they are always presented as being foolish and as knowing nothing against the intellectual might of our star. In actual fact the “suit” tells Bill that his films are rubbish; Bill claims this is because he has no money to spend on them and, if he had a big budget, his films would be awesome. This highlights the fictional aspect of the production as, clearly, with a bigger budget this film would still have blown dogs but Bill would have been able to hire an even wider array of uncomfortable looking tattooed chicks to go topless and fondle in gratuitous fashion.
Cut to Bill on a sofa with his buddy talking about film production. This scene is repeated half a dozen times over the movie and involves Bill’s buddy making his own movie and Bill telling him all the things that he has done wrong. His advice in this particular scene is to not make a “demo for Hollywood” as it’s an insular club to which you’ll never gain access; actually he says “you can flick your Bic but not join the clique” but I imagine my translation is fairly accurate. As the film progresses our star tells his friend why his decisions to get proper investors with actual money, a named star, and a positive production environment are the wrong ones, and that the advantage of not trying to make it is freedom. Even now, I can’t figure out if this is supposed to be comedic or is genuinely the thoughts of Bill Zebub; the ire at not being a big budget director is palpable and I suspect he genuinely does believe he is being ‘kept down’. This may be, in part, true but not because he is some super revolutionary auteur filmmaker but because his films are awful. This scene ends with Bill and his friend comparing horror conventions to flea markets, then making a range of increasingly desperate gags about selling fleas or accessories to fleas. No, I don’t get it either.
The next section is made up of random shots taken at a horror convention. Bill clearly was not invited as an exhibitor as these are all spy shots of things like piles of (someone else’s) DVDs for sale, people in a variety of cool costumes (including frequent, slightly stalkerish shots of a sexy Stormtrooper) and various random merchandise. Bill’s stand, which is clearly in the basement that the rest of the movie is shot in, is apparently “not in a good spot” and he calls his girlfriend to talk to her; for reasons that escape me, she is on the toilet during this scene. Furthering her credentials as the only person in the movie with an even tenuous link to the logical part of their brain, she tells him that it was a dumb idea to take his comedy movies to a horror convention. Bill complains that it’s not his fault (a recurrent theme) and that conventions “have no balls”. Fed up of being distracted while trying to push out the next Bill Zebub production, she tells him to start his own convention and then hangs up. We then meet ‘Mr Steve’, a sleazy and vaguely creepy presence, who approaches our hero and persuades him to make his own horror movie. When a punter turns up to the stall, Bill gives him a free movie that he believes will convince him to buy the other forty nine; Mr Steven questions his strategy probably because he, like me, knows the punter can’t buy the rest of your movie catalogue when he’s already blown his brains out. Bill tells us that his slogan is “You don’t have to fast-forward to find boobs”; he conveniently skips the next line “But you will have to fast forward if you don’t want your neo-cortex to leak out of your ears” but, hey, anything that makes this atrocity even a little shorter has my gratitude.
Without warning, the distributor from the beginning calls back and tells Bill that a company called FUK have called and placed the biggest order for his films ever; Bill is annoyed the company spells its name wrong and this goes on, like the rest of the movie, for ages, before we jump to Bill visiting the guy responsible for printing his promotional materials. For the record, in a movie rammed with unappealing people, this guy is the most unappealing looking, as he does, like a cross between a fat Keifer Sutherland and WWE’s Paul Heyman. When the guy offers to make him a free banner to put up at conventions to promote his stuff Bill launches into an extended tirade about how he doesn’t want one because he only goes to “promote the films not myself as a person” because “there’s a prejudice about dirtbags”. Whether Bill was joking (unlikely), or saying that he was a dirtbag (more likely), or that he thought people who promoted themselves are dirtbags (likeliest) is unclear; given that he is behind the camera in this movie, plays himself in the movie, under the banner of his own production company, I suspect we’re dealing with someone who is not averse to some self-promotion. Or self-aggrandisement. Or self-abuse.
The next scene, and the last I shall cover in small detail, features a conversation between our friend and his girlfriend. She tells him that he is an idiot spending his own money on his films; she points out that most people find investors to fund their movies for them and that if he stops making money she isn’t going to support his broke ass. This segment stands out as being the most realistic dialogue in the entire thing; in fact, based on all available evidence, Angelina Leigh would make a better film director than Bill Zebub. Unfortunately this scene would then feature him topless and her pointlessly flapping his breasts about and the world would end so, again, small mercies.
The rest of the movie is comprised of revolving door of more scenes where Bill shoots down his friend’s good ideas, shots of Bill pawing his girlfriend (including the worst mimed oral sex scene in cinematic history), long rants about how he ‘gets it’ and is a visionary, more German shitmetal©, and more creepy spycam shots of some random festival filmed after Bill had somehow evaded security. Worthy of note within this shower of drizzling, liquid tedium is an unfortunately proportioned girl with the ‘Sad Cat’ meme tattooed on her leg trying to look seductive, Bill’s idea to market do-it-yourself rape kits, a phone call in which the conversation is played but the camera is in lingering focus on a woman’s gusset, and another topless woman in the worst / most unflattering knickers I’ve ever seen.
Where to begin with ‘Indie Director’? Having watched the first three hours I was disappointed to discover only twenty minutes had passed. Absolutely nothing happens of any interest, the characters aren’t even one-dimensional, the dialogue is terrible and ninety-nine percent of the performances are porno-grade or worse. In fact the whole film serves no other purpose than to act as a megaphone for Bill Zebub to scream his philosophy about filmmaking, about investors, about actors, and about the Hollywood system. The most worrying thing of all, the worst part of this awful, awful excuse for a film is something else though. It’s not Bill’s complete ineptitude both in front of and behind the camera; it’s not the poor performances; it’s not the terrible script nor the dialogue that was seemingly written by a chimp; it’s not even the complete disregard he shows for any fans he may inexplicably have by trying to pass this off as a film; it’s the fact that he clearly thinks himself a superstar of the indie scene, a visionary, an auteur that only the truly initiated can understand.
This is pure delusion. This film is terrible and it is not down to a system designed to prevent breakthrough, or having little money to work with, or the limitations of promotional availability; it is down to the complete ineptitude of one man and his delusions of grandeur. I don’t make films because I don’t know the first thing about it and they would be terrible; neither does Bill Zebub and lo, ‘Indie Director’ is the worst film I’ve ever had the misfortune to watch. I know some of you love to seek out terrible films and watch them ironically; if you must do that, then do watch a film I reviewed previously called ‘Blood & Sex Nightmare’; complete and utter rubbish but fun from a certain perspective. The one positive? Angelina Leigh, Bill’s Girlfriend, gives a reasonably convincing performance and somehow manages to not be thoroughly repelled throughout.
I take no pleasure in panning any film but if we encourage Bill Zebub further, he will keep squeezing turds like this out. ‘Indie Director’ is tedious in the extreme, beyond amateur, and massively misguided; it is the first film that I have ever seen that is almost completely without merit and, wholeheartedly, if you waste your time on this, you will regret it. Thoroughly abject in every conceivable way; avoid.
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