Godlike powers. Vast fortunes. Box office gold. It’s hard to think of superheroes as underdogs any more. But Jason Trost’s All Superheroes Must Die has a new way to make you root for its success: a budget so small you’ll worry someone’s about to wander into frame to repossess the camera.
Superheroes (also released as Vs) looks like a cross between an ‘80s horror and an elaborately costumed porno. Heroes Charge, Cutthroat, Shadow, and The Wall wake up in an abandoned town, confused and powerless. They question their morality as they’re put through Saw-like, Saw-lite tests by their arch nemesis, the evil Rickshaw. This isn’t ironic like Kick Ass; it’s a sincere attempt to do on spare change what blockbusters do with billions.
All Superheroes Must Die kicks off Cultastrophe’s second season at Cinema Nova. Its curator, Zak Hepburn, was already a fan of the director’s post-apocalyptic dance film The FP, and found Superheroes’ minimalism refreshing in an era of Dark Knights and Avengers. “And it has [Dexter’s] James Remar in it, who I’d watch just reading out the phone book.”
Upcoming screenings will include the VHS doco Heavy Metal Parking Lot (1986) and the infamous Cannibal Holocaust (1980). “That’s pretty rough, but a true underground horror classic!” Alongside these weekly screenings will be exclusive new genre releases and more of the so-bad-it’s-unfathomable The Room.
“Cult films have kernels of ingenuity that make them sparkle,” Hepburn says. “For me, a cult film is something people are exposed to, indoctrinated into. It can’t come straight out of the box. It needs time to grow.”