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The Scarlet Worm

USA 2011
produced by
Michael Fredianelli, David Lambert, Gerald Herman (executive) for Wild Dogs Productions
directed by Michael Fredianelli
starring Aaron Stielstra, Dan van Husen, Montgomery Ford (= Brett Halsey), Derek Hertig, Kevin Giffin, Rita Rey, Eric Zaldivar, Mike Malloy, Robert Amstler, David Lambert, Raymond Isenberg, Jojo Myricks, Lou Michaels, Ted Rusoff, Michael Forest, Dani Estenger, Amber Rowe, Domiziano Arcangeli, Michael Fredianelli, Trevor Grosso, Mikel Arvizu, Gabriel Kalomas, Emily Amezcua, Patricia Liu
written by David Lambert, music by Aaron Stielstra, visual effects by Michael A.Martinez

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The old West: Print (Aaron Stielstra) is a weird man: He is deeply religious, considers himself a philosopher, and is also a poet ... oh, and he's a professional killer. Oddly he doesn't see the contradiction between being a religious man and being a killer, but his philosophical streak allows him to kill only for a reason. And as far as his poetry goes, he always arranges the people he has killed to macabre pieces of art, often fitting their crimes.

These days, Print works for cattle baron Mr.Paul (Montgomery Ford), a religious man himself (but also a bigot) who uses Print's predilections to his own ends. Print's best friend, his only friend in the world, on the other hand is Hank (Kevin Giffin), a drunkard and former professional killer and the only man who ever had the courage to stand up to Mr.Paul - and Mr.Paul respects him for that, even though Hank feels nothing but disgust for Mr.Paul.

Now Mr.Paul has two assignments for Print: On the one hand he wants him to train young Lee (Derek Hertig), a young bully without manners but quite promising as a marksman if trained well. On the other, Mr.Paul wants Print to take out Heinrich Kley (Dan van Husen), a brothel owner who also performs abortions on his girls if they're with child.

The first assignment is relatively simple, Lee's just a young guy without guidance who needs to be taught some manners - and poetry. True, Lee is not exactly one of the bright ones, but as a sidekick he'll do.

The second assignment proves to be more difficult, since Print is not one to walk into a place and kill a guy, he wants to get to know him first, so he convinces Kley to give him a job at the brothel, as sort of his right-hand-man - and as such, he soon learns a lot about Kley's philosophy. As it turns out, Kley is also a very religious man, one who can't only quote the bible from cover to cover, but who also understands the bible, and for him, running a whorehouse is keeping his town in order. Sure he knows it's not right, but it's a necessary evil - after all, according to him he keeps the rapist off the streets. And the abortion business? Is it really fair to bring the child of a whore who has no chance whatsoever from the day it's born into the world? In a way, Print starts to admire Kley, and he feels much closer to him than he ever felt to Mr. Paul - but that doesn't mean he's not going to kill him ...

While Print got friends with Kley, Lee posed as his son and fell in love with Annabelle (Rita Rey), one of the girls in the whorehouse. So when Print tells him it's the day to kill Kley and tells him his plan, it's only natural for Lee to warn Annabelle and persuade her to leave. Annabelle though is friends with several girls at the brothel, and she wouldn't be a friend if she wouldn't warn them, and ...

Well, suffice to say, Print walks into a trap ...

Click here to open the Spoiler Pop-up!

 

Refreshing!

That's probably the word to describe The Scarlet Worm best. This is not a film that tries to reinvent the Western genre by filling it up with some post-modern bullshit or forcing gender issues onto the genre without rhyme or reason. Instead it tells an original, intelligent genre story, fills it up with interesting characters, several leaning towards the eccentric, macabre details, and genre references that are subtle enough to not stand in the way of the story at hand. And all of this is elegantly directed, well-paced and filled with enough action to keep everyone entertained. If more of today's Western were like this, more people would watch Western today.

Recommended, actually!

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

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produced by and starring
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directed by
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written by
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