I’m planning a kickstarter campaign to benefit Verne Troyer and other B Movie veterans who just seem a little down on their luck. Nothing fancy, just something that can help them get by so they never again have to take such garbage roles as Gnome in a film titled Gnome Alone. Folks, I have said it before and I’ll say it again and again until someone finally listens to me: the cooler the cover art, the worse the movie. The front of the straight to dvd packaging (above) is pretty awesome and, the Walmart special comes with the 70’s tech holographics that make the eyes wobble back and forth on the gnome’s face. The back has a humorous picture of VT in the gnome costume holding up a booking chalk with some random numbers on it as if he’s in police custody with a description beneath that promises both humor and horror. A fan of the B Movie school of horror, I decided to rent it and have a look, despite the warning flags flying high.
The movie started with promise, a back and forth between live action and cut out cartoons telling the story of a witch and a leprechaun in love. Betrayed by the with, the leprechaun branded her with “the mark of the beast”, a sort of generic, satanic gnome hat in a circle between her breasts. This led to the witch seeking to perpetuate her wrong against the leprechaun, whose gold she stole, by creating a gnome to protect her and successive generations whom she would bestow her “curse” upon. Skip to the present day where a college girl working a dead end job in a convenience store takes the curse and the gnome by accident after befriending, then witnessing the drunk driving murder of a homeless woman and descendant of the witch’s curse. You’d expect, at this point, for the gnome to protect her from an onslaught of horror brought on by the drunk driver and his frat boy friends trying to help him cover his tracks from the gruesome crime he committed.
Instead what we find is a grown woman living at home being tormented by her bipolar, out of touch mother, her incestuous father, and a female psychology professor who appears to be the same age with an unhealthy sexual attraction towards her. The gnome goes off on his own and seeks vengeance for the past witch’s murder and does a sloppy job at that causing and inept police force to perpetually blame the main character for the string of ongoing homicides without ever holding her in custody or charging her with any crimes. Meanwhile, wishing certain people would get their just desserts, the gnome also engages in mild shenanigans against others and the unwitting psychic request of the main character whose name I just couldn’t be bothered to learn because, honestly, every character in this film was so poorly developed and portrayed as to be completely inconsequential to the overall story. I mean, the gnome going on a murder spree to avenge the old woman who was run over would have at least been a sensible, feature length plot but it just doesn’t seem to be what the writers, producers or director were really interested in. Finally, as the girl sits in a psyche ward, the leprechaun from the start of the movie wheels himself in and is immediately confronted by the guardian gnome. As the two leap into battle with one another, the movie’s title flashes onto the screen and the end credits roll.
Folks, I’ve watched some terrible shit over the years. I suffered through the Cinematic Abortion and found myself stunned at the banality of Deliver Us From Evil, but I have yet to be as perplexed by a film as I was Gnome Alone. Usually, even a low budget film with a terrible plot and wretch inducing performances by art school drop outs can still be redeemed by decent effects and cinematography. In certain settings, mainly outside in the night, Troyer’s Gnome makeup was fantastic. It was pale, sickly, somewhat diseased and earth toned in a way that truly made him appear to be a mythical creature. In other settings, well…I’ve seen my 9 year old do a better job with his zombie make up for Halloween than what these alleged professionals did. Add the constant switching between low end, professional grade film equipment and what I can only assume was someone’s dad’s camcorder, a complete lack of costuming, lighting, or scene setting, and you have yourself a film that has less production value and entertainment than an amateur porno.
Guys, I’m not a movie maker. It’s easy to critique a thing when you know nothing about it. What I am is a horror author and a die hard fan of the genre, particularly anything involving zombies, demonic possession, or monsters. There are low budget flicks that I love simply because the make up and monsters scared the hell out of me. There are low budget flicks that I love because of the story and the valiant way that some okay actors tried to portray it despite terrible direction and production value. Gnome Alone will never be either of those things.
As for Mini-Me, I want to help in any way that I can. I would never ask Bruce Campbell to do another Maniac Cop movie nor would I want to see Misty Mundae attempt to make the leap from below C-list soft core starlet to an actual actress. In this spirit, I pray that we can find Verne Troyer the sort of work he needs to prevent him from ever making another film like Gnome Alone.