The Horror Zine Review
A Film by Mark Bessenger
Director: Mark Bessenger
A Film by Mark Bessenger
Review by Jeani Rector
Bite Marks opens with a truck driver and his big rig Shirley. The driver hears a noise in the back cargo area and investigates. From there, Bite Marks goes into a very clever animated introduction that is a cross between the intros of the films Suck and 11:14. The title sequence, professionally done by Jovani Olivares, is fun and entertaining. It sets the mood for the rest of the film.
The music score, performed by Rossano Galante, is lively and enjoyable. For an indie film, the music sounds like a big-budget Hollywood production, where only the best talents are used.
Once the very enjoyable animated opening sequence is finished, the film goes to an adulterous affair in a motel room, where the original truckdriver's boss calls because of his disappearance. The boss wants the driver's brother, Brewster, played by Benjamin Lutz, to substitute. The unusual cargo needs to be delivered.
From there the film goes to a shot of two young men hiking in the country, Cary played by Windham Beacham, and Vogel played by the very handsome David Alanson. It is here you learn that Bite Marks has a gay theme.
That said, if you are unfortunate enough to have homophobia, then this film is not for you. But if you recognize a good movie when you see one, then by all means, Bite Marks is definitely a film you want to sink your teeth into. Bite Marks is a horror-comedy that works on all levels.
Cary and Vogel catch a ride with Brewster, and from there their fates are intertwined.
As characters, Beacham's Cary is the loveable nice guy with a big heart, while Alanson's character Vogel is the self-centered one. Both Beacham and Alanson are highly talented actors, and their roles are completely believable. In contrast, Lutz's role as Brewster provides an uneven performance, sometimes natural, sometimes forced.
There are not many roles for women in this film, although Rachael Rivera as a waitress shines through. Her character is bold, sassy and memorable.
Back in the truck, Brewster, Cary, and Vogel are led by the GPS system (voiced by a man) into a junkyard instead of the funeral home where they had intended. The sun is going down, and the truck's axle breaks. This is where the fun begins as five creatures that are a cross between vampires and zombies emerge.
The original truck driver was a religious fanatic, so there are plenty of icons to ward off the undead in the cab. One of the moments where I laughed out loud was when Cary and Vogel, wanting to revive Brewster by giving him water, had to use holy water because that's all there was. And to keep themselves safe inside the truck, they plaster the windows of the cab with Bible pages.
Although the theme of trying to stay alive (and human) until dawn has been done before, Bite Marks accomplishes it in a fresh, funny way. Cary and Vogel are very likeable characters, and they come up with clever responses to the creatures' attacks. Of course there are instances where they are forced to go out of the cab to meet the creatures head on, but unlike most horror films, in Bite Marks the characters behave intelligently.
All in all, Bite Marks is a lighthearted, fun film and I liked it enough to watch it twice. So in a sense, I was twice bitten by Bite Marks.
See the movie here:
About the Filmmaker
Movies have always been a strong influence in Mark Bessenger’s life, from the magical moment when his parents first took him to the drive-in theater, to the influential day when he discovered his mother’s 8mm movie camera and realized that he could make his own films. Shooting his friends and relatives in the back yard in short silent home movies led to Mark getting a degree in Creative Writing at Indiana University before attending Columbia College Chicago’s film school.
Mark’s movies were often inspired by his love of horror, comedy and exploitation films, and his sexual orientation more often than not added a gay slant. Mark lives in Los Angeles with his husband of fifteen years where he runs a video production company and has previously directed two features, both unreleased (so far). Bite Marks is his first directorial effort under his new filmmaking company Blakk Flamingo Pictures.
About the Reviewer
While most people go to Disneyland while in Southern California, Jeani Rector went to the Fangoria Weekend of Horror there instead. She grew up watching the Bob Wilkins Creature Feature on television and lived in a house that had the walls covered with framed Universal Monsters posters. It is all in good fun and actually, most people who know Jeani personally are of the opinion that she is a very normal person. She just writes abnormal stories. Doesn’t everybody?
Jeani Rector is the founder and editor of The Horror Zine and has had her stories featured in magazines such as Aphelion, Midnight Street, Strange Weird and Wonderful, Macabre Cadaver, Ax Wound, Horrormasters, Morbid Outlook, Horror in Words, Black Petals, 63Channels, Death Head Grin, Hackwriters, Bewildering Stories, Ultraverse, Story Mania, All Destiny, and many others. Her book Around a Dark Corner was released in the USA on Graveyard Press in 2009.