Russell (Russell Steinberg), whose probably no-hoper career as a musician has been cut short by an accident that has left him with a prosthetic hand, lives in a building on Laguna Ave in Los Angeles – with various eccentrics in the other apartments, and enough self-pity wisecracks to fill a dozen quirky indie flicks. Then, Gary (James Markham Hall Jr) – black, bald, British-accented, and very stylishly dressed – moves into the building, and Pierre is drawn into his paranoid world as part of an incomprehensible conflict between various factions and individuals with extra-normal abilities. Russell winds up with a clunky prosthetic arm that evokes the Tetsuo movies and functions as a weapon – then gets into a Scanners-ish battle-of-the mutants scenario which overwrites the kind of movie this first seemed to be, though the quirks remain a constant feature.
Shot in cool black and white, this has some of the tatty feel of vintage cult oddities like Big Meat Eater or Oversexed Rugsuckers From Mars, with pleasingly retro effects and creature design that involves people having electronic junkyard salvage stapled to their bodies. Steinberg channels the kind of neurotic Onur Tukel has been playing in his own pictures for a few years, with a nicely bitter edge that carries over into his incarnation as robo-schlub, while the imposing Hall – nephew of the late Predator/Harry and the Hendersons star Kevin Peter Hall – is deadpan hilarious as the catalyst for the second-act shift from kvetching-and-gossip-around-a-barbeque to low-rent science fiction/action. Scripted by Paul Papadeas, directed by David Buchanan.