#159: Humboldt Horror

May 3rd, 2013

She was a little punk type, tattoos and a veiled anger. I could see in her eyes how much she hated this world. I could see in her eyes how much she loved it.

I could see in her eyes how afraid she was of me.

She ran. I followed, croquet mallet glinting under the streetlamp light peeking through threadbare trees among the garbage and rats in this garbaged, ratty back alley in Humboldt Park.

Her run was hindered by her punker’s love for chemicals. I neared as she wheezed. Her eyes widened. I smiled.

Then Eduardo said he got it all so we could go inside and film the dancing scene.Art by Dmitry Samarov

In that dark Humboldt Park alley that chilly April night, we were filming “Blind Date,” a short comedy-horror film by part-time director and full-time Malcolm X College student Eduardo Santana.

That night, I would bludgeon my friend Krystle (Hi, Krystle!) to death with a croquet mallet, curb-stomp my friend Bret and, for my new friend Shannon, things got a little creative. And chainsaw-ey.

In a few months, Eduardo and Krystle are heading off to New York to put the movie directly in the hands of comedy-horror maestro Lloyd Kaufman, whose Troma Entertainment produced or distributed such films as “The Toxic Avenger,” “Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D.,” “Rabid Grannies” and “Cannibal! The Musical.”

“I want to use this to get backing,” Eduardo told me at 3:30 that morning while we smoked Bret’s cigarettes on the apartment balcony.

“Like show it to investors to get money from them for another movie?”

He nodded.

The mastermind of that night’s horrors — which included a woman nattering about the band 311 and me brandishing a non-working chainsaw in front of a strobe light as a row of people with squirt guns and spray bottles drenched me in soy sauce stage blood — was a soft-spoken young neuroscience student who talked lovingly of both human relations and splatstick director Sam Raimi.

We talked on the balcony and sipped beer. We were on break to let the camera recharge after the battery died in the middle of the chainsaw scene.

I wish I could remember more of Eduardo’s calm words or capture the quiet passion in his voice as he talked about movies. He spoke of the catch in the throat as things jump out at you, the relief that washes over after a scream or a laugh.

“When you get good people together, things happen,” he said, looking out from one of Bret’s cigarettes into the cold Humboldt night.

I’ll always remember bludgeoning one friend and curb-stomping another with fondness in my heart. It was fun. I hope to do it again.

But I’ll remember more sitting on that balcony at 3:30 a.m., sharing a quiet conversation about movies, art and community. Two men shared a moment. One dripped from head to toe with blood that reeked of teriyaki.

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