Dylan Sides is always ready and willing to lend a friend a hand, particularly if that friend has helped him in one of his productions. When Jules Harlock called Sides and said he needed help with his student thesis film, Sides was willing and agreed.
Said Sides, “Ever since he joined revenge of the “Mask Two,” he’s been a staple and a very good friend of just about everybody. So when the time came for them to do their own film, everybody jumped at the chance to help. Unfortunately, most of our teammates were out of town during this”
A student of Wayne State University’s film department, Harlock had an idea which Dylan Sides could not greenlight. Harlock wanted to do a giant robot type movie, and that wasn’t gonna happen.
“But then he mentioned we had less than a week to do said film. So I had less than a week to throw together an entire 10-minute long movie with a sci-fi twist. I told Jules he needed to scale back. So, I told him what I’d do.”
With less than a week to finish the film, Harlock and Sides put their heads together to develop an alternate story-line. Examining Jules’ real-life phobias, the idea for the film was born.
As Sides tells it, “Essentially he fears having no control over his life. And the fear of centipedes And Jules is non-binary so the fear of persecution. We mix all that together, and this is what we got. The movie has a lot to say in a very short amount of time, and that’s what I love about it. You can look at it as a metaphor for the closet.
So the first thing they did was cast for actors. Said Sides, ” I can think of no one better to play the Dad than Gary Brunner. Gary Brunner played the monster McLaren in Revenge of the Mask Two.” Then Karla Marie Froehlich, the old witch from “Rise of the Mask Odin’s 9,” was cast to play Mom. Timothy James Smith, who played Ricky in “Revenge,” was chosen to play Don. And Jeff Siarto, who played Odin In “Odin’s 9,” was cast to play Sam.
“Bodyguard rentals provided a makeup trailer to accommodate the 25 zombie extras. And we had an entire team of set decorators for the parasite reveal. And there wasn’t an ounce of CG in the film. Every effect is practical. We had to make 14 parasites in two days.”
This whole production was set against the downriver community of River Rouge. Said Sides, “River Rouge is incredible. The Mayor is a good friend. Mike D Bowdler is incredible and such a good person. We’ve been shooting there constantly since “Revenge of the Mask Two.” We just spent the last three weeks shooting the “Good Thief” there. We shut down over a mile of Jefferson to do car chases. The city of River Rouge shut down four city blocks And gave us access to an ambulance and a firetruck we provided three of our own police cars that we have from our rental house.”
The use of B&W in the film was complicated. As Sides explains, “I’m a very expressive colorist in my films. To film in black-and-white, I had to restrain myself. All the monitors for such black and white, and we lit it accordingly. It’s an entirely different set of lighting schedules and make-up. We’re black and white; I wanted that moment to go to color to attack the senses. You were so used to seeing this dull and lifeless world. Full. But when you finally saw the real world, it would be beautiful but frightening. It’s a pain in the ass.”
“We cast in one day. 2 days of making the parasites. Three days of shooting. One day of editing. So, we made the entire short in one week.”
“I told Jules if he doesn’t get an A, I’m gonna burn his teacher’s house down. LOL”
“Crawlies” was produced by Dylan Sides Studios, and Colorful Films Presents.