Chris Smith's documentary American Movie traces the years-in-the-making of Mark Borchardt's half-hour indie horror flick Coven. Here is the finished film, and in its crude, primitive, hilarious way, it isn't at all bad. In fact, some of the cheapo horror moments have a Night of the Living Dead cinematic feel, and some of the strident didacticism is in the appealing realm of Sam Fuller. Borchardt directs/edits/stars in his movie, and it's certainly heartfelt and personal, something about his valiant attempts to rid himself of his drinking demons, which take the form of zombies, witches, and other apparitions (all played by his amateur friends from about Milwaukee).


"Actually, I started drinking when I was 12 and filming when I was 14. I always thought Hollywood movies were dumb and corny. I still do, but when I saw Close Encounters, that was the first time I ever saw a ranch house in a film, the type of house that I live in. So I thought I could put my own life on film. It wasn't because I'd seen Slacker. I was doing this years before that."  And his goal of selling 3000 copies of Coven? "I've sold about 350. But there's wheels that are going to start turning. I will make 3000. You can count on that."

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