Fungicide (2005). Directed by Dave Wascavage. Starring a bunch of random people you don’t know being attacked by other people wearing killer mushroom costumes that someone made in their garage. And that’s OK. This is a cheap movie made strictly for the fun of it.
A mad scientist, a professional wrestler, a real estate magnet, a reality show refugee and a 60’s hippy throwback are brought together to face giant, man-eating mushrooms.
Ed Wood would have loved this.
Filmed with someone’s VHS recorder, the movie is filled with cheapest special effects, horrible dialog and acting that would make Lee Strasberg roll over in his grave!
A scientist creates a serum that we don’t know about… yet. He decides to take a trip to the woods, to a bed and breakfast run by a semi-psychic hippie woman who loves broccoli and incense. Already there is a wrestler, trying to relax, and a real estate agent who wants to develop the whole area. On his way into the cottage, the scientist trips and spills his serum, which pours onto a mushroom under the porch. The mushroom becomes alive and carnivorous, first killing a local pest control person with an incredibly fake beard.
That is just the beginning.
In the woods, they meet a reality show contestant from the military, named Major Wang. Soon, the five are banding together in a house that fungus lays siege to in the style of “Night of the Living Bread.” Yes, Bread not Dead.
From there, we are given bad computer graphics of giant mushrooms that Mario wouldn’t eat, people in mushroom costumes (you can see the actor’s legs and butt in one scene), mushroom hand puppets eating a dummy, revolvers that shoot continuously without reloading, kendo style fights between man and mushroom, and the phoniest looking blood ever.
Battles rage on all fronts. Some of the mushrooms sprout arms and hands. At least one comes up through the toilet. Some grow on the side of the house. Others hang out on the roof.
The scientist, of course, loves them. They are his creation and he believes that he will control them. As they advance on the house, he runs out the door to call them to his side and is promptly slugged with a Louisville Slugger. While unconscious, he dreams of his life with his mushrooms. We see the two sitting down to a meal together, playing cards and finally, being read a bedtime story.
I’d like to say that from there the movie gets better but I was taught that it is wrong to lie.
The fights between man and mushroom look more like 1980’s video game graphics. Acid shot from mushrooms is some form of Silly String. Blood is more like paint. Limbs chewed off or cut off are from department store manikins. The list goes on.
I would love to tell you more, as which characters got killed and why balsamic vinegar is important to the end of the movie, but I hate spoilers. And, truly, this film is pretty damned spoiled.
I highly recommend a viewing. With all the shortcomings, the film never takes itself seriously. It never pretends to be a great work of art with something important to say. And it looks as if everyone had fun making the movie.
It is an hour-and-a-half of your life that you will never get back, but I don’t think you’ll miss it.