Director and writer Eric Dow takes viewers behind-the-scenes of the most notorious fan-fiction short film of all time with BEHIND THE MASK – THE BATMAN: DEAD END STORY, the documentary that uncovers the aftermath of the most infamous fan-fiction short of all time. In the winter of 2003, commercial director Sandy Collora and some of his friends set out to make a low-budget short film for his demo reel.  What they wound up doing, however, was making one of the most elaborate, most watched, most talked about and most controversial short fan-directed films ever made: “Batman: Dead End.”

The film launched a nationwide craze when all eight minutes were unveiled at Comic Con in 2003.  Director Kevin Smith called it “an amazing piece of work.  Possibly the truest, best Batman ever made”.  In a Hollywood system where Batman movies are huge-budget, mega-merchandised projects, this low-budget short shattered all expectations, garnering an incredible amount of buzz outside of the Hollywood system. With appearances from The Joker, Alien, and Predator, the film was a hit with die-hard comic fans and modern action film lovers alike.  Considering the amount of buzz surrounding the film, Collora was expected to be propelled into the Hollywood stratosphere.  Instead, his career sputtered.  Now, BEHIND THE MASK gives audiences an insider’s behind-the-scenes look at the buzz-worthy short and the people who help create it including Collora, comic book legend Neal Adams, and convention all-stars Sean Clark, Shawn Reeves and Jordu Schell.

I was first introduced to Sandy Collora way back in 2003 when he first debuted Batman: Dead End. Needless to say, the fan film was a big hit and it got him a lot of attention in a short amount of time. This thing had Batman, Joker, Predator and Alien in it! Then in 2010 he returned with his sci-fi feature film debut Hunter Prey and I liked it, so much so I got the opportunity to interview him about it. Now he’s back with his new creature feature short Shallow Water which I helped spread the word about as well as throw a little green to the crowdfunding campaign. All of these projects show off how talented this artist really is because he pretty much does it all – writes, draws, sculpts, and directs. Sandy Collora likes to do things his way and really doesn’t fit in with the Hollywood machine and one thing is for certain, each time he returns he delivers an ambitious product.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and specs. The DVD disc also features some matching artwork. Inserting the disc, the movie immediately starts playing so there’s no menu screen at all. The picture and sound quality for this standard-definition release were really good. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Behind the Mask – The Batman: Dead End Story was an interesting and touching watch about the making of this popular fan film and its eccentric creator. This doc goes into great detail of who all was attached to Batman: Dead End at one point and all the stumbling blocks Sandy Collora went through getting his fan film made. You will be shocked and surprised at the names once attached to Batman: Dead End. The doc also focuses on the filmmaker and the hits and misses he’s had over the years with opportunity after opportunity. Maybe his ego has gotten in his way over the years but Hollywood is full of big egos so why can’t he simply find a place to fit in with the machine? Well, maybe he just wants to do things his way and doesn’t want to compromise his artistic integrity! This DVD is now available and is definitely worth checking out. It’s easily my new favorite documentary and hopefully one day Sandy Collora will get that big opportunity that’s eluded him for so many years.

Distributor: Candy Factory Films

Run Time: 98 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

DVD Video: Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1)

DVD Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles: N/A

Special Features: N/A


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