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Bald Knobber

USA 2017
produced by
Michael Johnson (executive) for Bear Creek Productions
directed by Michael Johnson
starring Mel Barber, Angelina Sauber, Curtis Copeland, Keith Thurman, Bozana Cavar, Zack Davis, Dakota T. Jones, Austin Michael, Blake Walker, Chris Skillern, Michael Freeman, Dale Green, Robyn Koelling Hurst, Kristin Mothersbaugh, Eddie Wood, Lee Walker, Drake Stephens, Kara Jones, Timothy Brassi, Shaun Blair, Hoss Braden, Patrick McCrady, Tobin Smith, Larry Simpson, Wayne Massengale, Teri Austin, Clayton Curtis, Tom Wolf, Tina Cool Anderson, Lindsey Breeden, Jason Webb, Tyler Bryce, Mason Kirkland, Justin Sifford, Myranda Rose Zimmerebner, Kerry M. Richardson, Dana Embree, Samuel Stafford, Michael Lillard, Laura Fogle, Chris Sulzbach, Kyle Bridges, Jeanette Kuhlmann, Jacob Combs, Tony Wagner, Kevin Day, Fred Harshbarger, Danny Yancey, Noel McEwen, Ryan Sifford, Tony Williams, Archie Dunn, Randy Greer, Denny McQuire, Randy Freeman, Stan Budzyna, Richard Watson, Crystall Copeland, Rachel Parker, Jeffery Stringer, Jae McFerron, Larry Allred, David Jacobs, Bethany Mecke, Christian Michael Dober, Maddie Madson, Pamela Yancey, Brian Gillman, Scott Mueller, Todd Thornhill, Debbie Wood, Matt Smith, Somer Jones, Mary Jo Greer, Roy Jackson, Sophia Sattazahn, Martha M. Fredrickson, Rod Shelton, Clinton Caperton, Caleb Klinger, Stephen Neal
written by Michael Johnson, Curtis Copeland, Sean Murray

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Taney County, Missouri, the 1880s: With the Civil War already a few years in the past, healing hasn't set in in this region in the Ozarks, as the locals were suffering under a failing exonomy and high taxation on one side, the lawless rule of bushwackers on the other, and a failing justice system beyond that. This eventually proves too much for Nathaniel Kinney (Mel Barber), a small time businessman and preacher by day, so he called together the leaders of the county to form a secret group of vigilants to fight lawlessness by night, wearing masks to ensure their anonymity. The situation is so bad in the region, the group even gets its blessings from Sheriff McHAffee (Michael Freeman). And at first, the group is a rousing success, and seemingly brings lasting peace to the county, and even inspires the neighbouring county to form its own vigilant gang. But of course, with great power comes great temptation, and soon Kinney uses his gang, which quickly becomes known as Baldknobbers, for personal enrichment, the elimination of those who stand against him, and to settle petty scores. The Baldknobbers soon become feared and hated amongst decent folks as well as bushwackers, as they want to force allegiance on everyone, and if they fail to succeed try to run whoever it is off their land. Eventually, things have gotten to such a bad state that Sheriff McHaffee revokes his support for Kinney and company, but he isn't big enough anymore to be a threat for Kinney. Militias are formed to protect honest farmers against the Baldknobbers, and soon things are no better than back in the times of Civil War - which is why eventually, adjudant general James Carson Jamison (Tom Wolf) is sent in to force both the Baldknobbers and the militias to disband, threatening martial law otherwise. But Kinney is granted 48 hours to organize the disbandment - which gives both sides enough time to settle some old scores ...

 

Epic westerns based on true stories usually ring alarm bells in me, but Bald Knobber gets it absolutely right as it stays away from feeding a legend or forcing a message home via sledgehammer and is neither revisionist nor post-modernist, instead tells the story in a very realistic way while not forgetting to create a tense story arc to keep the audience interested beginning to end, dragging them into a story without real heroes or villains where the line between right and wrong is usually blurred and the law is a matter of interpretation. Add to that a subtle directorial effort that makes the most out of its scenery, and a very solid ensemble cast, and you've got yourself rather awesome genre entertainment.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD