I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. - Groucho Marx

A Brief History: "Martians Go Home"

by Rhianna Lee
Feb. 26, 2012

Winning a place in the hearts of gore fans across Spain and the world, Dani Moreno is the psychobilly director of the short film "Martians Go Home!"  He uses his breadth of horror and pop culture knowledge to fill the film with references to classic gore films, video games, and monster lore. Reminiscent of the films of Roger Corman it also has tones of The Return of the Living Dead and Bad Taste. Shot on 35mm and Released in 2006, the movie encapsulates the feel of the 80's, from its gritty film quality to its synthy soundtrack. Moreno screened "Martians Go Home!" at Screamfest LA, NYC Horror Film Festival, Toronto After Dark--audience award winner, and Fantastic Film Festival of Malaga--where it received two awards for Best Short Film.

The soundtrack of "Martians Go Home!" was done by Dani Moreno's brother, Jairo. He used the theremin to create a sense of intrigue and to honor its historical role as a tool in horror and science fiction films that used the sound to frighten viewers.  They wanted to capture the B-movie feel but respect the purist fans of the instrument, for instance fans of the classic virtuoso Clara Rockmore, whom the character Sarah Clockwork is a clear reference to. 

For the role of Sarah Clockwork, the mysterious theremin player, Moreno had his eye on singer/celebrity Alaska from the electro-pop band Fangoria. Moreno was sure she was out of reach and wouldn't be interested, as  Alaska has been a sub-cultural icon and staple of Spain's electronic music scene since 1977.  Two years after "Martians" was released, she was photographed nude with three banderillas (spears) protruding out of her back in a poster campaign to protest bullfighting. She made the comment: "There is an animal there which has not asked to be there." After pulling some strings and rubbing some elbows Moreno found himself in the right circle to talk her into being in his next film. 

Playing the role of Dani in the film is another Spanish celebrity, the young actor Edu Garcia, famous for his role in the TV series No One Can Live Here which more freely translates to “This Place is Awful.” The show was a satirical comedy based on a host of Spanish stereotypes all living in the same apartment building in Madrid. It was popular due to its sharp wit and hilarious characters.

Using a team of only 20 people, Moreno calls "Martians" an unforgettable experience and sounds like his only complaint is that he wished he could have made it longer. When asked about the apparent tribute to the 80's horror genre Moreno said "It's the kind of cinema I like to make. It's a very aesthetic type of production, unreal, where the colored lights are not always justified, with tricky visual effects that are impossible. The eighties terror is almost the antithesis of current horror films, where the shadows cover almost everything and the rise of digital camera adds a touch that makes it almost a documentary." Moreno explained that using 35mm can close the doors to many important film festivals, he calls this elitist and feels that works should be judged on the final product regardless of the format or media used.

Most recently Moreno had a spot in the documentary Troma is Spanish for Troma, a film about the first 35 years of Troma Entertainment.  He is co-writing and directing the next installment of Troma's Nuke Em’ High IV along with Marc Gras. This movie is currently in pre-production and will be the first Troma film to be made in Spain. 

Rhianna Lee is a kind hearted misanthrope based out of Portland, OR. She has an eclectic spectrum of interests, high on that list is a deep love of games and film. She is very restless and gets bored easily but does her best to fill the time with interesting and awe inspiring activities.