Hung Truong: The Blog!

Classic Hung Truong Movie: Hellevator

December 18, 2006 | 4 Minute Read

Back when I was a media arts major (in 2002), I made a movie called “Hellevator.” It’s probably the crowning achievement of my career at UNM. I figured I should put it online for posterity, and include comments before I forget about what happened.

[flv:/blog/video/Hellevator.flv 480 360]

I skipped putting it on youtube, since the compression sucks. Here’s some of my director’s commentary:

The movie was actually based on a two-minute play that I and Brian Hesch wrote during drama class in high school. The idea was that the two characters would enter the elevator and then just “fall” for the entire thing. Needless to say, the script was reworked to make it more interesting.

SuperTonic Productions was my made up production company name. The

Supertonic is the second note in a diatonic scale. I learned about it in theory during music class. I thought it was a really cool name because it rhymes with Supersonic or something!

The movie was filmed in one night at UNM’s Center For the Arts.

The first half of the movie looks really bad, because I captured it from VHS tape. The second half looks good, because I had split the movie into two halves to fit on a CD. I only ended up getting the second half though…

Paul McLaughlin is the first person to appear in the movie. He was just some random guy from class.

I make a cameo in the movie. I’m the guy who exits the elevator facing the wrong way. I thought it would be weird that way.

Will Belletto plays the role of “Khan, just Khan.” He’s the captain of the ultimate frisbee team at UNM right now. I named the guy “Khan” because it’s a cool name. Like the guy from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Cory Ponder plays the role of “Samantha Powers.” This is a play on names: “Samuel Powers” is the real name of Saved By the Bell’s “Screech.”

Alex Hoffman played the role of “Dr. Pepper.” He claimed to be a projectionist. He also claimed to have a girlfriend who was a stripper in Las Vegas. He disappeared after shooting, which probably means he went to Las Vegas to be with his girlfriend. Or not. Anyway, that’s the reason we have the dedication at the end of the movie. He didn’t really die. I don’t think.

When Dr. Pepper says “bleepin’ mohawk,” it’s an in-joke from high school drama class. There was this guy with a mohawk, and we’d blame him for stuff. Like if it was raining that day. “Fucking mohawk!”

The bleep sound effect is actually Adobe Premiere’s countdown timer bleep.

The music inside the elevator is “Girl From Ipanema,” which is usually used in media as the cliche “elevator music” song.

The Six Flags ride that the characters mention that bears a striking resemblance to their situation is Freefall.

The music used in the “Twenty Minutes Later…” title card is Herb Alpert’s “Spanish Flea.” This song was also used in that TV show, “The Dating Game.”

The original script called for Khan asking Samantha Powers for Tic Tacs, since he didn’t want to meet his maker with bad breath. I forgot to bring the Tic Tacs, though. Thus, the strangely inappropriately long shot of Khan using Chapstick.

The shot of Khan pushing the button to open the elevator doors near the end of the movie was slowed down for dramatic impact.

Khan puts on his sunglasses before opening the elevator doors (since hell is probably pretty bright and firey), but in the next shot, his glasses are off again. Oops.

Khan and Samantha start saying “uh… sure” before Dr. Pepper even asks if he can get in! They must be psychic.

The music during the credits is once again “The Girl From Ipanema.” This time, it’s an arrangement by Bobby Shew from his album, “Heavyweights.” Fun fact: I got my “shoe” autographed one time at a concert by Bobby Shew. Get it!? He really signed the bottom of it, but then it wore out because I walked on it too much…

People tell me the credits took too long to roll.

Nicole Buckles was in our class. She helped provide sound effects, like the one of the screeching elevator. I think…