Diagnosis Death has been released in NZ on dvd. Raybon Kan got a glowing review as well as the entire cast.Death becomes him
By TOM CARDY - The Dominion Post
Last updated 14:07 16/10/2009
Nurse Margaret Bates (Suze Tye) confronts drug trial patients Andre Change (Raybon Kan) and Juliet Reid (Jessica Grace Smith) in Jason Stutter's horror comedy Diagnosis: Death.
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We all know Raybon Kan the rib-tickling writer, Raybon Kan the hilarious standup comedian, and, occasionally, Raybon Kan the comic actor. But Raybon Kan as the romantic lead? Has the world gone mad? Is Kan having us on?
Well, no. Admittedly, Kan's first leading role in a feature film is one that involves ghosts, scary hospitals, creepy doctors and even creepier nurses - and, despite the subject matter, it's largely a comedy. He also has some of the funniest lines.
Much is being made in the promotion for horror comedy Diagnosis: Death, shot in Wellington, that it includes Flight of the Conchords' Bret McKenzie and Rhys Darby as deadpan dodgy doctors, and a cameo from Jemaine Clement as a bribing parent.
The three deliver. But it's Kan - who co-wrote the film with director Jason Stutter - who has to carry much of the film, including some dramatic, poignant moments, and he even gets to kiss, among other things, and keep the girl. And, for his first horror, he's bloody good.
Stutter, who recently finished a New Plymouth shooting of Predicament, based on the novel by Ronald Hugh Morrieson, is an old friend of Kan. Kan had a role in Stutter's 2004 comedy Tongan Ninja. Diagnosis: Death followed.
"He was trying to get Predicament up and he helped me shoot a video blog," says Kan on the phone from Majorca, where he's on holiday.
"We did that and then we thought, 'Why don't we write a movie?'. I had an idea for the start of a movie, and then we spent a couple of months planning the story in various pubs around town. Then we found an office and actually wrote the screenplay.
"It was very much something we were doing when we had time and were waiting for other things to happen."
In the film, Kan plays Andre Chang, school teacher and lothario, who is happy to be bribed by parents who want higher grades for their children, and to bed women on the first date.
Everything changes when he is diagnosed with terminal cancer.
His doctor (Darby) persuades him to participate in a free drug trial at a private hospital. Among the other dying participants is 18-year-old student Juliet Reid (Jessica Grace Smith).
At the hospital, the suspicious Dr Cruise (McKenzie) and nurse Margaret Bates (Suze Tye) warn the patients they may hallucinate when they take the trial drugs.
Andre and Juliet soon discover that famous Kiwi author Charlotte Mansfield, author of such classics as An Angel at My Picnic, supposedly killed herself in the hospital years earlier, after murdering her son.
Soon, there are bizarre happenings, from strange noises to visions. Is the hospital haunted, or is it the drugs? And does it really matter when they are facing death regardless?
"Everyone is afraid of terminal illness. For me, I thought, 'What if terminal illness was where it started and then it really went downhill? How could it get worse?'," says Kan.
He won't say how much the film cost, or even which location was used for the hospital. But for a low- budget feature - Kan and Stutter raised the funds from several quarters, including friends and family, and had support from big names including Oscar winner Jamie Selkirk - Diagnosis: Death never looks cheap. The visual effects are part state-of-the-art, part a homage to the DIY of Peter Jackson's Bad Taste.
Although it is being released on DVD rather than in cinemas, it's been a success, with festival screenings and rights snapped up in Britain, the United States and Australia, including sales at the Cannes Film Festival this year.
"Just the fact that somebody wanted to buy the film was an absolute thrill. The fact we were able to finish it and people wanted to distribute it in this [economic] climate - we couldn't be happier."
* Diagnosis: Death was released on DVD yesterday.
Source/Credit: conchords.net via tweetdeck http://ow.ly/uHyd