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Ninjas and monsters invade Liberty High School tonight

Friday, Feb. 8 | By Mark Grandstaff | Google+
Tonight, Liberty High School plays host to a battle between ninjas and monsters.

Warrenton filmmaker Justin Timpane will show his latest work, "Ninjas vs. Monsters," at 9 p.m. tonight in Liberty High's auditorium.

"It's about a bunch of regular guys who were turned into ninjas, who have to fight Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, a werewolf, a bunch of witches, basically all the old classic movie monsters in a giant battle royal," Timpane said.

The film is the third part in a trilogy, Timpane said. Much of it was shot in Fauquier County, as were the preceding films, "Ninjas vs. Zombies" and "Ninjas vs. Vampires."

"Ninjas vs. Vampires," the second in the series, is available to watch on Netflix Instant Queue, and may give viewers a sense of what they're in for on Friday.

In it, a home on Marblehead Farm in The Plains does double duty as a vampire lair. During one scene, the undead plot inside their lair against the ninjas while sunlight can be seen streaming in through the windows.

"You have those magic windows?" one vampire says to their host. "Nice!"

"Ninjas vs. Monsters" takes itself about as seriously, but amps up the production values. Timpane boasts that fight sequences fill almost half of the film's 90-minute run time.

Instructors and students from Karate Sports Academy in Bealeton fueled many of those fight scenes, providing stunt work. Kirk Jenkins, a second-degree black belt in tae kwon do, plays the part of one of the ninjas.

"Kirk has this great ability to do stunts," Timpane said, "things I've never seen people do live outside of a circus."

Ron Jenkins, Kirk's father and owner of Karate Sports Academy, said he and his students enjoyed contributing to the film. Kirk has auditioned for several movies and wants to use his exposure in "Ninjas vs. Monsters" to get into a career as an actor or stunt worker.

"If this is what's going to make him happy, I'm like, 'Go for it,'" Jenkins said.

The movie itself may not be to everyone's taste.

A series of comics that bridge the story between "Vampires" and "Monsters" sets up the plot, such as it is, of the third movie. Even the characters seem impatient to hurry through the exposition and get on with the business of dishing out punches and one-liners.

There's violence, of course. Swearing, too -- the actors are not shy about dropping F-bombs.

Fans of Joss Whedon's self-aware snark, on display in TV shows like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," will find the same sensibility in "Ninjas vs. Monsters."

Frankenstein, who in this film is monster and doctor both, points out that dichotomy to a ninja he interrogates with a knife and a hammer. They acknowledge, explicitly and out loud, the scene's parallel to a similar torture scene in Stephen King's "Misery."

"Ninjas vs. Monsters" is for people who like their characters relentlessly self-aware. It's for the sort of movie-goer who saw "Pirates of the Caribbean" tried to find ways to work the word "savvy" into daily conversation.

It's also for anyone who want to see the creative talent of Fauquier residents -- or those who are curious to see Marblehead Farm transform from a producer of fruits, vegetables and sauces to a martial arts battleground.

"It worked well as a classic vampire lair," Timpane said. "You shoot it the right way, it looks very gothic."

Guests are encouraged to bring $5 donations, which will help pay the cost of renting the auditorium.

To learn more about "Ninjas vs. Monsters" and the films preceding it, visit http://www.ninjasvs.com
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