Most comic-turned-movie feature the likes of superheroes such as Batman, Superman, Iron Man and the likes. Every so often, a few anti-hero movies are also thrown in for good measure; Cat Woman, Judge Dredd, The Crow and even Ghost Rider (even though we try to forget) are just a few examples. Villians, however, tend to fall on the way side when it comes to major film releases, and even in the fan film space they are often given the cold shoulder. Joker Rising seeks to rectify the disparity between superheroes and villians, offering a look into The Joker before he became the deranged character we know.

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The R-rated, fan-made film was directed by Alek Gearhart, who also co-wrote alongside Manuel Eduardo Ramirez on additional scenes. The idea behind the film spawned from Heath Ledger’s version in The Dark Knight, who often told random stories of how he acquired his scars. Although not officially completed, this rough cut has landed on YouTube for a limited time while the filmmakers smooth out the edges of what is already a worthwhile watch.

The film has a virtually unknown cast, featuring Dylan Hobbs as Cyrus/The Joker, Katie H. Young as Harley, Manuel Eduardo Ramirez as Croc, Bob Buhrl as Oswald and Dominique Marsell as Riddles. Apart from a few instances of underwhelming performances from a few actors with bit parts, the cast gels quite well, none more so than between Cyrus and Harley.

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The title alone sold me. Although I had my doubts, having pictured awkward character relationships and acting, the film far exceeded any expectations. On a budget of just over $3000 (apart from props and tools already at their disposal), the team ‘pulled a rabbit out the hat’ with this feature. [Makes Sharknado seem so much worse than it already is]. This is just the first of 3 in a proposed trilogy, which focuses primarily on The Joker, while introducing backstories to many of Gotham’s villians.

Since the rights aren’t owned, the project is run as a non-profit. The team do, however, require some assistance for the planned attractions. “To help make this a trilogy of hard edge Gotham street films” click one, or both, of the following to show your support: Kickstarter or Indiegogo.

You can catch the rough cut while it’s still available online:

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