Pathogen (2006)

Pathogen2006filmHaginNevermind this being the internet, but I think that very few people have actually seen (or heard of) this movie so I kinda feel obligated to write a short introductory notice on what’s it all about. It will be really short, I promise. This is a zombie flick done by a 12yr old. There. I introduced it for you. Only this time, this “12yr old” thing isn’t some derogatory metaphor. It’s an actual fact. Emily Hagins wrote a script for Pathogen when she was ten years old. Two years later, production was complete. Fuck it, I remember what I was doing when I was that age and it wasn’t as nearly sophisticated or ambitious as that. Oh, I wanted to make my own movies (I think that every kid of my generation did) but I didn’t have any clue about how to make that sort of thing happen. Anyway, being done by a 12yr old Pathogen is…well…extremely childish. But we’re not done by saying that. Fact of it being childish raises some interesting questions.


Suffice it to say that plot, structure and narrative device are more or less the same as those in expensive, professional productions. Hagins learned a lot by watching her predecessors. Where they differ is, of course, quality of production where professional are clearly ahead (due to lack of funds and technical skills Hagins cannot compete at this level). But, essentially pointless storyline of Pathogen isn’t something that we’re unaccustomed to – especially within genre fiction – so we’re bound to ask ourselves this question: When dealing with genre fiction are we more inclined to value style over substance? In general (and Box Office numbers keep telling us that tale) it seems that we’re more inclined to value the latter.


If Pathogen was made by, let’s say James Cameron, with a budget of shitload o’ money it would have become international hit (especially in the context of zombie-revival that we’re witnessing for the last couple of years). On the other hand, if someone back then invested shitload of money just in distribution of Pathogen (leaving style and technicalities alone) effect wouldn’t be as grand. Pathogen behaves similarly to B-SF-flicks of the ‘50s and because of that in 2014 it has more problems than actual movies from the ‘50s. Movies like Creature from the Black Lagoon possess the aura of authenticity which then, depending on the viewer, create feelings of nostalgia, retro-appreciation, archeological/archival interest etc. Pathogen, being derivative, cannot produce these effects. Substance aside (that’s the story for another time), problems of Pathogen’s style are evident but essential for the problem of moviemaking (or movies as an Art in general).

Pathogen could have had more meaningful substance (there are many independent movies which, being done with no-budget, look a lot like Pathogen yet deal with more important matters) yet I doubt it would help any because its style is too distracting. So the question that Pathogen exemplifies well is – can there be Art without an art? I’m not sure that it can. Pathogen is nothing more than a student’s work. A work of very young student which is remarkable by itself but that’s all there is to that.

Produced by Emily Hagins
Written by Emily Hagins
Starring Rose Kent-McGlew, Alec Herskowitz, Tiger Darrow
Music by Cue, Dan Dyer
Cinematography Emily Hagins
Edited by Emily Hagins
Cheesy Nuggets Production

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