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Hell Ride

Posted by Josh Samford On November - 1 - 2008
The Plot: This is the story of three men, The Gent (Michael Madsen), Pistolero (Larry Bishop) and Commanche (Eric Balfour). All members of a bike gang called The Victors. Commanche is the newest member, but has quickly made his way up the ranks to stand right next to Pistolero, the leader. Things are calm in their lives, as it’s all about booze, bikes and plenty of booty – but things change shortly when the opposing gang The Six-Six-Six’ers re-form and a certain bit of unfinished business comes back to haunt all three heads of The Victors. Something having to do with 1979, and a beautiful woman who’s life was cut down.



The Review: From the look of things, you’re about to read one of the few overtly positive reviews for Hell Ride out there. This is something that has come as a shock to me. After watching Hell Ride for the first time, I sprang up from my seat and hit the IMDB to learn as much about the film as I possibly could – only to stumble upon a wealth of anger from nearly ever user review I read. Where does this anger come from? Well, Hell Ride is a love it or hate it kind of film I suppose. Your enjoyment of the film is all relative to how forgiving a viewer you are as well as the circumstances involving your watching the film. I learned this the hard way when trying to watch the movie with my brother, who is far from a film geek himself. Hell Ride is a dialogue heavy film, and works in much the same style as Quentin Tarantino’s recent work – which is to say it is pretty over the top in that old “exploitation” film manner, but instead of scenes being punctuated with a line or two of “cool” dialogue like in the old days; every word out of every character’s mouth is either equally over the top and hip or an elongated monologue of hip dialogue. Around the time Pistolero’s spy girlfriend gives her monolauge to him about how he needs to, well, “eff” her (hey man, I try to keep it clean as a manner of professionalism) because he’ll never be able to get it up again once he hears the news – my brother had heard enough. He begged me to find something else to watch. His reason? The dialogue sounds like a theatrical play rather than something you would expect to hear real people say. This is a valid criticism, and unfortunately my brother wasn’t that eloquent with his opinion – but that was his point. He’s right in the fact that Hell Ride sounds nothing like anything you would hear in real life but I also think this is where the film is going to find its audience. Hell Ride is a movie’s movie and although it infuses some things from older exploitation classics, it is an entirely new and different kind of beast. A beast that owes a great debt to the vision of Tarantino and his Kill Bill films. My brother, who is far from a film expert of any sort even asked within the opening minutes of the film if it was actually directed by Tarantino – no doubt due to the black and white crisp photography of the opening as well as the witty banter between characters. It isn’t exactly a good thing when your film is so closely similar to another director’s particular style – but much like all of the shortcomings within Hell Ride your ability to forgive this will determine just how much you are able to enjoy the film.

So, why do I forgive these previously mentioned shortcomings? Well, sometimes a film just has to entertain. Sometimes it isn’t all about intense character motivation, learning a moral lesson or being trapped in a three dimensional drama. Sometimes cinema needs a hero, characters who keep to themselves, show us only enough to have us believe in them and we are rewarded with supermen and women who may be flawed but have little to no weakness. Pistolero, Commanche and The Gent are just those kind of heroes. Michael Madsen (The Gent), who I think most would agree is already one of the coolest cats in Hollywood shows the audience that he still has that attitude and rue smile that made him the wildest villain in Reservoir Dogs. Eric Balfour (Comanche) who is unfortunately miscast as far as age goes. The film is established as taking place in 2008 when it is shown that St. Louis died in this year, and yet Comanche is shown as a child in 1976 as being roughly the age of eleven or twelve. Even if he was only eight in these flashbacks, that still makes him fourty years old – which Balfour most certainly is not. However, all this does is make the audience count the years away in their head as I just did in this review and does not count against Balfour’s performance as he is great in the film. Balfour comes into the film having a career mostly made in Television, with his most noteworthy performance coming in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. Balfour, as the new kid on the block with this particular style of film could have been in a lot of trouble, but he seems to take to the role with enthusiasm and is soon chewing scenery right along with all of the other huge roles in the film. Last of the three to mention, but certainly not least is Pistolero (director Larry Bishop). Bishop seems to be getting a lot of flak for casting himself in the lead role here, but I personally am so glad that he did. I seriously don’t see how anyone could look at his character here and not think “wow, that dude is one of the baddest looking guys on the planet”. With his jet black hair, grizzled facial scruff and pitch black sunglasses that block out all emotions aside from his grimace or his smile – Bishop is one of the best things about the film. He delivers his lines with true belief in the words regardless of how over the top they may be. There are so many throwing around the accusation that Bishop wrote the film as a stroking of the ego, but this no doubt comes from the shock so many viewers have with the way the film deals with its sexuality. I warn casual viewers that there’s a decent bit of nudity here, as well as a quick foursome scene with Larry and a few amazingly beautiful girls. However, the scene is not out of place with the rest of the film and if you’re sitting on the sidelines saying “Biker chicks really ain’t that hot man!” then please hit yourself with a brick. Is there any part of Hell Ride that feels like actual events? Of course not. However, The Gent, Pistolero and Comanche all live in a world where women are numerous and absolutely gorgeous. This is established with scenes such as this and integral for the advancement of the plot, showing how important women are to this lifestyle and how characters like The Gent were sucked into it and how those characters are to react to Booty not being as plentiful when constant war is erupting around them. Not to mention, it’s just pretty friggin’ cool to lay down with that many chicks at once I must say.

Hell Ride isn’t going to be for everyone, it really isn’t and that is painfully obvious at this point. However, I have faith that the film is here to stay and is finding its main audience even now. Although Bishop might have been trying pretty hard with this effort and it could have been toned down just a bit, I do enjoy his outlandish dialogue and I loved this crazy movie. I wouldn’t recommend watching it with anyone other than true film geeks, and do take my words of warning with you. If you’re up for it, this one should be a blast – if you’re not you’ll simply think it goes too far. Expect lots of nudity, a good bit of blood, some insane dialogue and a good time. I’ve had a really great time watching Hell Ride and just hope to find more fans out there of the film.


Girls Rebel Force of Competitive Swimmers, The

Posted by Josh Samford On October - 29 - 2008
The Plot: Aki is the new girl in school, where the womens swim team is one of the most prized establishments. Aki is having a rough go of things, and her mysterious past confuses most everyone around her. However, Sayaka finds the girls intriguing and sets out to get her to join the swim team so that she can compete with them in the competition that is just a few short days away. However, things take a turn for the dreadful after everyone in school is given a vaccination shot that just so happens to turn them into zombies! The only ones not affected are members of the swim team and those who have recently been in the pool. Now it’s up to Aki and the swim team to find the person responsible for this zombie invasion and save the entire school!




The Review: Japan has been a burgeoning wealth for the underground splatter scene for quite some time, but has really been making headlines recently with many titles that have been grabbing gorehounds by the ear. The Machine Girl, Meatball Machine and many other sleazier titles. The Girls Rebel Force of Competitive Swimmers (from now on, referred to as: Rebel Force) is just another in that long line of films putting cheap gore back in the spotlight. Unlike the previously mentioned films however, Rebel Force is a V-Cinema (films made purely for the Japanese video market, usually pure exploitation and often not all that good) pure bred. No outside producers stepping in, no artistic pretensions: this is a cartoonish gore flick about schoolgirls who get naked a lot and battle evil demons. There’s definitely a level of style to the film, no doubt about that, but the intentions are completely in the forefront from the very beginning and no matter how you scratch it; Rebel Force is only here to deliver a lot of what you want and then make off like a bandit in the night. There are a lot of body parts flying around, arterial spray gushing like fountains, high school girls who are naked more often than clothed and a plot that makes less and less sense as the movie carries along. Let’s just say, at this point you know what you’re getting into. I guess the only fair way to judge this film is to say: did it exceed genre limitations? Was it bloody enough? Yes, and then some. Were the chicks hot enough? Ahhh, yes and no in some cases. Was it entertaining? Yes, it was but there’s a certain amount of intelligence you have to leave at the door to get full satisfaction out of it.

The acting within Rebel Force is simply awful. You know, it’s not all that often you can notice these sort of things when you’re watching a movie with subtitles – but you know the performances have to be on a completely new level of bad whenever people who don’t even speak the language can see how bad you’re doing. It’s either that Asian operatic style of comedy you often see (mostly in Hong Kong comedies, where crossing your eyes or a man dressed as an ugly woman with a mole is considered top tier humor), but taken to a new degree of over the top drama – or these guys are familiar with Lloyd Kauffman’s work. Either which way, no one really equits themselves looking like great thespians here. That’s not enough to merit the quality of the film though is it? After all, those of you reading this probably don’t speak the language anyway so you’re only tortured by facial expressions. If you want to judge this like it’s a real movie (which I’m not too sure of what exactly to classify a flick like Rebel Force as) then the scripting has to be the largest bankruptcy of the film. Such lazy writing really shouldn’t be tolerated, but with zany non-narratives such as this you can’t help but smile. I believe there are around three Deus Ex Machina’s in the finale to Girls Rebel Force, and not a-one of them has any kind of set-up throughout the entire hour that came before them. I don’t know for sure, but I would like to think that maybe this insane wild ride is based upon a Manga – but I can’t say with certainty. It would be the best excuse for having so many twists and turns from out of nowhere, but honestly, that’s not much of an excuse. Rebel Force is simply less about making sense and more about delivering an energetic gore filled T&A show with an impossibly awesome title. Although fitting all of that on a marquee would probably prove to be more difficult than it’s worth, so I guess it’s a good thing we’re talking straight to video fluff here.

In the end, if you’ve been around the block even one time and you’ve experienced enough of the Japanese cheapies you’ll know what to expect from this film – however, I enjoy the fact that it reaches farther and tries to place itself so far and out of range of any normalcy that it becomes a true spectacle. In a world with films like Machine Girl, Meatball Machine, Fudoh and various other ‘out-there’ Japanese exploitation flicks, it does solidify itself in that “real life manga” style that the other films also seem to have – but it doesn’t excel past that. The Girls Rebel Force of Competitive Swimmers will ultimately be a film that entertains a lot, but you’re not going to walk away with anything all too new. I may kick myself in the morning, but I am giving it a four out of five. Pretty crazy, considering how shallow it may be – but for the select demographic who aren’t looking for a whole lot more than boobs, gore and plenty of craziness this will certainly fill that hole in your heart. If you can get it, it’s certainly worth it for that “party” flavor or if you’re just looking for a good time with a b-movie.

Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer

Posted by Josh Samford On October - 18 - 2008
The Plot: Jack Brooks is a man with a lot on his mind. His whole life it seems he has been fighting everyone around him. With a temper that sends him over the edge into fury over the most mundane of annoyances, Jack has a hard time making a lot of friends. He’s lucky that he’s been able to hang on to his beautiful girlfriend, even though he’s pretty sure he hates her. Where does this anger stem from? Monsters. As a child, Jack’s entire family was whiped out in front of his very eyes by a hairy monster beast in the woods. No one ever believed Jack’s story, so he ultimately just kept it to himself. After all these years though, that secret is dying to come out. When Jack’s professor needs a drain unclogged at his house, Jack is happy to oblige. He shows up, snakes the pipes – but unleashes something more than just a little sewage. Buried in the back yard is a secret, an unholy evil that just so happens to be resting next to one of those pipes and it isn’t long before that evil is unleashing itself on the world around Jack.




The Review: Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer kind of crept up on all of us I think. It did for me at least, having just read about it for the first time this past month in Fangoria and then reading praise from my friend Mike Bracken – I knew this one had the promise of being a real classic. The horror-comedy is a tricky genre to master, since comedy in itself is one of the most subjective areas to tackle already. What makes one audience laugh might not appeal to another. In recent years a lot of horror-comedies have breaken with tradition and create new entities within the genre. We’ve seen films that can appeal to the horror fanbase and include them in on the happenings, as with Shaun of the Dead. Another approach is to take things to their silliest points and try to deliver chuckles while remaining within genre context, as with Dead & Breakfast which audiences either reacted very positive or very negative to. Then you’ve got the complete smudges on the face of all that is funny or scary with the entire Horror-Spoof genre created with the Scary Movie series. Jack Brooks however reaches back to the old days of horror comedy, when the comedy wasn’t so self-referential and actually asked its audience to believe in the characters and the crazy predicaments that surround them. I won’t stick my neck out here and now and say that Jack Brooks is the new Army of Darkness, Re-Animator or Dead Alive. However, it could very well be your next favorite horror flick if you’ll give it a chance and enjoy the witty and wild fun of it all – and take in all of the absolutely beautiful latex monster work on display. The film harkens back to the glory days of horror, but doesn’t sink into any mires that new horror fan/filmmakers seem to get wrought in.

Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer (JBMS) could be best described as a character driven horror/comedy with a lot more heart than budget. Horror fans are used to low budget affairs though, so don’t take that as a negative. JBMS however does provide some very slick looking visuals though and manages to escape the “cheap” feel that such films usually have. If anything could be said, the visual pastiche sometimes comes off a little bit like a made for TV (particularly the scifi channel) movie. What can you do though, it is what it is and the filmmakers worked with what was provided. Regardless of a massive infusion of style, JBMS remains wholly character centered and takes us through the world of Jack Brooks. The character, played with brilliance by Trevor Matthews, is an everyday kind of guy. A bit of loner who keeps to himself, and is easy to identify with. Matthews plays the character with such conviction, when he gets angry it is both hilarious and even a slight bit unnerving due to how real his character feels. He’s a man seemingly ready to snap at just about anything, and he’s so much fun because you never know what is going to put him over the edge or how he will react to any given situation. He has no super powers, but his anger and willpower make him more than just a simple man. He isn’t the one-liner spewing, full of self confidence Ash from the Evil Dead films. If Ash is the Arnold Schwarzenegger of horror/comedy, then Jack Brooks could be seen as a Bruce Willis type of character. Kind of some crazy comparisons, I know, but they do fit the roles accordingly if you ask me. The rest of the cast all equit themselves very well in their roles, with no real amateur performances to speak of. Robert Englund as Prof. Crowley is an absolute joy, and it’s great to see him really tap into some potential in a more comedic role and something other than a dark Freddy Krueger-esque character. He really hits one out of the ballpark as the exceptionally nice Crowley, who resembles a lot of the same qualities Englund exudes in his off screen appearances. If you’ve ever seen the man interviewed outside of a Freddy costume, he really seems like a genuinely nice and caring person and the Crowley character shows a lot of that.

The film isn’t perfect, it is just the introduction for the Jack Brooks character (a sequel is now being planned) after all. The budget seems to restrain the film in many ways, especially after hearing what the director has had to say in recent interviews – and I really can’t wait to see what else might come from these filmmakers. The Jack Brooks series could turn out to be something really special, can’t help but want to recommend it for other horror geeks. You won’t want to miss this one, it’s just too much silly fun to pass over.

 

Midnight Meat Train, The

Posted by Josh Samford On October - 16 - 2008
The Plot: Our film begins with a man waking up on a subway train, he wanders down the aisle before slipping in a massive pool of blood. He gets back to his feet and comes to the next car – to find a mountain of a man, using a sledgehammer to bash in the heads of the passengers. We cut to Leon Kauffman (Bradley Cooper) who is a struggling photographer in the big city just looking for his break. He takes photos in the seedier sides of town and wants to really show off the grimier aspects of our society. When he is given the opportunity to show some of his work to the brilliant Susan Hoff (Brooke Shields) he jumps at it, but is slightly rejected when Susan tells him he doesn’t take his work far enough. She wants to see real danger, real confrontation. Leon is hurt, but realizes she may very well be right. Armed with this knowledge, he leaves home one night at 2am and walks down to the subway. There he finds a group of hoodlums attempting to rob a young model, he scares them off by pointing out the subway security camera and bids the model fairwell. He captures a few more shots as she boards the train and a barrel chested man holds the door open for her. The next day, as Leon eats at the diner his girlfriend works at – he finds an article in the newspaper about that very same model coming up missing. He goes to the police with his pictures of the young thugs, but to no use as the police feel there are more important matters at hand. Leon now begins his search to find out what happened to this model, and also why so many people are coming up missing on the subway.




The Review: Hollywood doesn’t exactly have the most stellar track record with their treatment of smaller horror films, they also don’t have the greatest of results when great filmmakers from the East make the travel over to the states. Put the two things together and what do you get? Well, I can tell you nothing that is detrimental to the filmmakers or the quality of this particular film. Unfortunately, the fine (read: moronic) people over at Lions Gate who dumped the film in a little over 100 low end theaters for a quick release before shuffeling it off to what they consider a slow death in the DVD market. However, controversy more often than not brethes life into any and all projects – so I won’t be surprised to see the film do well on the DVD market. Especially after Barker came out in defense of the project and completely bashed Lions Gate and the people responsible for holding the film back, and tried to start an e-mail campaign to get the film it’s true proper theatrical release. It’s unfortunate that they weren’t successful, as I do think The Midnight Meat Train had everything in it to make money and holds a lot of what the horror market could use right now. That is, a good dose of originality and a decent amount of fun and not just the same “torture porn” or “retro horror” that seems to be all the rage these days. The Midnight Meat Train is far from a classic on the same level as a Friday the 13th or Halloween, but if you’re looking for some good old fashioned American horror written by an Englishman and directed my a tremendous Japanese director – The Midnight Meat Train really does deliver.

The Midnight Meat Train is a film that takes horror seriously, something that seems sorely lacking in today’s climate as everyone seems to one-up each other in sheer entertainment factors. Barker’s bloody tale is brought to life here under the watchful eye of Kitamura, who really branches out into new territory with this film and creates something unlike anything I have seen from his work previously. Not in a bad way either, like when John Woo made Hard Target. Kitamura still very much shows an affection for style and gritty natural looking urban environments, but is simply relocated to North America for this particular trip. Although his love affair for CGI and technology in his films is only found here in light degrees (anyone complaining about too much CGI here is just off their rocker), if you’re familiar with his work this still feels like a Kitamura film. Most especially when it comes to the bloodshed, because Kitamura is all about delivering pints and pints of the red stuff here. The mallet, swung by the ever-massive Vinnie Jones, completely destroys everything. Body parts in the way? No problem. A human head in the way? He’ll just smash that off the body and fifteen feet down the aisle with one quick swing! It isn’t the most realistic physics you’ll ever see, but doesn’t it just sound like a lot of fun? The previously mentioned Vinnie Jones is of course fantastic in his role, something I’m growing to expect from Jones. The guy knows how to deliver a character, even when having almost no dialogue in the film whatsoever. Bradley Cooper in the lead role equits himself very well also, giving the project a lot of life and playing his character as a tougher everyman. I was expecting more of an artistic wimp of sorts after reading a summary, but Cooper plays the character straight up and allows the audience to respect him a little easier. Really, the performances were all done so well it’s almost not even neccesary to mention them. When you see the actors, you believe in them and you believe in their goals. Kitamura did a great job working with the crew and getting the film that should have been made, made. Something not always easy for someone foreign to the market. As a fan of Versus, Alive, Heat After Dark and Aragami – I’m proud to see him come to Hollywood and make a very dark and atmospheric horror film with seemingly little limitations put on his abilities; even if the distributers did ultimately screw the film over. Kitamura excused himself courageously and I think The Midnight Meat Train speaks for itself.

The Midnight Meat Train is likely to find a home in the DVD market and I hope to hear about it for a long time. It’s a bloody trip through the underbelly of the inner city, and although the conclusion is likely to confuse or possibly distance some in the audience – I think it is part of what makes the film special. The willingness to go where you wouldn’t expect. The horror community can always use a little more originality, that’s for sure. I know I had a great time with it and hope that I won’t be alone in my enjoyment. I give the film a solid four out of five, do check it out!

House on the Edge of the Park

Posted by Josh Samford On October - 13 - 2008
Plot Outline: Alex is a psychopath who gets his kicks from raping women and sadistically torturing people. Like any good lunatic though, Alex likes to keep up a steady job. He and his best friend Ricky both work as mechanics in a autoshop where they spend their days waiting to go out at night and ‘boogie’! As they are gearing up for a night on the town though, a car with two wealthy young people pull up. The young man driving the car puts some pressure on Alex to help him get his car fixed, so Ricky steps in and takes care of the problem. The young driver fills us in that he is heading to a small ‘get together’ at a close friend’s house, so Alex being the gentleman he is, invites both himself and Ricky to tag along. Alex is eyeing the young girl in the car, and Ricky is almost borderline retarded. So they show up at the party, and the young girl from the car keeps teasing Alex sexually until he gets furious. The group taunts Ricky, making him dance for them (the man just can’t dance) and eventually humiliating him at poker. Alex does what he does best, he pulls out a razor blade and forces everyone to deal with his insanity. Now these kids are going to have to live through a night they’ll never forget.


  


The Review: Here at Varied Celluloid, I have a very scientific way of choosing which films I want to review. I just review what I feel like watching. So for anyone who might be wondering why I would review House on the Edge of the Park before delving into the early king of the home invasion films, Last House on the Left, it’s based on the sole reason that I feel House on the Edge of the Park is a bit easier to watch. I don’t like starting out comparing the two films because that’s just what you expect every reviewer to do. Yes, this film does have the same star as Last House and he plays essentially the same role, and yes the plots are even highly similar when compared to one another but don’t let that detract you from viewing the film because you may actually be shocked into enjoying this film more than Craven’s picture. A very boisterous comment indeed, who am I to say such a thing? I’m nobody, it’s just an opinion. I too enjoy Last House to a great degree, but it’s hardly the type that could ever register as flawless. Not in anyone’s book. House on the Edge of the Park brings a lot of the things to the table that Craven had already pounded out in his film, but Deodato brings a completely different approach to the Home Invasion film. He delivers a film with a surprisingly minimal amount of gore and is as sleazy and disturbing as you would expect. He doesn’t just deliver some flick to play at the drive-in, he also includes a reverse morality play that is bound to mess with the head’s of anyone who might be watching the film for anything more than just seeing the sleaze played out on the screen. If you came for a film that will make your skin crawl, no doubt about it you may find it in this film, but sandwiched in between all of this is some genuine filmmaking talent. It could be all in my head, just trying to legitimize my love for exploitation cinema, but if so don’t let me know about it. Ruggero Deodato may not make it into any of those famous books about foreign cinema. Robert Maltin and Roger Ebert may never sing of his glory, but he’ll always have a place in the hart of cult cinema fans. Well, select fans. There wasn’t really a visual pattern between his different films, Cannibal Holocaust seemed to have been his most technically brilliant film, but unlike the majority of other similar directors in Italy at the time, he knew how to tell a story and he knew how to challenge his audience. Not just deliver buckets of pointless gore.

What drew me to the film on my first viewing wasn’t just the great (for an exploitation film of course) performances given by Hess and John Morghen, although both lived up to their reputations with the film, it was the morality tale in the film. My first reaction was negative, because we are literally given no one to root for in the film because every person is sickening. The people whom we are expected to grow sympathetic for, the victims, are nothing more than spoiled kids who make fun of our lower class goons. From the very beginning they are antagonistic and patronizing to these guys and the audience knows what will eventually happen. It’s like slapping a bull in the face, at first when Hess begins taking revenge on these saps it doesn’t seem too ridiculous to view him as the actual hero of the film. The first scene in the film shows him raping a woman after pulling her over, but this case is different. These people actually deserve a good slap, but then things start getting sadistic and demeaning and even though we don’t care for these spoiled brats, we still care that another human being could treat someone like this. The film is always moving, with the audience always unsure of their own personal attachments to the characters. Who is the ‘good’ one and who is the ‘bad’? I normally wouldn’t care for such relative morality, but I don’t think Deodato was getting at that. There is some humanity in some of these characters, and you might be shocked by the end of the film to see who is the most genuinely decent. I’m not going to sit here preaching at you and try to convince you that there is some huge underlying statement being made in the film. That it is somehow deep or intellectual to enjoy the film, not at all. If you watch it and find such things, that’s just an added bonus. For what it is, House on the Edge of the Park is an amazing piece of cinematic exploitation. There aren’t any gruesome death scenes, but there are some moments where you can’t help but feel a little dirty for sitting through such a film. The never ending threats of rape, followed by actual rapings and immense brutality, I imagine might could make some viewers just a little more than disturbed while watching the film. The sexual violence never seems to stop throughout the film and if that is a problem for you, then it might be smart to just pass this one on by. Women are beaten, raped and exposed more times than I dare count. It’s an exploitation film though, it comes with the territory. You don’t watch a film like this to feel good about society, yet the nihilism portrayed here might be a bit too much for some of the less receptive audiences.

Now, as I said above the performances given in the film are great by exploitation standards. What I mean by that is you can’t judge this film in the same regards as you would a serious drama. The dialogue in the film is stilted, rigid, cheesy and bares little resemblance to anything you could see someone saying in real life but I’m only stating the obvious. It was probably relatively low budget, with a majority of the dialogue dubbed in later and had only few intentions in the eyes of the producers. There’s a big difference, and the only real way to judge the performances is how well they fit into everything. John Morghen probably gives the standout performance, he is so over the top that he ranges from annoying to hilarious. He keeps the film interesting in my opinion, and for the most part he manages himself well. The sequence in which the snobs have him dancing, and almost stripping, in front of them is just plain bad. Morghen should never be asked to dance in any film he is ever in, because it is a terrible thing to see. No offense to the man, I think he’s a brilliant actor in the realm of cult cinema, but his dance moves look like a small child after receiving electro shock therapy or perhaps a lobotomy. David Hess is complained about often that he is just repeating his role from Last House on the Left, and maybe that’s true but thankfully we don’t have a soundtrack contributed by him this time around. The man just looks rough, and he’s twice as intimidating. He hams it up a bit here, but he’s good at what he does. If we didn’t buy the violent persona the film would fail, but Hess puts up a great show. Whether it’s better than Krug from Last House on the Left or not is debatable, but it is at least on the same level. Rugerro Deodato may never be accused of being a flashy director, but he gets his point across. There are few moments in the film that leave you in awe because of artistic decoration, but he knows how to keep things moving and focused that’s for sure. He tells this nihilistic and bleak story without pulling any punches. No intentional humor that I can recall and no breaks away from the story. There are no bumbling cops searching for the teens (ala Last House on the Left) and there are no characters introduced in the story who don’t go through this catastrophic turn of events. The film is meant to hit you hard, fast and leave you dazed. If it achieves it’s goal is up to the viewer, but I wouldn’t be giving it such a high rating if it didn’t do so for me. The soundtrack for the film can be a little weak at moments, especially any time the lame disco breaks take place, but the haunting theme song works very well in the film. Audio maestro Riz Ortolani returns to the Deodato stable delivering a soundtrack that doesn’t quite reach the high standards of the ‘weird-but-good’ Cannibal Holicaust score, but definitely deserves it’s own mention in any review.

Let’s make no bones about it though, this is definitely a B-Movie. An exploitation film. You should know what to expect, if you don’t then god help you. It contains the usual things that you might hear average critics rail on but if you don’t mind hearing a story told in the most unconventional of methods and you don’t mind getting a little grit on yourself then take this one out for a spin. If it disturbs you, leaves you breathless or makes you want to slam your fists down on the dvd player in frustration that someone could be so sick; then the film is doing what it’s supposed to. Revulsion is the highest achievement a film like this should strive for. I’m giving it a four on my measly scale. It’s not a film that everyone can just pick up and fall in love with, but for that select niche of freaks and weirdoes (like myself) who actually seek films like this out you may find a new classic.



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Varied Celluloid is a film website intent on delivering views on movies from all genres. Started in 2003, the website has been steadfast in its goal and features a database of over 500 lengthy reviews. If you would like to contact us about writing for the website or sending screeners, please visit the about page located here.

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