Oct

posted by admin | October 20, 2014 | Uncategorized

It’s an age-old tale. A gaggle of young, attractive urbanites take a road trip through a desolate countryside and along the way meet some backwoods locals with interesting hobbies and then events transpire which lead to the deaths of most of those involved.

This one takes place in the Australian outback.

However “100 Bloody Acres” is so much more than its generic setup. It is a sharp, cleverly written splatter-comedy in the vein of “Dale and Tucker vs. Evil,” but bloodier.

The story wastes no time getting to some gore. Reg Morgan (Damon Herriman), half of the Morgan Brothers blood-and-bone fertilizer company, comes across the wreckage of a traffic accident. Reg hauls the dashboard-mangled body into the back of his truck, already filled with kangaroo road kill (this is Australia after all), and delivers the first severed limb gag of the movie.

After this brief opening segment, I knew I was in for a great ride. The camera didn’t shy away from carnage, and the comedy ranged from pitch-perfect black humor to silly slapstick.

Next the movie introduces Sophie (Anna McGahan), her boyfriend, James (Oliver Ackland) and their friend, Wes (Jamie Kristian). Sophie and Wes are having an affair and the unsuspecting James is thinking of proposing. Unfortunately for James, things are only going to get worse when they cross paths with a couple entrepreneurial brothers in the blood-and-bone business running low on their “special ingredient.”

As young travelers are wont, they stop mid-journey in the creepiest place they can find – usually a deserted gas station with dip-chewing yokels, or a kitschy roadside attraction with a seedy past – or, as in this case, a gravesite featuring a tribute to some locals whose bodies were “mysteriously” never recovered after a tragic accident.

Leaving the graveyard, their car breaks down and they catch a ride with the younger Morgan brother. Because who doesn’t want a ride from the twitchy, nervous stranger who almost certainly smells like hot death?

Reg chooses the attractive Sophie to ride up front with him, and packs the guys in the back with the concealed corpse. Sophie and Reg bond over Aussie oldie songs on the radio and a shared country background. In the back, Wes takes some acid and it doesn’t take long before they find the poorly hidden body of the motorist.

Things escalate quickly from here. Reg drives back to his farm, where he and his brother produce their extra special fertilizer, and we meet the hulking, sinister Morgan brother, Lindsay (Angus Sampson, who you may recognize from the “Insidious” movies). Lindsay, whose homicidal tendencies probably come from his parents choosing the name “Lindsay,” quickly establishes himself as the brother in charge.

They decide that instead of just using bodies they’ve lucked into on the side of the road, it’s time to start shoring up their supply of human-based fertilizer with some fresher victims.

Losing no time, they dangle the driver upside down into the meat grinder. At the last moment Reg realizes the man is still alive and tries to save him, succeeding in rescuing his legs. Well, it’s the thought that counts.

Meanwhile Wes, the acid he took just starting to kick in, manages to free himself with a knife he had stowed in his pocket. He takes off and Lindsay chases after him.

Sophie takes the opportunity to try seducing the clearly infatuated Reg. The plan backfires and Reg storms off, but not before cluing James in that Sophie’s been sleeping with Wes. James, bound, chained, and next in line to be turned into pulpy red soup, decides that now is definitely the time to talk about their relationship issues.

Elsewhere, during a short, entertaining sequence, Wes makes it to a nearby abandoned theme park before the drugs distract him and Lindsay catches up, knocking him out and throwing him in the trunk of his car. By the time they return, Reg has had a change of heart about the whole murder thing and switches allegiances, trying to help the people he originally brought home to kill.

A lot of the fun of the movie is in experiencing the ways it plays into and pushes against fan expectations, so I won’t reveal everything that happens next. It’s not nearly to the level of “Cabin in the Woods” in terms of genre satire, or for crazy twists ahead –

Don’t expect it suddenly turn supernatural or have the army show up and fireball the place, in fact expect it to not stray too far from the usual body-count-rises third act that we all know and love– but fans of Joss Whedon’s horror-comedy masterpiece will find plenty to like here.

“100 Bloody Acres” is the type of film that at first glance is reminiscent of a lot of other movies, which some will dismiss as the same old, same old without bothering to peel off the layers and find the gem underneath. It takes its horror cues from well-worn tropes. Yes, there are meat grinders, hacked off limbs and gratuitous blood-sprays – so far so good, right?

Where the movie really shines is in building likable, if a bit off, characters – a relative rarity in a horror movie, and giving them smart, funny dialogue. This is a movie that warrants multiple viewings to catch subtle sight and word jokes that may have been missed the first time through.

Sophie is not the typical survivor girl, either. She’s tough, independent, and sexual without being trashy. Sorry, these are ninety-one boobs-free minutes. The run time is not without sex acts though, but unless your fetishes check some pretty niche boxes, it’s nothing sexy.

And by the end, Reg seems like more of the good-guy-to-go-grab-a-drink-with type then a creepy, probably-going-to-go-on-an-axe-murder-spree type he initially appears. Otherwise known as the American Psycho in reverse.

Although the humor gets pretty screwball in moments, it also delivers some effective horror. There are buckets and buckets of blood. And even with his ridiculous Amish-style beard, Lindsay is imposing as a villain.

Produced on a small budget, the movie still manages to look very good. Blood makeup and special effects by Wicked of Oz Studios are well done. The sets aren’t overly elaborate; most of the movie takes place on the Morgan Brothers’ farm, along with a handful of other locations.

Some of the humor is lost in translation if you’re not up on Aussie cultural references, but its occurrences are minimal and it’s a small distraction. There is no shortage of other opportunities to laugh.

Although, word to the wise, stick around after (or fast-forward) the credits. There’s an additional scene with a great riff on “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”

This is the debut film by sibling writer-directors Colin and Cameron Cairnes. Let’s hope “100 Bloody Acres” isn’t based on any real life brotherly experiences. But if their first effort is any indication of future films, well then, I wish these brothers a long and prolific career.

roadside attractions

  • Vaguely incestuous and cannibalistic locals with some vegetables to grow Down Under
  • Armed and nippy terriers
  • Very bad acid trips
  • Well-worn meat grinders
totals

9

blood

BLOOD

It’s all over the place by the end.

3

blood

BREASTS

One pretty girl stays fully clothed.

7

beast

BEASTS

The movie leans more heavily on laughs than screams, but there is some legitimate tension.

8.5 OVERALL
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Oct

The Video Dead
“The living dead are here, and they’re lusting for blood – yours!”

1987 – R – 90 Minutes – Scream! Factory
Starring Michael St. Michaels, Thaddeus Golas, Douglas Bell – Directed by Robert Scott

Remember when everyone use to nag at you when you would come home and plop yourself in front of the boob tube that “Television will kill ya!” It’s meant quite literal in The Video Dead, an interesting little zombie flick from the 80’s. This was back when not every zombie movie had to take place after a virus had spread and it’s now a post apocalyptic world, back when zombies moaned and shambled instead of hissing and walking at a fast pace. Ah, the good ol’ days. But enough of my old man gripes, let’s see what this movie has to deliver.

Speaking of deliver, two delivery men bring an alcoholic writer (is there any other kind?) a mysterious crate, with no COD! Remember those days? When you someone would send you something and you would have to pay for it when it arrived? Gee, thanks for sending me something that I now have to pay a fee on. Anyhoo, I wonder what could be inside? The suspense is killing me and apparently the writer can’t wait either, sense he bashes the thing open with a crowbar to reveal… a weathered ol’ analog TV. Oh. Great.

vd_2But there is something strange about this TV. For starters, only one station seems to come in and it apparently only plays one scene from a low budget zombie movie, but here’s the kicker; the zombies come to life and crawl out of the TV! You think 3D is the next big thing, well think again! Although, I think this is only a gimmick and won’t last long, since these zombies seem to kill whatever they come across.

Oops! Seems those delivery drivers made a mistake and need to pick the TV back up for the senders, who happen to be the subtly named the Institute for the Studies of the Occult. I wonder what they do there, how they get their funding and what you do with your degree once you graduate. Can we see that movie instead? No, instead we see the writer, strung up in birthday decorations, dead as a doornail. Aw, nobody came to his party, poor guy.

Three months goes by, which apparently is enough time to allow a home that is the scene of an unsolved murder to be sold and the new tenants are moving in. Well, their daughter Zoe is, since her parents are still overseas. Zoe is also majoring in aerobics, which doesn’t come back into the movie in any way. I’m not being sarcastic there either. It pops up during conversation once and that’s it. Anyway, it isn’t long before something in dirty, ripped clothing is dragging a leg, scuffling toward the house. Upon entering, much to her surprise, it’s her brother Jeff. Wait, why was he dragging his leg? He doesn’t for the rest of the movie. Did someone punch his leg and cause the muscle to tense up? I’m going to assume that’s what happened otherwise this serves no purpose, other than to make you believe it was a zombie.

vd_2Jeff. How would you describe Jeff? Well, he’s your average radical 80’s kid with spiked blonde hair, tattered clothing and has a chill attitude. The actor’s performance however… oh boy. Do you remember that kid from Troll 2, the one most known for his line delivery of, “They’re eating her! And now they’re going to eat me! OH MY GAAAAAAWD!” Yeah, he gives that guy a run for his money.

The next morning, a chubby man in a cowboy hat named Joshua Daniels, who could very well double for Joe Don Baker, arrives at the house asking Jeff about the TV. Jeff thinks nothing of it and dismisses Joshua, but shortly after, the seductress on the TV begins to call out for Jeff, luring him into the attic. Now, most people would think to themselves, “Hey, didn’t someone just come around asking about a mysterious TV?” But not Jeff. He decides to bring it into his room, the dolt. And to think this idiot is a total babe magnet. The next day (still wearing the same clothes he arrived in), his neighbor April comes by to introduce herself and tells him all about the murder that occurred in his new home (umm… aren’t realtors required by law to tell you if someone has been killed in your new home?). Jeff falls for her immediately, so much so that he even takes the heat for accidentally killing a dog she watches for some rich folk. Ladies, what has your man done for you today?

That night while toking on a doobie (that’s what the kids say, right?), the seductress comes out from the TV to tease Jeff into thinking he will get “some” and then disappears back into the TV to laugh and giggle at him. Jeff, doesn’t get the hint and desperately seeks out how to get in contact with her, but before he can score a six digit phone number, someone named the Garbage Man comes from behind and slashes her throat, revealing her true, hideous identity. Jeff’s line delivery here is flawlessly executed, a nonchalant, “There’s someone in the room with you… no.” I’ve seen more emotion come from Gillian Anderson’s lips in The X-Files. The Garbage Man tells Jeff about the creatures and to put the shiny side of a mirror up against the TV, since the zombies don’t like to see themselves. Believe it or not, but Jeff almost manages to screw this up. I wouldn’t trust this kid to put his underwear on right, if he wears any.

vd_4It seems like it was all for nothing, or perhaps just poorly written as zombies devour April’s father and the maid, along with a few neighbors… while having some fun about it. Actually, I shouldn’t say devour. They sorta choke their victims to death and you rarely see them eating anyone. April takes refuge with Jeff and Zoe as Joshua reemerges and I’m going to assume this time Jeff will listen. He tells them of the terrible creatures that come out from the TV and kill everyone they encounter… you know, stuff you already know. A new bit of information is offered, however. You see, these zombies don’t die like traditional zombies by destroying their brain. These zombies can be tricked into thinking they are regular folk and be convinced they’re dead. It’s the only way to stop them. As they continue to bicker about what to do with the zombies, April gets her useless arse kidnapped, so Joshua and Jeff wait until morning (gee, don’t make it a priority or anything) to rescue you her. Oh, great. Any elderly, chubby old man and a kid who probably needs reminders how to blink are your heroes.

There is actually some good back and forth between Joshua and Jeff, as they tease each other and we get a little insight into who they are and see their more human sides, as they search for April by shouting her name as loudly as possibly. This is when the movie kinda turns goofy, almost as if they were running out of ideas, but they knew they had about thirty more minutes to pad out and that’s how it feels. Not to say they don’t make it entertaining. Jeff and Joshua hunt down the zombies, setting all kinds of traps and what happens next for an expose of gore and violence, I didn’t see coming.

The zombies are now closing in on the home where Zoe is by her lonesome self and she’s left to do the only thing she can. Remember when Joshua was talking about treating them like regular folk? Sounded stupid, right? Well guess what? It actually works. The zombies die and Zoe’s parents come to visit her in the hospital since she is all traumatized shortly after and bring her a little gift so she have something to watch.

Talk about a tonal shift in movie. This movie went from semi-hilarious with a ridiculous premise to semi-serious and dark, although it never feels like you are watching a different movie. Another thing that seems to bog it down from time to time is the pacing, most noticeably in the third act. It feels like it’s starting to drag, but never reaches a point where it feels unwatchable. The Video Dead is quite the opposite of unwatchable, actually. I picked myself up the Scream! Factory two pack with TerrorVision (is that not the most awesome double feature?) and the Blu-ray transfer presented here looks crisp and sharp… unfortunately, it makes the makeup job on some of the zombies look even more laughable than they already had. Don’t get me wrong, some of them look great, like our main zombie that is all rotted. But then there are others, like the rock-a-billy looking zombie crossed with Ryan Stiles where his appearance is something to the effect of putting Elmer’s glue all over someone’s face and painting it blue. You can even see where they should have blended it. Luckily because of the silly premise of the movie, it’s not an issue and when the film tosses blood and guts your way (or a melting, exploding zombie head), you won’t even think twice about it. Too bad the same can’t be said about the music. That short loop will get stuck in your brain, you’ll wish it were your head that was melting. The music sounds like a two note version of the Halloween theme stuck on repeat. You keep expecting in to change, but it never does. All the flaws are forgivable, since it’s low budget and the thing had to be shot on weekends whenever the cast and crew could find time off from their day jobs.

The Video Dead
While it’s not the finest example of a zombie film, it has enough cheese to keep you entertained. It’s one of those so-bad-it’s-good type of flicks and I don’t mean that in an ironic sense. There are quite a few things in the bad that make this an absurd film that you can enjoy. While it’s not quite up to Troll 2’s high standards, I would certainly put it up there. I first discovered this little gem back on VHS when I was in highschool that an ex-girlfriend just so happened to have and I’ve watched it from time to time again ever since. Thankfully, it has found it’s way to Blu-ray and is much more available. If you’re looking for something to treat yourself with and have a good time, then tune in for The Video Dead!

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • TV will rot your brain or zombies will crawl out of it and kill you.
  • Jeff and Zoe, this fall on Disney Channel.
  • Joe Don Baker’s long lost brother, Joshua.
  • Dead dog walking.
  • Zombie hunters.
  • Um, I think your soundtrack is skipping.
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

The zombie classics eating limbs and guts, melting heads. S’all good.

2

blood

BREASTS

If this film were missing one thing, it’s this.

6

beast

BEASTS

Unfortunately, these zombies aren’t much of threat as long as you aren’t stupid.

5 OVERALL
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Sep

Rats
“Mutants of a nuclear disaster.”

1984 – Unrated – 97 Minutes – Blue Underground
Starring Ottaviano Dell’Acqua, Geretta Geretta, Massimo Vanni – Directed by Bruno Mattei (as Vincent Dawn)

I feel like rodents always get a bad rap, especially rats. They’re always seen as the filthy, diseased sewer dwelling creatures that infest and devour everything in sight, yet they are cute little animals that are pretty clean and actually quite smart. But, I suppose it’s easier to hate and fear something than it is to understand and love it, especially in horror films.

Rats not only take the focus of the 1984 Bruno Mattei film, a blend of The Road Warrior and Night of the Living Dead, but it takes the title as well. That’s how potent these furry little critters were. You could just slap their name right on your poster in big, bold font and instantly disgust your audience. It does have a subtitle, Night of Terror, but I would say it’s more along the lines of Night of the Misunderstood, Cute Animals. Probably not as titillating as the filmmakers wanted, but watch the picture and you will see what I mean.

Just a heads up, this is a film made in Italy in the early 80’s, so you’re gonna see a lot of animal cruelty.

It’s the not too distant future, an opening text crawl fills us in on what’s happening, where mankind is and how we got there:

rts_2“In the Christian year, 2015, the insensitivity of man finally triumphs and hundreds of atomic bombs devastate all five continents. Terrified by the slaughter and destruction the few survivors of the disaster seek refuge under the ground… From that moment begins the era that will come to be called “After the Bomb”, the period of the second human race… A century later several men, dissatisfied with the system imposed on them by the new humanity, choose to revolt and return to live on the surface of the Earth as their ancestors did… So, yet another human race begins, that of the new primitives… These two communities have no contact for a long period. The people still living below ground are sophisticated and despise the primitives, regarding them as savages… This story begins on the surface of the Earth in the year 255 A.B. (After the bomb)…”

Wow! Never mind some of the inaccuracies and punctuation errors in there, but that certainly is a lot of information and backstory in just the opening text. Of course, none of it really matters and the only thing you need to know is that it’s the post-apocalyptic future and people roam in gangs looking for food, which could have been established without the text, since that seemed to be the plot of every post-apocalyptic movie of the 80’s. But, nice to know they put all that thought into it, which is more than you can say for most of those films. I also love that “After the bomb” is put in parentheses at the end, like the beginning of that text crawl was so long ago and they don’t trust you to remember it.

As bopping pop/rock music plays (that I swear has been used in other Bruno Mattei films), a group of these “primitives” that look relatively well dressed, with outfits ranging from a leather biker uniform, goth, civil war and various military garbs, find an establishment to investigate. The leader of the biker gang, Kurt (basically he’s MacReady sans the silly hat), makes the decision that the group will search this hotel… or whatever it is… for some food and when finding some precooked pasta and sugar (both of which weren’t rotted), they dump it all over each other in a fit of happiness. A girl from the gang, Chocolate, gets covered in flour and mistaking racially insensitive for comedy she dances around saying, “Look at me, I’m white! I’m as white as all of you!” Seems like the most rational thing to do in a world where food is extremely scarce. During this odd celebration, they find a body that looks like it was chewed up and mutilated. They all scream and terror, staring at it, which is odd considering you think given their living situation, they have probably seen dozens of dead bodies just on the way there.

Let’s talk about this “gang” for a second. Aside from Kurt, they are all named after whatever characteristic they can visually be identified by. Like a person without any common sense would name random strangers in a crowd to keep track of who’s who. Duke is the rebellious one in like a civil war uniform, Video is called that because of his knowledge in computers, Lilith and Lucifer are supposed to be the goth ones and the most potentially insulting one of them all is Chocolate… because she is a black woman. I would almost say it’s racist, but I don’t think Bruno Mattei quite understands what being racially tolerant is, or being sensitive to one’s sexuality or religious beliefs. Check out any of his other flicks, especially Robowar to see what I mean.

rts_3Maybe this new sanctuary isn’t so safe after all. Time to split up and investigate the place finding more bodies and dozens and dozens of rats, which seem pretty harmless… for now. The real kicker here is among their findings during their search is a plant nursery with fresh vegetables and a water purifier, which is perfect for the hippie of the group, Noah. So we have clean water, fresh veggies and edible food. Not bad for just stumbling into a place and searching for ten minutes. Oh and there is also a giant functioning computer with an ominous, pre-recorded message. In any case, this sounds dangerous, so they burn the bodies just in case they are also in a ripoff of John Carpenter’s The Thing.

As the gang settles in for the night, masses of rats begin to gather around and I have to say, it’s quite cute! You know what isn’t cute? Watching a hairy dude in a ponytail named Lucifer non discreetly plow Lilith under a sleeping bag with the whole gang watching, who were apparently annoyed by it. So why did they let this happen until one of the gang members, Taurus, throws a boot at them? The answer doesn’t and wouldn’t matter, but Kurt tells them to go someplace else. The porking continues and even Lilith grows tired of this and tells Lucifer she needs a break. Since his manhood was questioned, he storms off and happens upon some liquor to get drunk and act like a total buffoon.

With all these characters being alone and falling asleep, now is a perfect time for the rats to strike! They start coming through the water purification system and contaminating that and attacking Noah. Lucifer gets himself eaten, butt first, which is actually quite fitting for him and Lilith is devoured in her sleeping bag. As she screams, she wakes up the rest of the group who arm themselves with flamethrowers and shotguns and run off to investigate. After they find Lilith’s body, with a rat that climbs out of her mouth, Noah jumps from around from the corner, half eaten and screaming to high heaven. Kurt roasts the hippie to spare him or to torture him, since the poor guy runs around on fire until Duke, the rebel of the group, pumps a shotgun round into him. Good to know they look out for one another.

This place seems to be more trouble than it’s worth, so time to blow this popsicle stand! Well, they would except the rats have sabotaged their bikes! Yes, the rats knew that this was their only means of escape and have prevented them from leaving! This is all (somehow) Kurt’s fault… at least according to Duke, who now begins the rivalry shift in the movie. Duke challenges Kurt’s authority, but it’s nothing more than a weak pissing contest, as the group decides to do what they did in Night of the Living Dead and board themselves inside and barricade the place up nice and tight. Well, except for the one HUGE open window that one of girls, Diana, happens to be standing under as a stage hand dumps a box of rats all over her, who look scared and confused as she shrieks to the point of making your ears bleed. Chocolate informs everyone that without clean water for her wounds, Diana could die from infection. I don’t know how Chocolate knows that for sure, but it’s the closest thing we have to making this plot move along, so off to the basement to get to that purifier!

Kurt along with the rest of the men, minus Duke who stays behind to watch things, head down into the basement to get some water, however, the purifier is flooded with rats and Kurt’s flamethrower jams! To make matters worse, Duke refuses to open the door, just as dozens of rubber rats on a treadmill charge them, until Chocolate forces Duke to open the door, resulting in… well nothing really. Kurt just threatens him and kicks him in the nards, but then they all just start looking for a means to escape or shelter. I dunno, sometimes with all the stupid going on, it can be hard to keep track. Tensions run high as the group fights, er… scream and tip toe around rats and Duke takes one of the girl hostage and demands control of the group! Great, just what we needed at a time like this! Luckily, the idiot blows himself up with a grenade trying to blow up rats. Next time I have a rodent problem, I think I will try this method. Seems effective.

rts_4With Duke no longer causing any problems, the remaining members of the gang can focus on what they were originally doing: Running around and screaming while getting rats dumped on them, as the rats break down a barricaded door. Yes, rats manage to beat down an enforced door. Who knew? The gang dwindles down one at a time, just as mysterious men in gas masks and yellow hazmat suits appear and fumigate the streets. Who are they and what do they want? The answer will simply shock you… with laughter! Every minute of this film has boiled down to one of the most outlandish, preposterous ending of all time, because why the hell not?!

In the age when Italy was ripping off zombie movies left and right, at least this one substituted zombies with rats and put it in a post apocalyptic setting. Sure, most of the time the characters were just trudging around, doing stupid things because the script called for it or shrieking at the top of their lungs nonstop to the point where I wanted to punch the closest living thing to me, but Ratsdoes have a few things going for it. Like… um, give me a second to think of one… oh! Like when rats literally explode out of a guys stomach like an air cannon! That was awesome. Oh and before that, he stands up like a zombie, so all I could picture was all the rats inside him controlling him like a giant robot. Aside from that, the rats just nibble at people, so don’t expect your average Bruno Mattei gorefest. Speaking of the rats themselves, you may have noticed at some point that at times they look an awful lot like painted guinea pigs. Or that’s the rumor according to Bruno. I’m going to assume (if it were true) because painting guinea pigs was cheaper than buying rats, but who knows. All I know is I feel bad for the poor critters getting kicked around.

For a Bruno Mattei film, this one is pretty comprehensible instead of his usual nearly idiotic, impossible to follow films, but it still has an ensemble of some of the dumbest characters cinema has to offer. Everything uttered out of their stupid suck holes, every lame brain decision they make… why? Why would a person realistically or rationally do that? They wouldn’t. But that’s a Mattei flick for you. If you can’t write something to make sense, just make your characters dumber than a box of off brand vanilla wafers.

And you know, for the life of me, I can’t believe I haven’t noticed before, but after hearing this soundtrack I’m fairly certain Bruno Mattei didn’t know how to use the proper music at the right moments. Well, for the most part. The film does have a moody synth track that plays well and is kinda creepy, but that bopping drum and keyboard tune is out of place every time.

However, it’s all worth it to see that ending. I know you can power through all the stupid. You can watch these nimrods make the most nonsensical decisions and say the dumbest things. I promise you it will pay off. Hell I admit it. I like this movie a whole lot.

Rats
Well, I can at least say this; it’s one of Bruno Mattei’s more watchable films. So, there’s that. That’s a good thing.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • In the years 2000!
  • The cutest killer creatures of all time!
  • Step forward and be named by your stereotype.
  • Sleeping bag salsa!
  • Conveyer belt o’ rats.
  • To roast ‘em or walk right through ‘em? That is the question.
  • Guinea pigs or rats?
  • That ending though…
totals

6

blood

BLOOD

Mostly devoured flesh and a geyser of gut rats!

5

blood

BREASTS

Lilith goes full frontal and Lucifer shows off his lil’ devil.

2

beast

BEASTS

They are so cute!

4.3 OVERALL
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Sep

Sonno Profondo
“You wish you’d never woken up.”

2013 – Not Rated – 67 Minutes – Brink Vision
Starring Luciano Onetti, Daiana Garcia, Silvia Duhalde – Directed by Luciano Onetti

There seems to be a small resurgence of the giallo films lately, which in my book is a good thing. In between the dozens of found footage and superhero movies, it’s always nice to see something a little different. This is where Sonno Profondo comes in. When I heard about this flick and saw the trailer, I was pretty excited. I needed to get my hands on this movie and let me tell you… it was quite the experience. It wasn’t what I expected or at the time may not have seemed to be what I wanted and I mean that in the best way possible. I won’t go too much into detail in this review, because any little detail could ruin the fun or surprise the film has to offer, so let me see if I can tell you enough to get you interested.

sp_2The sights and sounds are quite an experience right from the start. An almost rustic, hyper piano/jazz mix gets you on your toes, which is fitting for all the oversaturated colors, as we see from a killer’s point of view (and of course he is wearing black leather gloves), obsessing over some photos of a woman that he is readying to kill and we are shortly introduced to through a rather erotic masturbation scene. It wouldn’t be a giallo without some erotic sex appeal. At least she’s going out with a bang as she is brutally murdered. Shortly after her butchering, the killer receives an anonymous phone call… seems someone knows what he did and the person on the other line is threatening to kill them! A killer that is going to kill the killer… you don’t see that too often and it does offer a good cat and mouse chase later at a hospital once the killer in the black leather gloves receives some photos of his crime and a key to a locker at said hospital. What secrets does this locker hold or is it merely a decoy? We soon find out once another gloved killer, this time with vinyl medical gloves, appears and attempts to murder the… murderer.

After barely escaping, the black gloved killer mixes a mean cocktail of blood, whiskey and morphine pills as an attempt to commit suicide? Maybe? I dunno. Shortly, flashbacks play out, revealing the connections between the victim, the killer and the other killer and the childhood drama that plagues them. You’ll keep guessing to that rocking soundtrack until their is resolution.

sp_3Very, very rarely does the flick switch outside of one of the killer’s POV, nor are the killers seen without gloves on. I would say this is a parody, but it’s not played that way and it works in favor of the narrative. At first I thought it was silly, even laughed to myself that we never switched out of their POV or saw them without gloves, but as the movie went on, I couldn’t imagine it working without doing that. I can’t stress enough how important all the visuals are in the movie, between the lighting, the oversaturated colors and so on.

Normally, I’m not one for all the fake dirt and scratches film look that seems to present on every low budget film since Grindhouse came out in 2007, but it not only works here, it also feels like it’s absolutely necessary to the look of the film and the look is very important to a giallo. Everything here is presented in oversaturated, bright and vibrant colors, intentionally giving the film a larger, louder than life quality, almost a comic book like quality, as greens, yellows and reds pop right off the screen. Every element in the movie, colors, lighting, the score (by the way, one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard in a film), everything is important and absolutely crucial to the overall picture. If one of these things were done wrong, I don’t think the film would have worked. I feel like I am going in circles here, but Sonno Profondo is a true treat to see and hear. Everything mixes together so perfectly.

sp_4Of course, in true giallo form, there is some weird imagery and creepy dolls hanging about (that for some reason are full of blood). Come to think of it, the whole look of the film is very 70’s, from the furniture, the types of telephones they use, house decours, wallpaper and cars they drive. I’m no expert, but I would go out on a limb to say that this is about as authentic as it can get, which is impressive considering this is a low budget, indie film. Or maybe Italy still looks like the 1970’s.

However, this is the kind of film your average movie goer isn’t going to enjoy. I would normally say a short runtime that barely runs over an hour could hurt a film, but Sonno Profondo tells its story in this time and doesn’t overstay its welcome. There isn’t much in the way of a narrative and I could see how some would find that the majority of the film is from POV (like the recent remake of Maniac), it may turn off some. It’s not loaded with nudity or gore, but this film wasn’t made for them. Hell, it may not have even been made for giallo fans, but you can say for sure it was made for director Luciano Onetti himself and I think that’s what a filmmaker should set out to do: Make the film YOU would want to see.

Sonno Profondo isn’t a spoof or an homage to the giallo genre… it is a giallo film. Well, you could consider it an homage, but I would go one step further. It’s not just the look or the tone that make it a giallo film, it’s the story (or maybe a lack of) and how the whole thing is shrouded in a mystery that will leave you guessing literally until the last minute and when everything is tied up at the end and revealed and doing so without hardly any dialogue, there is a great feeling, genuine joy, from solving the mystery and excitement to see everything come full circle.

Sonno Profondo
Perhaps I’m leaving out a lot of plot or not saying enough, but believe me when I say that Sonno Profondo is something that you must see to experience. It will all make sense and you may enjoy this little throwback to the great Italian murder mysteries.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Mom always said masturbation will kill ya.
  • Whose eyes are we looking through?
  • To kill a killer.
  • Morphine cocktail.
  • Raising kids can be hard.
totals

4

blood

BLOOD

Slashes, gashes and stabs spurting some thick, bright red blood.

4

blood

BREASTS

No nudity, but the film throws in some erotic sex appeal.

8

beast

BEASTS

Everyone in this film is a killer or a victim.

5.3 OVERALL
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Sep

It’s 1991, director Sam Raimi now has the approval for a third movie in The Evil Dead series. So how does he capitalize on the cult success of the previous two films? Change the name to Army of Darkness and make it a horror-comedy. Because that’s worked out for so many franchises before it! See any of the Nightmare on Elm Street sequels, if you don’t know what I mean. Now does that mean it’s a bad movie? No, absolutely not. This movie brought a lot of folks into the fold of The Chin, Sam Raimi, and the fact that practical effects and good acting will always beat out CGI.
The movie starts out with Bruce Campbell as Ash narrating his current situation. There’s really no need for the narration, as it’s pretty apparent what’s going on. However, Bruce Campbell narrating anything is epic. We find out a little back story and why Ash is in the situation he’s in, flashback style, though the cuts and bruises he receives later in the movie are on his face. That’s why the right side of his face is filmed in this scene, to hide actual cuts and bruises sustained during filming. Just like the last movie, Evil Dead 2, we get a quick recap with some scenes redone to save on time. Ash is sucked into the vortex and now we begin our medieval escapade.
Through that awesome narration we now know that the movie takes place in 1200 AD and our hero has landed smack dab in the middle of not only a war, but a cursed land befouled by the evil that came from the book. Talk about bad luck. Some camera play and exposition, we come to the first real action of the movie: Ash versus the Pit Witch (and her bloated friend). Even up to this point, with lines such as “Well hello, Mister Fancypants!” to his fellow captor Henry the Red, who leads the other guys, this could still work as a horror movie. However, the next particular scene, is where we get the tone for the rest of the film.
If you never knew that the director was a fan of The Three Stooges, you will, now. Ash’s fight with the Pit Witch, while somewhat violent, is packed with goofy angles, over the top screams, and comedic timing. Escaping said pit Ash proceeds to establish himself as the alpha dog amongst these people, giving us one of his most quoted lines ever. “This is my…BOOMSTICK!” as well as some helpful information about what said boomstick is made of, where it’s made, and how much it retails for. Say it with me, kids, “Shop smart. Shop S-Mart! Ya got that?!?” Why do I keep involving children saying lines from horror movies in my reviews?
After Ash gets the only rest and relaxation he’s gotten in the last 72 hours interrupted by a deadite witch and the plot, we now get some classic Raimi montage footage. And let’s add in a ‘Groovy.’ for good measure. With the magic words ‘Klatu verata nictu’ (See The Day The Earth Stood Still) in hand Ash begins his quest for the book, and a stuntman that can pull of that chin. A chase scene and a really wide camera shot later we come to what might be either the most hilarious or most disturbing scenes the dream team has ever put to celluloid. And they filmed a woman biting her own hand off, mind you.
Our hero finds himself in familiar surroundings as he locks himself inside a windmill in the woods to hide from the evil chasing him. Because it worked so well the last time he barricaded himself in a wood shack in the woods with evil chasing him. However, I’m pretty sure if some looming force of darkness was on my heels making that howling sound I’d suddenly develop the ability to swim up a mountain side. A smashed mirror leads us to some Stooges type comedy and miniature cannibalism. Which results in an eyeball poking through the flesh on Ash’s shoulder, complete with a muffled voice to let us know it’s alive. Told you it was disturbing. But it doesn’t stop there, folks, oh no.
The thing begins to grow. First into another head, then into another person from the waist up, then into another person entirely. And here, about the half way mark of the movie, we have our antagonist. Seems the writing team figured they couldn’t have a movie with a hero and no villain. More disturbing imagery! Ash shoots then dismembers his evil twin, in one of the darkest Raimi montages, ever, and proceeds to bury the remains, and the doubt that we’ll never see that character again. After receiving a warning about the book he quests for, The Chin presses on.
Can’t have a medieval movie without a medieval graveyard filled with gothic, medieval tombstones. Ash finds the book, and a twist, to both lengthen the movie and torture Bruce Campbell with special effects makeup. Right before getting the book, however, Ash channels every person that’s ever had to remember something, ever. The humor in this scene is simple, and in that, hilarious. My favorite line being the final one when Ash decides a cough with an ‘N’ sound in front of it would suffice for ancient, evil magic. Again. Ash not so big in the brains department.
The equivalent of ‘Password not accepted’ turns the graveyard into a fireworks factory and awakens the dead, giving us another chance to witness another slapstick tribute to the stooges. We see Evil Ash resurrected, and soon afterwards, his army of the dead. Or darkness, you know, given the movie title and all. But all is not well when The Chin returns and delivers the news that he may have upset some folks back in the medieval graveyard. I couldn’t help one more ‘medieval’, sorry. Things happen! The love interest is taken away! Ash vows to stand and fight! Enter the final scenes!
The men of the castle send word to Henry the Red, the big brute earlier in the movie, that they need help. They also take part in a training montage, because reasons. Ash, being from the future and all, arms them with gunpowder. The formula which he found in a physics book which just happened to be in his trunk. For extra points try to find the issue of Fangoria. When all is said and done we enter what has to be some of the most epic battle scenes since Clash of the Titans. Or Jason and the Argonauts. Depends on your preference.
The army of the dead attack and go after the book! The men at the castle try to defend! Things aren’t going so well for our heroes, who seem to be dropping like flies. Now we see the Ashmobile! The classic that has been made over to be a steam powered (I’m guessing) contraption of death. The Chin meets up with former love interest now turned deadite, which he ends up tossing over the side of a wall like yesterday’s leftovers. And now, an exercise in duality. Evil Ash and Ash face off to fight for the book and the fate of all involved.
I will, once again, skip the ending because I don’t believe in spoilers. So let’s wrap up. This movie set a tone that Sam Raimi would reuse in other movies like Darkman and even further up like Spider-Man. It’s filled with flaws and production fails, try to count the air-rams badly hidden behind scenery, and some big plot holes. And where I’d usually pick apart a movie for them, this time I’m able to overlook them. Not because of fanboy-ism, okay, partly because of fanboy-ism, but mainly because the movie is just plain fun! Big sets, big action, big actor, and big one liners all add up for a horror comedy that is still just as fun today.

Thanks for reading, folks! Also check out the alternate ending and the extended windmill scene in various rereleases of the movie. So I have a question for all our loyal readers: Should I review the reboot of the series? Head to our Facebook or Twitter page to vote! Thanks again, folks. Stay tuned!

roadside attractions

  • The chin 3.0?
  • Hail to the King?
  • Wires and air-rams Galore
  • ?Ash’s Changing Hair Lengths
  • ?Xena’s war cry
  • ?Evil Ash Muppet
totals

4

blood

BLOOD

A lot of action, not a lot of gore.

3

blood

BREASTS

One full pair and a couple covered with hair. Not much to howl about.

10

beast

BEASTS

An entire army of the dead. Nuff said.

9.2 OVERALL
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About the Highway

Lost Highway is your satirical detour down the twisted back roads of b-movies and cult films reviews. learn more >>