Monday, January 28, 2008

The Cutting Room

And we’re back with the second disc of the Tomb of Terrors collection, and once again we get a fairly comedic and mildly fun lead-in film to start the disc off. If the second disc follows the general flight plan of the first, then after this one the other three films on the disc will just be abysmal, but I’m keeping cautiously optimistic on this.

This film, in the proud tradition of roughly a million other no-budget horror movies, is about a cast and crew making a horror movie that are shockingly being simultaneously stalked by a monster themselves. The twist here is that their movie is already finished, and the director is killing her cast and crew off so that there’s no risk of any reshoots that would weaken her dubious level of artistic integrity. One of the biggest bits of humor of the film comes in the clips of their movie that we get to see, where we learn that it is just as dreadful as can be. Indeed, they kind of oversell it a bit; I think the filmmakers could have trusted anyone actively seeking this collection out to understand when a character is doing the Chainsaw Dance without the repeated camera close-ups on a poster of the Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The humor, though, is probably the biggest part of the film, and we get this from the very first scene, with Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman (if you recognize the name, then you know what kind of movie this is going to be) playing a major film producer passing on their film because it’s too unmarketable, unlike proper recent horror movies like the remake of Psycho. We also get such things as one of the male actors in the film mentioning that he did the movie to get famous enough to break into porno, and another actor that gets attacked and pretends to be dead just to show off his method acting chops.

Of course, there are the standard run of technical problems that are common with a no-budget production like this. There are a number of sound gaps where we just get dead silence for a few seconds, even when someone’s talking. This happens most often during scenes with lots of camera cuts from one angle to another, so it’s possible that whoever was doing their mixing and editing just didn’t have good enough equipment to handle the job, or was somewhat retarded. I won’t list the ridiculously amateurish acting as a negative because, well, in this kind of film that beyond badness tends to be an actual plus, though I do think there should be special mention made of the film critic whose review is spent blatantly reading off of cue cards, and who I don’t think even once manages to actually look at the camera he’s supposedly talking to. A more serious concern is the absolutely terrible gore and blood effects, which are so bad that there are times when you have to kind of guess as to what’s supposed to be going on. Not good. The ending is also an issue, at least so far as this collection goes, as I am now five movies into the set, and all five films have ended in generally the same way. I have a feeling these movies could have been mixed up a bit better than they were.

Despite these problems, the movie is still at least somewhat fun to watch, and is so far my second favorite one from the set. I just hope that I’m going to get at least a few really good films in the mix sometime soon, rather than just a few okay ones and a lot of terrible ones. I do have one final plea to the filmmakers here, and to all other aspiring young movie makers out there reading this: while I do certainly appreciate that the second girl to appear in the film gets naked almost immediately after she shows up, it is deceitful in the highest degree to make that the only nudity we get for the entire film. This is an especially egregious sin when you actually have two girls kissing later on and then neither one of them, even the really hot one, takes anything off. Honestly now.

Rating: **

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