This post is composed of brief reviews of a number of different films that showed at my work place the Sci-Fi Center in Las Vegas recently, except for the film called Slaughter Disc where I just got a promo DVD at a Sci-fi Center event. In all cases, people involved with making the films were on hand to answer questions and do promo for their projects. I have decided to include the reviews together to give a sense of the general vitality of things going on specifically at the Sci-Fi Center and also the general vitality of things taking place in the world of independent horror production.
Caroline Pierce who is best known as an adult film star, although she has collaborated with a guy named David Quitmeyer (who also just put out a novel about killer bed bugs called Shady Palms recently under the name Allen Dusk) on some more horror oriented films. I got two DVDs free at the event, Slaughter Disc and Tales from the Carnal Morgue (an anthology disc of three shorts), and a copy of Shady Palms. These films actually came out a number of years ago, but they are new to me and would be to a lot of people. Slaughter Disc is yet another film that plays with the whole snuff flick death on video kind of thing. It’s a little bit different from other murder caught on film/video type films in that this one involves a supernatural element, with people getting sucked into television screens, as in the 80’s film Poltergeist. I suppose I should warn audience that a good portion of the film is essentially pornography sequences, and is arguably as much or even more so a porno film than a horror film. Well, how is it? I must be honest I’m a horror film person and not much of a porno person. This one kind of addresses that kind of an impression of pornography though, because the main character has a very clear addiction problem with pornography. The main character is sort of odd, he chooses masturbating to pornography over spending time with his real girlfriend, for which she dumps him at the beginning of the movie. That’s the one thing that is very interesting about the film- it’s a porno film about an individual destroyed by pornography. I actually feel the depiction of pornography addiction in this one is psychologically dead on. He comes across this haunted DVD and Caroline Pierce plays an evil female demon/ghost/whatever. The filmmakers did not have a whole lot of money to work with, but the film is fairly gory. The soundtrack music is actually pretty good- apparently it was done by Peter J. Gorritz the bassist for the goth band The Last Dance. At the Sci-Fi center event we screened two films from Tales from the Carnal Morgue, Mail Order Bride and Sustenance. Mail Order Bride a guy orders a robot woman on-line, the robot woman is shown violent film footage which screws with her programming and then she kills the guy of course, it’s comedic in tone. The other film on the DVD that was screened at the Sci-Fi center was Sustenance. Sustenance is about a woman who enters into a weight loss program where she is put in a kind of solitary confinement and fed her own flesh. Fans of extreme horror will most likely enjoy the third film on the Carnal Morgue disk. People who are fans of Caroline Peirce for her work from adult films will likely prefer Slaughter Disc. I’m an extreme horror guy and not a porno person, so I preferred Sustenance. I haven’t gotten around to reading Shady Palms but it looks pretty decent.
The Perfect House is a recent horror film. We had one of the directors Kris Hulbert and the producer Andrea M. Vahl and over and screened the film. This is actually an excellent film. I had initially identified the film as an anthology style film, but I was corrected and told by one of the director Kris Hulbert that sequels are planned in which the details of the storylines in the film become clear. The general gist of it is that you have a couple looking at a house for sale, and they are surprised that the price is as low as it is, but this because a series of highly violent events have taken place in the house stretching back from the 200’s to the late 60’s which are shown in flashback. One of them involves a dude killing his neighbor’s entire family in front of him for not returning his weed whacker. There’s another one about a family with a disturbed mother. Another one involves a guy who keeps a woman prisoner in small cage in his basement and brings down other people he kills because he enjoys having the prisoner watch. It is the only film I’m aware of in which a victim with multiple stab wounds is thrown in salty bathwater, which is one of a few prolonged torture sequences in the film. As you can tell, this film is obviously released by Disney. Family fun for children of all ages! Atom the Amazing Zombie Killer is a comedy more than anything else. A bunch of guys from Denver, Colorado made the film and dropped by the Sci-Fi Center. The main character Atom is leader of a bowling team, who through a head injury suffers from hallucinations that he is surrounded by zombies, and starts hacking them up, but it’s actually just real people. There are a number of other plot elements that have to do with the rival bowling team and their leader who steals Atom’s girl. The theme music was done by the Las Angeles punk band the Radioactive Chicken Heads. The violence in the film is strictly cartoonish slapstick, and there is a fair bit of gross-out bathroom humor. It’s pretty funny. Good times.