Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Severe Injuries (2003)

Directed by:
Amy Lynn Best

Happy Cloud Pictures in conjunction with Sub Rosa Studios (and co-producer Ron Bonk) deliver to us horror-fiends yet another (yawn) amateurish videotaped slasher movie parody. Though far from a great accomplishment, this one at least provides a few dumb laughs for the less-discriminating genre fans out there simply looking for a silly, lightweight horror-comedy. Faint praise that be, I know, but I've also seen much worse and the film does muster up some energy in spots. It's not quite as lifeless as most other efforts from the zero budget school of genre filmmaking. And it does not take the easy way out by resorting to cheap, sub-John Waters shock tactics and bodily fluids (well, other than tiny bit blood) for laughs, and that in itself is to be commended. Melvin Hubble (Charlie Fleming) is a tubby aspiring serial killer in a jump-suit and welding helmet who wants to carry on in the footsteps of his insane family members past. Unfortunately the entire Hubble family, though certifiably loony, are still entirely inept at the ways of mass murder and have collectively been unable to snare a single victim. Melvin hopes to change this after accidentally coaxing his father (Bill Watt) into stabbing a toaster with a fork and electrocuting himself.

Nearby, the weekend is rolling around at the Rho Rho Rho sorority house and the bubble-brained bimbo 'sisters' are naturally planning on having a party. Suzie (Robyn Griggs), Tina (Stacy Bartlebaugh-Gyms), Amber (Jenna Bull-Trombold), Tracy (Robin H. Green) and the rest of the gals can't wait to have the guys over, but all have somehow been talked into stayed celibate for the night to help pass a class. The house mother (played by Tim Gross, a man with a beard) is oblivious to what is going on, but Lauren (Amy Lynn Best), a 29-year-old graduate student staying in the house while in between apartments, is not impressed. The airheads thoroughly grate on her nerves, but she is friends with fellow out-of-place goth girl Holly (Lilith Stabs), who proves to be the biggest slut in the house during a marathon S&M sex session with some guy. During the middle of the nights festivities (and a chick-flick-from-hell movie line-up) Melvin shows up and starts killing everyone off one by one. There's also a second (hooded) killer lurking around in the house, who turns out to be one of the party guests traumatized by repeat childhood viewings of BAMBI, OLD YELLER and THE YEARLING!

Death is caused by knife, machete and chainsaw, there's a decapitation (where the head continues to scream), a slipping-in-the-blood gag, some cell phone satire (one funny bit at the beginning and another one poking fun at the irritating "Can You Hear Me Now?" wireless phone commercials). The ending is in blatant reference to HALLOWEEN, but is still pretty funny. There are many low-budget horror film regulars in the cast worth noting. Jasi Lanier is Linda, a sister who shows up briefly to do laundry, strip down to her underwear (sorry folks, this film is nudity free) and die. Debbie Rochon, playing an uber-feminist college professor, is seen sitting in front of a generic yellow wall a few times and talks about how her female students should refrain from sex and how disgusting the male anatomy is. She's wearing a Troma TV shirt and seems to have been ambushed in the middle of a horror convention to do the small role. Speaking of Troma, Lloyd Kaufman is also here and in one scene. He's a doctor walking down a corridor whose foot is run over by a guy in a wheelchair. Brinke Stevens has a five-second cameo at the very end. She's seen in a shower fully-dressed holding an umbrella and saying, "This is the last time I'm doing a shower scene!" Touché!

Since the barely feature-length film only clocks in at sixty-six minutes, the DVD tries to make up for it. Extras include the short WERE-GRRL (2002), which features Jasi Lanier, Lilith Stabs, Debbie Rochon and many others from Injuries, plus trailers, outtakes, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage and an interview with Best where she insists that the fact she directed, produced and starred in this film does not make it a 'vanity production.' Best’s husband Mike Watt, who was also scripted and co-produced, conducted the interview.


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