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.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Bloody Video Horror That Made Me Puke on My Aunt Gertrude, The (1989)

Directed by:
Zachary Winston Snygg

Hassan, who's played by some white guy (probably the director) wearing sunglasses, a black toboggan and a fake beard and doing a terrible Middle Eastern accent, makes snuff films and pitches them to his South American clients on the phone as being "...kind of like Faces of Death without no clothes." He shoots an ugly, fat, naked skank that looks like a rough trade meth dyke five times while Kool-Aid is flung on the walls and some other guy with his face covered films it. Meanwhile, at the Video Magic video store, slacker Ramon Rafelson is pissing off his whiny manager Joe by refusing to do his job. Ramon's mom owns the shop, so he figures it's OK sitting in the back reading detective magazines all day while ignoring the customers. Joe is deeply in debt to the mob so a loan shark named William swings by threatening to kill him if he doesn't return the 100,000 dollars he owes later that same day. Hassan pops in next to drop off his rented camera equipment and VCR, forgetting that he's left the snuff tape inside the tape deck. Oops. Numerous murders follow and a pair of moronic detectives show up to investigate matters. You may as well just ignore all that because the movie pretty much does too and just goes wherever it wants to fill up 75 minutes.

Shot with a camcorder, this useless amateur home movie somehow managed to get a minor VHS release through Video Outlaw, a bottom-of-the-barrel company best known for distributing Todd Sheets films. The main characters are all played by the same three "actors" donning cheap disguises, who basically just sit around or wander the streets poorly ad-libbing their dialogue in extremely tedious, overlong scenes. These scenes go on and on, lines are flubbed, people talk over one another and even screw up character names ("Can I speak to Jim... Joe rather?") Despite the title, there's next to no blood or gore and what is shown in really amateurish and pathetic. One guy is dismembered with an electric saw (that isn't even plugged in), though we never get to really see anything. There's also no "Aunt Gertrude," let alone someone puking on her. Closest this comes to that is a drunk bum saying "I saw a body, uh, a d-dead dead body with blood and... and.. and... the... ey-ey-eyes were... were bloody... and blood... blood... ev-ever, uhhhh..." and then puking all over a clown's shoes.

The fake opening titles (with a cast including "The Duke" and "Abad Kaleel" and the executive producer being "Steven Spieldberg") are typed out on a piece of plain white paper. The "video store" consists of posters for Mannequin and La Bamba on the wall, but strangely no video cassettes are anywhere to be seen. The director attempts to ape The Evil Dead's camerawork throughout, with numerous tracking shots chasing behind people or zooming up and down the streets as people are coming or going. It's safe to say with the rental store setting and snuff film idea that the makers saw VIDEO VIOLENCE (1987), which looks like an Oscar contender by comparison, and said to themselves "Hey, I can do that, too!" Yes, they did do it, too. They even got their video out to some stores. What they did not do was craft an entertaining movie. The picture quality and audio recording are the worst and this isn't even really all that funny; it's just boring, irritating and an complete waste of time. The real appeal of movies like this one rest primarily in their rarity, especially for collectors of obscure videos. They like to have these kind of titles adorning their shelves simply to say they have them, and some will pay big money for them... probably a lot more than this cost to actually make.

Director Snygg is listed as "John Bacchus" on IMDb but uses the Snygg name here and on his Kickstarter and LinkedIn profiles, so I assume that's his real name. He went on to become one of the founders of E.I. Independent / Seduction Cinema, a company who churned out dozens of soft porn films for the home video market starting with the release of The Vampire's Seduction in 1998. That was followed by such titles as The Erotic Witch Project (2000), Play-Mate of the Apes (2002), Who Wants to Be an Erotic Billionaire? (2002), King Kong (2005), The Insatiable IronBabe (2008) and Batbabe: The Dark Nightie (2009). Most of these featured the same actresses over and over again (including Misty Mundae; their most popular star) doing simulated lesbian scenes. If these films accomplished anything aside from being disposable wank material, it was steering the soft porn market away from "erotic thriller" toward "comedy spoof;" a format directors like Fred Olen Ray and Jim Wynorski would later jump on in their domination of the late night cable market through the 2000s.



CavedogRob said...

Wow! Another winner! Lol! This looks insanely bad. Hey! I've actually seen PLAY-MATE OF THE APES!

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

I've seen Playmate of the Apes, too. Even it is better!

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