Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Hellroller (1992)

Directed by:
Gary J. Levinson
Stuart Wall (uncredited)

Some guy who played a few bit roles in a couple of Fred Olen Ray movies like The Phantom Empire and Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers decided to make a campy B horror movie all on his own. He really shouldn't have bothered. This inept shot-on-video mess is pretty much a complete embarrassment and a definite contendor for the coveted title of Worst Movie Ever Made. You may also notice a handful of 10-star reviews on IMDb - clearly all written by the same person - trying to pawn this off as some cult film, but don't be fooled. This is as bad as it gets and too calculated in its attempt to be a cult movie that is doesn't even cut it as a good bad movie. Wheelchair-bound, constantly-twitching whiner Eugene (the incredibly annoying Ron Litman) and the woman he always thought was his mother (Mary Woronov, under the alias "Penny Arcade") go dumpster diving. She says "I should have aborted you!" but then confesses that she's not really his mother but his aunt and that his REAL mom (Ruth Collins) accidentally dropped him on his head when he an infant right before being gang raped and murdered by a set of Siamese twins. After the aunt disappears, Eugene goes to the rotten-toothed "King of the Bums" (David H. Sterry) for help, only to find out she's been raped and murdered, too. Already imbalanced and filled with rage to begin with, Eugene then sets out on a quest to "kick ass all over Hollywood" (i.e. go on a senseless killing spree).

Our paralyzed psycho briefly teams up with a mentally-retarded former film director named Donald (played by director Levinson) who was once "the Fellini of horror pictures in Tennessee." I've seen enough cheap horror films by now to realize the retarded director character is a dig at Z filmmaker Donald Farmer of CANNIBAL HOOKERS (1987) fame. Just one month before this video was released, Farmer released a documentary called Invasion of the Scream Queens (1992). Since it featured a photo of Michelle Bauer on the cover taken from this movie, Levinson and co-director Stuart Wall later took "Invasion" producer Sy Yudel on the TV show The People's Court (!!) and (unsuccessfully) sued him for "using property without permission!" Check out the whole amusing and embarrassing segment right here...

So anyway, Eugene and Donald go to a gym and get revenge on a guy for calling Eugene a "crip" and throwing his wheelchair in a dumpster. Eugene then gets a pocket knife from a woman and stabs her in the face with it. They then bust into the hotel room of world famous "model slut" Michelle Novak (Bauer), who's in town to promote her new line of swimsuits. During a scuffle, Eugene convinces Michelle to help him kill Donald and then turns around and guts her in the bathroom.

The lame murder spree continues as Eugene takes an axe to porno actress Hyapatia Lee after she dances, strips and showers, rams a broomstick through a pair of female muggers, kills a topless hooker by ironing her to death and rips out a guy's eyeballs. Sound gory? Sure, but I haven't yet mentioned that most of the victims aren't actually shown being killed, we just get to see the body afterward, including a hilarious moment where a dead woman holds an axe up to her chest to keep it in place. The staging and editing of these scenes is uncommonly bad. During the last few minutes, the killer goes to a mad doctor (Sterry again) and has him whip up a special potion to turn normal people into bums but this idea goes nowhere. There are a few other useless subplots in here as well, mostly revolving around a couple of TV newscasters making dumb jokes about Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy and interviewing people saying degrading things about homeless people.

Aside from Bauer (seen doing aerobics in lingerie for several minutes before hopping in the bathtub) and Lee's nude scenes, the only other good thing about this movie is the surprisingly good music. Seeing how no one is credited with doing the score, they probably just stole it from somewhere else. As far as the photography is concerned, it's often so blurry and poorly lit you'd have to have no understanding of how to work a simple camera for it to end up looking this bad. I set up better-looking shots with a 200 dollar camcorder and a lamp when I was 8 years old. For what it's worth, a few other minor B movie celebs pop up in small roles, including Elizabeth Kaitan and Tammara Souza (stars of Assault of the Killer Bimbos), Johnny Legend and Eric Caidin.

This was first issued on VHS on the Dark Side Home Video label and appears to be their one and only release. The box claims the special effects are by the "creator" of Evil Dead II and Luther the Geek, which in huckster speak translates to "some guy who claims to have worked on both films conveniently sans credit." At some point, co-director Wall sold his rights to the film back to Levinson and he altered the credits to take sole ownership, which was probably a smart move on Wall's part. The aptly named VHShitfest later acquired the distribution rights and released this (a better print than what had previously been available) on both DVD and VHS.



spookyx3 said...

who cares? put it out; they'll watch anything. astonishing contempt for the audience on display here. went in thinking the names & format would sustain me, and was checking my watch mere seconds after the opening credits. bailed c. 10 minutes. mary woronov appears totally unflappable; she's the only actor who escapes OK in the portion i saw.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Yes this was pure torture from start to finish for me personally but every rare bad movie seems to have people claiming it's some kind of cult classic. Mary is awesome in pretty much everything. She was also the ONLY worthwhile thing in the God awful Movie House Massacre.

Piotr W. said...

How the heck did Mary Woronov end up in something like... this? Did she need money, or something?

spookyx3 said...

correct. i have the old retromedia DVD of that. there's no help for me!

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Piotr - She was the main interview subject in 'Invasion of the Scream Queens' so I'm sure the two of them tied in together somehow. Either way, she deserves so much better.

Spooky - I have that same set with it, Claw of Terror, Black Mamba (which I STILL haven't watched) and Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism. Wasn't a total waste of money as it introduced me to Torture Chamber... and prompted me to seek out a better print of it!

spookyx3 said...

> I have that same set ... Claw of Terror, Black Mamba ... Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism.

mine's the single disc under the title of BLOOD THEATRE. guess it wasn't selling well enough individually.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

"guess it wasn't selling well enough individually."

Hard to imagine why! Lol

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