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February 7th, 2007

The Video Store Guy

by Steven Anderson

disturbance.jpgDisturbance
Directed and Written by Nick Vallelonga. Starring; Nick Vallelonga, Paul Sloan, Colleen Porch, Hayley DuMond. Produced by Nick Vallelonga; NR, 93 mins, 2005

Describing Disturbance is surprisingly simple. First off, let’s take one part pointless violence, one part confusing random alien encounter, and one part low-budget slime mess. Mix them all together in a pot of DVD plastic and half-bake the entire concept in a pan lined with the worst script you could find. The result is the movie Disturbance, a big, hot, steamy pile of waste of our time.

Basically, some guy named Hud Masters, a serial killer on Death Row, got his execution faked by the government. They injected him with an alien fetus that allows him to hunt, fight and kill a rogue alien race that left their planet and now uses captured human bodies to move around in.

Got that? Yeah, it’s confusing–what it all amounts to is a whole lot of people barfing up glow-in-the-dark green slime, and fighting some guy with a shaved head. Repeatedly.

All in all, Disturbance is a long, dull train-wreck of action, horror and science fiction that’s as half-baked as it is poorly planned.

baby-blood.jpgBaby Blood
Directed by Alain Robak / Written by Alain Robak, Serge Cukie. Starring: Emmanuelle Escourrou, Jean Francois Gallotte, Christian Sinniger, Francois Frappier. Produced by Ariel Zeitoun, Joelle Malberg, Irene Sohm; NR, 84 mins, 1989/2006

Anchor Bay hauls up another old wreck–but is this one worth salvaging?

Basically, we’ve got a ravenous, quasi-sentient parasite crawling into a French circus performer to be born of a human being. But in order for it to get big and strong and born, it needs gallons of blood. Thus, new French circus mommy has to go out and slaughter up a whole bunch of people to feed the “baby.”

There are days when I type up a quick plot synopsis and even I wonder what I just wrote.

Despite the almost alarming amount of fake blood being splashed, dashed, and otherwise thrown around the sets, it’s not what you would call gratuitous, gore-for-gore’s sake filmmaking. I’m amazed to say it, but all the splatter is actually necessary to the plot.

Perhaps my one real problem with Baby Blood, was the subtitles. They at least got the gist of it, and I love subtitles, but they really could’ve made the two match up better.

All in all, it’s another salvaged hit for Anchor Bay with Baby Blood. Maybe not the best but it’s certainly not bad.

blackwater-valley-exorcism1.jpgBlackwater Valley Exorcism
Directed by Ethan Wiley / Written by Ellary Eddy Starring: Cameron Daddo, Jeffrey Combs, James Russo, Kristin Erickson Produced by Eric Ricart, Mark Burman R, 89 mins, 2006

Truth is stranger than fiction…but will it make good movie? The answer is a resounding, absolutely, from Blackwater Valley Exorcism.

It’s basically the same exorcism story you’ve already seen about a dozen times before. Catholic priest called in with “a troubled past” and, “demons of his own,” to start pounding demon ass. Give due credit to Blackwater Valley Exorcism…they went for authenticity like a son of a bitch here, and they got it. Not five seconds into the movie, and they run a text scroll describing how the exorcism scenes were “conducted under the supervision of Bishop Jason Spadafore,” and then tell you why this means anything. And I have to admit to being impressed by the wholly innovative plot stroke of a possession being part of some kind of master plan, as we’ll discover early on.

All in all, I was very impressed. Blackwater Valley Exorcism manages to take a base that should have been so familiar and so ultimately trite as to be pointless, and yet makes something new and original from it. In the end, a silk purse has been made from a sow’s ear.

_.jpgAbominable
Directed and Written by Ryan Schifrinm. Starring: Matt McCoy, Haley Joel, Lance Henriksen, Jeffrey Combs. Produced by Donna Cockrell, Theresa Hartman, Paul Spadone; R, 94 mins, 2006

When I first put Abominable into my DVD player, I didn’t know what to make of it. I’ll give you the full rundown later–first we’ve got to get the plot covered.We’ve got the homecoming of a newly-paraplegic, former mountain climber named, Preston Rogers, who’s managed to come home at the exact same time that a string of unexplained and bloody happenings have been going on. Specifically, lots of local wildlife has been recently killed, and only big footprints are left behind. It’s a movie about Bigfoot. Yet, what Schifrin and company have done here is basically, somehow, managed to make a monster movie out of Rear Window, and loaded it with choice actors like Lance Henriksen, Jeffrey Combs, and Tiffany Shepis.

All in all, Schifrin is a genius, and Abominable is the proof. This is absolutely worth every second of your rental.

Filed Under: Articles | Arts & Leisure | Commentary | New York

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