Monday, January 11, 2010

My Year in Disturbing Film: Week Two! let's see what's store for us

My year in disturbing film is my weekly column where I devote a few paragraphs to the most fucked up films ever made. Each week I plan on subjecting myself to the most horrific and mentally damaging imagery my mind can handle. I can't promise you this won't be the week I wind up in the hospital...

Here is a reminder about my rating system for these films

The second attempt at scarring me for life:

Murder-Set- Pieces – “pictures never lie”

What’s the movie about?
The characters are so inconsequential in murder-set-pieces, that I will just call them guy, girl and little sister. Guy lives in Vegas, he’s dating girl, she has a little sister. Guy kills a lot of hookers, usually post-coitus, sometimes during. Guy is a Photographer, the reason you know this is because they say it. He always seems to have a camera on him…he seems to take a lot of pictures, but he isn’t very convincing as a photographer. He holds the camera like it’s a blunt instrument and he’s about to bash you over the head with it. The movie is a gore/sexploitation film, but you'd never know it, but that’s not why we’re here…

Was the movie disturbing?
Not at all, sure if you’re a hausfrau who’s never seen a gore film you’d be apt to say “oh my” a couple times, but 95% of the violence takes place off screen. All the sex is fleeting at best, like they added it as an after thought. My biggest issue is that I have a hard time calling this a gore film OR a sexploitation, the movie lacks either enough to be one or the other. Here’s the deal, on every death in the film they ramp up the violence or at least the perceived violence till right before he’s about to make his kill, then jump cut, GONE. They jump away for every death in the movie, had they shown the sick and depraved stuff that guy has planned for the girls then my instincts tell me that this would be ranking pretty high on my eventual “most disturbing” list. But with what it is, it won’t even place. Blood splattered on the walls makes a disturbing movie not!

There were a couple of little things I found disturbing, but I felt they were so minor that it didn’t really affect me the way a movie on this list should. The main problem with guy is this, he’s a narcissist, he spends a great deal of time looking at himself, talking about himself and in his secret kill room there are shirtless pictures of himself in different stages of rage/agony/mental distress, makes you wonder who took these pictures? They try to make the character more demented by letting you in on the secret that he has ties to the Nazis; oh did I fail to mention he’s German? Again this feels tacked on and doesn’t really have any bearing on the character as a whole. I will give him credit though, he is very creative with some of the kills and some of the implements of pain and torture in his kill room seem like they would hurt, especially the several sets of fake teeth he has (one has screws for teeth and one is razors, the only one they show him “use” are pointed). As I previously mentioned, he’s a photographer, which in and of itself has the potential to be terribly sleazy, but he doesn’t play this character sleazy. He plays him demented and it just doesn’t work.

The other minor thing I felt deserved a nod as disturbing is his obsession with the little sister. He stalks her and snaps photos of her, but it’s not a love type of obsession, it’s an obsession that in the context of the movie makes no sense. Maybe he wants to kill her? Maybe he wants to rape her? Who knows? All I do know is that he always seems to know where she is and that alone is a little disturbing. Also the only violence they show on screen is the little sister kicking guy’s ass, that’s it.

I can’t believe I almost forgot that guy has weird dreams. They mostly consist of this one woman who we’re to assume is his mother? Sometimes they’ll be of him covered in blood, but the one dream he has that is genuinely shocking and the filmmaker can only take partial credit for this. He has a dream that features actual footage of the 9/11 attack, Thankfully the filmmakers had the good taste to not use any of the footage of people jumping to their death or of the buildings falling, though to be honest it would have improved the film’s standings on my list.

There are a grand total of three things I enjoyed about this film. Two of them are cameos featured. Gunnar Hanson plays a very brief role as an arms dealer who wants to give guy $500 bucks to sleep with the little sister. It was fun to see him, but would have been happier to see him in a better film. The other cameo was Tony Todd, some of you may not recognize the name, but you’ll remember his most famous role. He played candyman.

(remember him now?)

Mr. Todd plays a porn shop clerk who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and takes a metal slug in the gut from guy after a botched robbery attempt (not from guy). The last thing I enjoyed was the gore/blood FX done by toe tag. These guys do good work and I really enjoyed watching the blood splatter even if you didn’t see what was happening to the person. Sadly however, this movie stinks worse than the piles of rotting corpses stacked in the basement on a hot summer day.

2 off screen kills out of 5

Disturbitude: 1, due to nothing in this movie being truly disturbing. Just some things that make you go hmmm.

Next Up: Pink flamingos…bring the whole family.

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