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A FEW SCREWS LOOSE
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Reviewed by: Pat Torfe

Directed by: Craig McIntyre

Starring:
Randy Tobin
Michael Palermo
Aurelia Scheppers
Ava Rose

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about

Stuart (Tobin) is a loner addicted to porn, in particular, porn that stars his favorite starlet, Ember (Scheppers). Stuart decides to write Ember a fan letter, which Ember responds to by asking to meet Stuart. Once they meet, Ember reveals that she's being beaten by her porn director boyfriend, Extreme Eric. Soon, Ember ends up dead, leaving the question of whodunit? Actually, more like a question of, 'What the hell is going on in this movie?'.

Is it good movie?

A FEW SCREWS LOOSE. Writer/Director/Editor Craig McIntyre couldn't have chosen a better title. This film is absolutely batsh*t insane in a number of ways, but not all of them are good. What seemed like a hilariously over-the-top ride full of ridiculously bad gore and T&A, eventually devolved into something directed by someone off their Ritalin.

Shot on a shoestring budget over a number of years, AFSL starts out with an in-production porno helmed by Extreme Eric and his pal Johnny Hawthrone, and starring an up and comer in the business (no pun intended) named Cherry. Suddenly, Cherry's daddy busts in with a machete, lops off Johnny's arm and renovates the male pornstar's head. The father is dispatched by Extreme Eric in a grampa mask (I swear I'm not making this up), who is inspired to use this 'killer' persona of his as a serial murderer for his snuff films. Of course, we don't know about that last part until the movie's almost over, but hell, who cares about minor stuff like that?

Editing-wise, AFSL has to be seen to be believed. I'm talking about a film being edited with horrible color bars, crossfades that go on for way too long, speeding up/slowing down of scenes (complete with the inappropriate Barry White/Chipmunk voices) and more in an attempt at some sort of experimental filming style. But no, it's a jumbled clusterf*ck that will leave you scratching your head one minute and unintentionally laughing the next. Incredibly, the film still needed more in terms of editing, as in leaving less time for me to wonder what I'm having for dinner. The runtime, at almost 90 minutes, is way too long for something like this, and eventually the whole thing amounts to individual scenes being spliced together, leaving me digging for change in the couch.

Now, as with most of these indie films I've had the pleasure of seeing, I tried to find something that was good about AFSL, and really, the only things that came to mind were the women (including a few real pornstars like Ava Rose as the jogger) and the gore, which was executed so badly in some instances that it was funny (take the burning puppet head in EVIL DEAD, for example). Seriously, what's the point of a fake hammer when you do such a lousy job of a fake hit to someone's head, with the sound effect coming almost a full second after the hit?

A FEW SCREWS LOOSE is another one of those films that takes an unorthodox (and downright loopy) style and runs with it, ultimately clotheslining itself on the tree in the backyard. Of course, it gets back up after that, but gets tagged again and again, until it's no longer entertaining anyone. Who knows what McIntyre was thinking when he let this puppy loose, but you hoped that someone would've told him that doing a multitude of jobs on one film for a burgeoning filmmaker isn't necessarily a good idea.

Video / Audio

Video: Shot in 1.33:1 fullscreen the film looks surprisingly good for an indie film, if it weren't for the 'wacky' editing jobs. Colours are consistent, with some minor interlacing errors and a lack of detail in some of the darker scenes.

Audio: Again, low budget, low sound production. Unlike the video, the Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo audio track is horrible, with muffled lines, canned sound effects and an overbearing 'soundtrack' of generic grindcore songs, it's something you wish you had subtitles for, or at least closed captions. That way, you could watch the film and not have your ears bleed.

The Extras

The only extra is a still gallery consisting of 12 images played automatically, with two or three being from pre-production. The rest are screengrabs from the actual film (showcasing the lovely interlacing errors in one shot). Seriously, this is a joke. If you're just going to put out a half-assed extra with next to no substance to it, why bother putting it on the disc? The gallery would've been hundreds of times better if they'd put the pictures from the film's MySpace page in it.

Last Call

To say I didn't think much of A FEW SCREWS LOOSE is fairly accurate. Likening it to some 4-year-old bouncing off the walls after eating way too much sugar is very accurate. Saying that a horror film needs more than gore and boobs is dead on. Rethinking your strategy of filmmaking after this effort is probably in your best interests.

ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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