Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
A documentary filmmaker decides to make a movie about the dark side of independent
horror cinema. More specifically, the perverse nature of extreme gore and snuff films.
Is it good movie?
I had read about S&Man before I watched it. I read that it is a sick and twisted film that
isn't exactly as it seems and I couldn't tell if it was a documentary or a docu-drama. It
turns out that the film seems to mostly be a documentary, with a bit of drama thrown in
for good measure.
Every review of this film I've read seems to be written in essay format by people who
would appear to really want to come off intelligently, as if they're providing some sort
of social commentary. Personally, I thought the movie was pretty straightforward and it
really didn't blow my mind or anything or cause me to think deeply.
That isn't to say that I didn't like the film. In fact, quite the opposite. I thought this film
was actually pretty competently made, although it suffers a bit from being overlong and
the dramatic bits didn't really work for me.
This is a film that really delves into the lives of a few independent filmmakers who
make phony 'snuff' movies, and an actress who stars in them. The documentary is
sandwiched between a few scholars and other such people who provide analysis on the
subject matter to help give a few psychological clues.
I watch a lot of horror films, as a part of my job here at AITH. I've seen a LOT of really
violent stuff, and I've loved some of it. I don't think that during my almost 5 year tenure
with the site that I've ever seen anything the likes of which snippets are presented from
in this film. The movies that these people make are simulated murder movies, which
are essentially pornography for those who love death and torture. Not only that, but the
filmmakers completely admit it. They know that their movies are never going to be found
on the shelves at Blockbuster, and they revel in the fact at times.
The movies that are profiled here have an audience, and that's what's creepy about
S&Man. While trying to get to the underbelly of independent horror cinema through
an interview with a convicted peeping tom, the documentarian stumbles upon this
hardcore sub-sub genre of films and interviews the filmmakers. BIll Zebub (yeah, that's
his gimmick name) has made some nasty, nasty stuff and the only limit is is imagination.
Not only that, but these movies are made for fetishists (dig alien abduction? pay the fee
and they'll make you your own video).
The dramatic part of the movie I won't spoil, but I saw it coming from a mile away and it
stuck out like a sore thumb in my opinion. I don't really like mixing fact with my fiction in
terms of documentary-style movies unless they're completely phony altogether. For me,
it breaks the illusion and makes me wonder what else the film is hiding and not telling
me. This part of the film takes up a good portion of it and is intertwined throughout.
Video / Audio
Video is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen and looks a little flat, but is sharp enough.
Audio is presented in Dolby 5.1 and comes through sounding just fine.
There are two commentary tracks to be found here, one with director JT Perry and Erik Marcisak (the actor who plays the villain),
and the other is with Petty and Eric Rost, the character 'villain' of the piece. The first track is better
than the second as the two have good chemistry with one another and I found it more
informative than the second track with the character.
The complete S&Man Episode 11 is a cool added feature that shows exactly what
these sorts of films are about. This one is of course, fabricated but is replicated quite
accurately from what I can tell.
There are a few minutes of Deleted/Extended scenes to be found here as well, along
with some film clips from Underground Films , and S&Man film trailers .
Although the dramatic parts didn't work well for me, this is a pretty comprehensive
look into a niche market that profits from perversion and death. I thought it was quite
compelling to see the faces of the people who make these films and star in them, just
to see how it affects them and how they comport themselves. This was definitely worth
watching, but it isn't for the faint of heart or for those expecting a typical horror flick.