The Attic Expeditions (2001)
Director: Jeremy Kasten
Jeffrey Combs/Dr. Eck
Shannon Heart Cleary/Amy
Trevor (Jones) wakes up from a coma in a mental institution with a headache THIS BIG and doesn't remember how he got there. As time goes by, hallucinations, false realities and flashbacks that might have happened plague his noggin as he tries to piece his past together. Get the JD bottle out of the cabinet...this one’s going to hurt.
In a perfect world, I would be dating Mandy Moore right now, like RIGHT NOW...and I would have the time to watch "The Attic Expeditions" again before reviewing it. But alas, Mandy is out of reach (for now) and I don’t have the luxury to hit this movie one more time. I do firmly believe that it’s most likely a film that gets better and hopefully clearer through repeated viewings though.
"The Attic Expeditions" was very much akin to a drug trip in that it existed on a multitude of levels of reality and every time I thought I had the answers, the questions changed. I grooved on my excavation in this psychedelic attic with the bang-on horror friendly cast definitely jacking up my overall enjoyment. Favorites like Andras Jones (nice to see ya onscreen again, bro), Jeffrey Combs (the man always "owns"), the always funny Seth Green and Ted Raimi (brother of Sam), Nancy Wolfe of Helter Skelter infamy, Wendy Robbie of Twin Peaks and rocker Alice Cooper also pop up. Now that’s a genre shindig! I felt like I was at Fango convention...I almost asked my TV for autographs.
The story itself also pulled me in from the get-go, slapping all kinds of crazy “mind-fuck” servings my way while occasionally sprinkling some appreciated circumstantial, dark humor around as well (Combs loves that weed!...lol!). The film’s main device, in terms of taking us for a ride, was that we (the viewers) were firmly planted in the lead character’s shoes via the unorthodox narrative. Much like him, we had no idea as to what in Avril Lavigne’s poseur ass was going on. It was a gnarly place to be in and thankfully the flick didn’t let me out of the bag throughout-- even as the end credits rolled, I was still in that freaking bag saying: ”What the fuck?” The schizophrenic visuals also contributed to the lobotomy that was this movie, with assaults on the senses attacking fiercely left and right via a wide assortment of camera tricks, disorienting editing all over the map and symbolism galore. The “love house” set also added to that jive and reminded me of a low rent "Suspiria" when it came to its odd wall designs and surreal feel. Nice!
On the downside, this horror juice in a needle had a substance that was either too intelligent for my silly ass or that went too far in trying to rape my head that it lost sight of itself. Either way, it left me in the dust and once more, a second viewing would be warranted to make severed heads or chopped off tail of this LSD party. My last grind is that I didn’t particularly care for the “Magick” subplot and the pale faced, big titted girlfriend (name Faith...played by Beth Bates) that came with it. I found the chemistry between Jones and Bates to be null, therefore totally negating the strength and the intent of that corner of the storyline.
Overall though, no matter how many times "The Attic Expeditions" would pull the rug out from under my feet or lose me in the shuffle via its overzealous ways, I was ALWAYS engaged, ALWAYS sucked into the film and was digging it the most the whole way. At the end of the day, that’s pretty much what matters. Bad trip on this!
The red mayo does hit the floor with a stabbing, an open cranium, a vicious club beating to the head and more seeping out of this attic.
Andras Jones (Trevor) did an admirable job as the lead, hitting all the right notes and putting out his usual endearing charm. Seth Green (Douglas) did what he does best and did it again here to a T. Jeffrey Combs (Dr. Eck) is astounding here giving us another “classic” display . Wendie Robie (Dr. Thalama) had the look for the part; nobody smiles with a hint of deceptiveness like she does. Ted Raimi (Dr. Coffee) cracked me up and his exchanges with Combs were so on! Shannon Heart Cleary (Amy) had something about her that made me like her (no, not her bush shot). Sympathetic, is the word. Beth Bates (Faith) had knockers the size of my ego, but for some unknown reason that only James Dean knows...I couldn’t get into her.
T & A
Shannon Heart Cleary (Amy) and Beth Bates (Faith) go full nude in this one and I think they deserve a standing ovation. Get up and clap, you bums! The ladies get Andras Jones showing his ass; clap if you feel it be necessary.
Jeremy Kasten takes us on a visual magic carpet ride by slapping unsettling images our way, using every camera trick in the book in terms of blurry vision, odd slow motion, what-not. His scenes transitions were also pretty slick and some of the shots rocked the padded cell. Tight job.
We get an adequately eerie score by David Reynolds and some hard-hitting punk-like ditties. I felt it.
"The Attic Expeditions" kept me in the dark and mashed my cells like ground beef throughout. The oddball narrative, the stylish visuals and the awesome cast definitely kept me a pleased genre fiend. Yes, the film went a little too nutty when it came to messing with me and only repeat viewings will tell if the madness can actually make solid sense or if the screenwriter was hitting the “Bear Bong” too hard while writing the script, but having said that, get in a silly mood, kick the leeches out of your pad and enjoy the buzz.
Director's bio from the Official Site: "Jeremy Kasten has pursued a career in movies his entire life. Since graduating from Emerson College, Jeremy has honed his filmmaking skills working alongside some of the more respected names in the film industry, assisting William Friedken, co-editing with Richard Nord (Academy Award-nominated editor, "The Fugitive", "Passenger 57", "The Watcher") and co-editing with Curtiss Clayton (editor, "Drugstore Cowboy", "To Die For", "Buffalo 66").
Jeremy has edited over a dozen feature films including "Phat Beach", "Ocean Tribe" and "The Specials".
This film is also known as “Horror in the Attic” (awful title).