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The Bottom Shelf #128

10.04.2007

Much like the retail stores, I've been hitting the Halloween trail early. I've gorged myself on blood, guts, gore and camp. I've also discovered that some of the most entertaining stuff isn't what money can buy. Proof positive: Ariauna Albright, B-movie scream queen and the proud owner of a pair of the finest homegrown, surgery free boobies in the business.

BLOODLETTING (1997)
Directed by: Matthew Jason Walsh
Starring: Ariauna Albright, James L. Edwards

-- click here to buy this DVD at Amazon.com --
-- click here to rent this movie at NetFlix.com --

The serial killer is a popular man. On the rare occasion that man is a woman, but not all that often. In movies we always get to see some well spoken, charismatic young attractive yuppie who leads a normal life on the surface, usually in fairly posh surroundings, only to be surprised by his penchant for ripping off the heads of sultry co-eds. Either that or you get to see some middle aged, equally well spoken and yet creepy f*ck who likes to kill several people fitting into some design that only he fully comprehends. Most of the time I just end up bored to tears and pantomiming a finger down my throat because I'm just so sick of his smarmy blathering on.

This isn't that kind of serial killer movie. It's low budget and it starts off really looking like it, but I beg of you to stick with it. Ariauna Albright, a scream queen who really should be better known than she is, plays Serena, a woman obsessed with finding the man who stabbed her friend to death 2 years prior. When she ends up on the doorstep of Butch Harlow (James L. Edwards), she convinces him to show her how to become a serial killer. The two embark on a death spree and a romance, all while managing to stop and fret over the finite details of a serious relationship.

Both Albright and Edwards are extremely charming in this quaint way that manages to scream B-actor and hardcore performer at the same time. (Although I suppose some would argue that the two are one in the same.) Whenever the two are together on-screen, their chemistry is insanely palpable, even if the lines are sometimes immature and over-reaching. But that's also one of the better parts of the movie as well. Everyone involved is managing to take the film seriously while at the same time embracing the humour behind it. They all know that they're acting in a low-budget film with a ludicrous plot line and yet they carry it off to the point where you not only forget how silly it is, you mourn when it's over. I doubt that this movie could have been pulled off with a bigger budget or different actors and that is probably the exact thing that I liked most about it.

Favorite Scene:

The baby scene. No, I'm not going to give anything away.

Favorite Line:

"Well, fruity ass, the sooner you get those bun-huggers in the car, the sooner I can f*ck you like I hate you."

Trivia Tidbit:

The writing on the wall behind the first family of victims is the title of another movie that actor James L. Edwards starred in, I'VE KILLED BEFORE, also written and directed by Matthew Jason Walsh. Plus... the guy playing Boog, the wacked out dude in the video store is Scooter McCrae, the director behind the fantastic SHATTER DEAD, which I've reviewed before.

See if you liked:

KALIFORNIA, CHILD'S PLAY, CANDYMAN

DESTRUCTION KINGS (2006)
Directed by: Chris Seaver
Starring: Ariauna Albright, Chris Seaver

-- click here to buy this DVD at Amazon.com --
-- click here to rent this movie at NetFlix.com --

I would have never considered myself to be a huge fan of the low budget flicks. My dad was big into watching old cheaply made horror films on Elvira's Mistress of the Dark shows that we would watch together on the weekends when I was a kid, but I never really saw that type of production as being something that I could claim for myself. It was something that was my dad's or my horror buff friends'. I'm more middle of the road slash foreign slash indie rom-com. Yet I've become deluged in that crap lately and am personally getting sick of the assumptive nature of all who are involved in making those flicks. It's actually kind of sickening to find out that a picture with a $12 million dollar budget is supposedly "low-budget." Hell, most of the time for that amount of scratch they still turn out something that's about as much fun to play with as a week old dog turd.

Troma and the spawn that it's shit out are another story though. With movies like DESTRUCTION KINGS, where the sets are someone's basement or dingy apartment bedroom, the costumes are worn throughout the entire production and look like they were purchased for a couple of bucks at the local thrift store and a cast full of actors who resemble the flock of geeks that you avoided in high school, you wouldn't expect there to be anything of value to be found in 1 minute, let alone 71. Still, even with all the factors that most people will think work against them, this is a movie which has managed to make me laugh more than the movies made for 20 times more money than this was made for. Hell, I don't even know how much this was made for. I just know that it looks like something a few buddies put together with a digital camera and too many free hours on their hands.

This is the kind of stuff that you watch over and over again on YouTube, those strange and wacky videos made by people who might not have a big budget, but they have heart, determination and imagination. The movie might be filled with cheesy lines, but they're sputtered out by actors who are giving it 110% of their effort, loving every second that they're being filmed. While this might not be the horror film that it's classified under, it's got a healthy amount of stage blood and a couple of major cringe inducing scenes that get a larger effect than movies with the most detailed CGI can get. In a time when we're all so used to seeing the best, I find it utterly priceless that the things that can manage to get the biggest rise out of us cost no more than a trip down to a dollar store and some well placed enthusiasm. Granted, this type of film has its place and that will never be at the multiplex down the street. But I make better popcorn at home anyway.

Favorite Scene:

Monkey. Poo. Is. Hysterical.

Favorite Line:

"Plus it has a mini CD player so you can crank your - MAIDEN! - while defeating the villains. It's TRE tight."

Trivia Tidbit:

There are posters for a couple of the best cultish camptastic movies of lore, THE MONSTER SQUAD and DEMON KNIGHT in a couple of the scenes.

See if you liked:

FILTHY MCNASTY, MY DEAD GIRLFRIEND, EIGHT LEGGED FREAKS

If big boobies can't get you to watch movies, then I seriously worry about the state of the world today.

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