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The Bottom Shelf #96

So, the Oscars are coming up this weekend. People are going to be renting million dollar pieces of jewelry, wearing shoes that have a price tag that could keep a lower-class American family from getting evicted and basically patting themselves on the back for spending way too much money on crap that could have been done for far less. In honour of this special occasion, I thought I'd feature some of the films that managed to say much more for far less.

SHATTER DEAD (1994)
Directed by: Scooter McCrae
Starring: Stark Raven, Flora Fauna

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My weakest area of movie expertise is in the B-movie horror genre. When I went looking for some good movies to check into, I turned to my friend Paul who recommended that I watch this movie. He warned me that it was low budget and he wasn't kidding. Shot for around $2,000 with a digital camera, SHATTER DEAD is probably about as low budget as you can get. But if you can look past that fact you'll find a movie that causes you to do more thinking than some of the name brand multi-million dollar bank rolled flicks being produced today.

The movie shook me based on the fact that I couldn't decide what it was trying to be. Graphic in some of its sexually charged scenes in addition to the violent ones, I was left scratching my head to whether this was a B-movie horror flick with soft-core porn aspirations or if it started out to be soft-core porn and ended up getting bloody. As the film opens, a buxom butch looking lesbian angel is having a ball with a willing female companion. Being that I'm a free-thinking girl, my mind went straight to strap-on assumptions, looking past the fact that the angel of death was an androgenous creature. As the movie progresses 17 months into the future and the streets are populated by the living dead, you start to understand that angel fell off its game and left the world to ruin.

Granted, the acting (especially that of the lead actress and director's girlfriend Stark Raven) is abysmal and for those of us who have grown up spoiled on computer generated special effects and a litany of camera angles, this movie is going to be painful to watch. But if you can get past judging it with a biased (read: spoiled) eye and start to look at it from a strictly critical one, there is a unique story being told here. Many of the concepts that the film tries to convey slip past because of their subtlety. In a world where things have gotten clearer and brighter in their esthetics, the scripts have also gone through the wash as well. There are too many things spelled out for us in big bold letters that we've lost the finer art of looking deeper into a story. SHATTER DEAD just might help you to recover that lost art.

Favorite Scene:

The scene in which Raven is told she's beautiful and replies with a "Save it for someone who cares." It was entirely too amusing for me simply because she's the most unattractive woman in the movie. (And trust me, that's saying a LOT.)

Favorite Line:

It's not so much in the script as it was the tag line for the movie: "GOD HATES YOU!"

Trivia Tidbit:

One of the men in the house massacre, the one with the neck brace, is Pericles Lewnes, the director of REDNECK ZOMBIES.

See if you liked:

28 DAYS LATER, CEMETARY MAN, SLITHER

REDNECK ZOMBIES (1987)
Directed by: Pericles Lewnes
Starring: Lisa M. DeHaven

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You don't need a big budget to scare people. It's been proven over and over that one of the easiest things to use to scare people in their fear of the unknown. You can get away with scary music and not showing anything but a shadow and people will jump out of their seats. There's also no need to go big budget to get people to squirm in discomfort. Fake blood can be made with thinned out pudding and red food coloring and you'll get reactions mixed from vocalized "EW!"s to the covering of eyes and turning away from the TV screens. The people at Troma Entertainment know this well and use it to their advantage more than M. Night Shyamalan uses his shadows.

REDNECK ZOMBIES is about just that: redneck zombies. How simple backwoods rednecks turn into zombies takes only a vat of radioactive waste, an incompetent pot-smoking army officer and a desire to have a new still with which to make moonshine. There isn't a great deal of in-depth story-telling in effect right here. Just a group of people out to have some fun making a movie that will offend the delicate sensibilities of all those Lindsay Lohan fans out there. Sure, you can sit through JUST MY LUCK but you girls can't deal with a little fake blood and guts? What is the world coming to?

I meander off the point in describing the movie because there is no point to it. The purpose to REDNECK ZOMBIES, if you can even call it that, is simply to gross you out. And for only a few thousand dollars it does that far more effectively than anything being put out by the major studios today. Not to say that it isn't done with flair. The actors are clearly having a blast and some of the scenes provide some flat out hilarity. Because if you're going to go low-budget, you might as well do it with a selection that knows it's low budget and doesn't carry that stench of self-aggrandizement. Let the major studio releases handle that angle.

Favorite Scene:

The baby zombie happily chomping away on entrail. Can you say "Awwwww!"?

Favorite Line:

"I wish I was the Dutch Boy!"

Trivia Tidbit:

Filmed in Entrail-Vision, which basically just means it was filmed on video and not film.

See if you liked:

THE TOXIC AVENGER, CLASS OF NUKE 'EM HIGH, DEAD ALIVE

There you have it. Why drool all over Charlize Theron as she struts down the red carpet when you can watch SHATTER DEAD and see an entire cast of women naked? Sure, they're the women that you'd prefer kept their clothes on, but let's be honest! Knockers are knockers!

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