JULY 23, 2008
Anyone who visits the Horror Movie A Day store (which lists all HMAD entries in reverse order, so that the most recent movie is on the top) will probably wonder why the Decrepit Crypt set is on the top spot when I haven’t watched a single movie from it since December. Well, there are two reasons. One, leaving a multi set in one spot is easier than looking around for it and ‘bumping’ it back up there every time I take in another of the 50 movies on the set; and two, I didn’t intend on going that long without dipping into the pack. But since all three previous movies, and now this one, Dead 7, had nudity and excessive gore, I couldn’t watch them at work like I do with the other budget packs. On the flipside, watching them at home is hardly enticing, as they are given lousy transfers that look worse on my HD set and also are simply not as appealing as my bigger budgeted, lavishly transferred Blockbuster/Netflixed discs, not to mention all the unwatched ones from my own collection.
However, today is the day I leave for Comic Con, and thus I needed a short movie so I could get it out of the way early before heading down to San Diego. So I grabbed the Decrepit set and looked for a movie under 80 minutes. Didn’t take long (the movies are 4 to a disc, on ONE side!), and in case you were wondering, I got down to San Diego right around when I wanted to. Hurrah!
Another sort of nice surprise was that Dead 7 was far more competent than the other movies I’ve watched so far from this pitiful set. It was still shot on ugly consumer video and starred non-actors, but that was a given. Unlike the others, I could tell that the director (in this case, one Garrett Clancy) knew what he was doing, and while he could use a better editor (than himself), the camerawork, blocking, etc were all fairly decent. You get the idea that with some money and a good crew backing him up, he could make an effective horror movie, a notion I never even dreamed about when viewing those other pieces of shit (all 3 previous Decrepit entries are among the absolute worst films I’ve watched yet for HMAD).
The acting is also superior to the others. None of them are particularly great, but they know their lines, put emotion into them, etc. Particularly delightful (respectively speaking anyway) is Joe Myles, as the main jerk (peculiarly named Brownley - first name) we are supposed to root for (our “heroes” are criminals, once again). He looks like a cross between Wil Arnett and Peter Stormare, and he seems to be enjoying himself. There’s a great random bit when he yells at his girlfriend for not respecting Steely Dan, and also demonstrates the proper way to handle a CD (something I wish the Blockbuster clerks would explain to their customers – the DVDs I rent from the store often look like they were molested by rabid bears), and stuff like that is enough to give the movie a (slight) pass. There is also a terrific severed head appliance that is superior to even some non-indie films, and the hottest female cast member (Janet Tracy Keijser) is the one that offers the standard DC nudity.
I did take issue with one bit though – someone says that he’s gonna “pull a Lizzie Borden” or something to that effect, but then only swings his axe three or four times. Uh, I do believe Ms. Borden gave her mother forty whacks and then 41 for her dad. Who did she kill with only four? That part wasn’t in the story OR the nursery rhyme. Was there a baby or maybe a family pet that got deleted from the final version of the tale?
Of course, the movie is hardly what anyone would consider good. The plot makes little sense at times, our main characters aren’t really sympathetic in the least, and even at 75 minutes or so, there’s some needless padding (like a hide and go seek game sequence). And the closest thing to a heroine the movie offers is absent for about half the movie, so when she finally comes back, it seems like an afterthought.
And I know they don’t have a lot of money, but fonts can be found free, so there’s no need for such lazy titles (and why is the last name a different font than the first?):
You gotta draw in the audience with exciting fonts! Throw some Blades or maybe even a Wingding in there! Also, the first scene in the film is some sort of narrator in the Cryptkeeper tradition, but instead of a funny animatronic ghoul, it’s just some douche who comes off like Azrael Abyss. Also, the plot he describes doesn’t seem to be the plot of the movie we see, as he talks about two women who are trapped in a hell on earth or something, but then the plot is about four lowlifes who are targeted by an unseen ghoul for knocking a retarded kid into a well. Luckily he doesn’t reappear at the end; you might actually forget about him by the time the movie is over (I in fact did, until I went back to screenshot the credit screen).
Still, the relative competency and clear evidence that the folks involved were putting some effort into their movie is appreciated, and even made me hopeful that there might actually be 2 or 3 movies on the Decrepit set that are worthwhile (not counting Scream Bloody Murder, which somehow got tossed in with all these DV quickies).
What say you?