JULY 1, 2008
When you have a movie in which a midget (Mighty Mike Murga) is raped by a mountain man in the first 15 minutes, the last thing you should say about the film is that it’s dull. But that’s exactly how I would describe Slaughter Party, a Troma film that seems oddly held back on several occasions and manages to make even nonsense like Terror Firmer look like solid storytelling in comparison.
At no point in the film was there any evidence that I was watching a completed film. Characters come and go without any real rhyme or reason, subplots arise out of nowhere, leaving other plots abandoned as a result, etc. After the life-affirming rape scene, we cut to a nubile blonde going to meet an internet date – who turns out to be the midget we just saw get attacked. How long the two scenes are supposed to be apart is never made clear, but we just have to assume that the raping resulted in Murga turning psychotic and killing girls at random. Hilariously, shortly after this scene we are given a “Three Weeks Later” title to bridge two scenes that clearly take place quite some time apart anyway. Later in the film, we see the killer stalking a group of girls by the lake in the middle of nowhere, and then cut to him inside a suburban apartment, where he attempts to kill a girl who escapes and leads him to... the same damn lake he was inexplicably seen at 5 minutes before. Whatever.
But I usually don’t care about such things when I see a Troma film, because there’s usually a plethora of gore, nudity, bodily fluids, piñatas, etc. But that’s not the case here. The usual Troma lesbian action is limited to a single brief smooch between two of the random girls introduced halfway through the film. The gore is clearly just some fruit punch, and pretty minimal at that. And the star of the film, Sleepaway Camp’s Felissa Rose, doesn’t seem to be aware she’s in a piece of crap, and actually tries to act and bring sympathy to her character. Not what we’re here for, ma’am, but thanks for trying!
She’s not the only one who keeps putting effort into the wrong areas of the movie. The director (who directed it I can’t tell, Lloyd says it’s a guy named Chris Watson, the IMDb says Fred Rosenberg, and the film itself says Buck Jones Jr. Take your pick, I guess) keeps tossing in insert shots of things like cigarettes hitting the ground or whatever – but can’t be bothered to actually show the goddamn killer in this scene:
That’s the most we ever see him during the attack.This film is shot on consumer digital video (hell, might even be analog), so there’s no excuse for shit like that. You’re able to instantly watch what you got and if something goes wrong, like, I dunno, you failed to get the goddamn subject of the scene in the goddamn frame, you should re-tape (not film, it’s tape!) the scene/shot and do it right. It’s one of the things that DV defenders will use to claim their format is superior to film – but this guy couldn’t be bothered.
Strangely, the most amusing thing about the movie is the commentary track. It’s done by actor Ford Austin, in character as the mad doctor (sort of like the track on Blood Simple, only with Troma flair). It’s filled with the sort of anti-PC irreverent humor the movie itself failed to deliver, and he also mocks the film’s meager production value (he points out a particularly overlong shot of 2 guys walking and wonders if it’s there to pad the film to feature length) and numerous plot holes. Hell, just watch the movie with the commentary on to begin with; it’s the only way to enjoy it IMO. There’s also a bizarre interview with one of the film’s other co-stars, some porn jackass who spends the entire time he’s on camera making cookies or muffins or something. There’s also an interview with Rose (pointless) and some other crap that just hawks Troma in general, which I skipped as I assume it’s the same stuff I’ve watched on other DVDs.
It’s actually pretty rare I watch Troma films (I believe this is the first for HMAD), so when I DO watch one, it’s because I am in the mood for their peculiar brand of comedy/horror/crap. Nice job on my part to rent one that even their die-hard aficionados were disappointed with. Oh well.
What say you?