AUGUST 20, 2008
A friend of mine recently pointed out that I’ve been particularly vicious towards Lionsgate recently (and for good reason! Fuckers!), but I got nothing but good things to say about them concerning the DVD of Side Sho. In addition to being a rare anamorphic release for one of their pickups, it’s also possibly the first of their indie releases in which the cover of the DVD accurately reflects the film itself. The name of the movie was chosen by the filmmakers and actually appears in the film, the guy on the cover is actually in the movie, and the stuff behind him is more or less accurate as well (there’s a Ferris Wheel in there for some reason, but whatever). Way to go, LG!
(I should note the standard collection of trailers is disappointing; two for movies released quite some time ago, and a pair of action flicks. No new horror trailers!).
The movie itself ain’t too bad either. Nothing particularly original happens, but some of the kill scenes are pretty ridiculous/unique, such as a guy who gets a glass casing (with a snake inside) smashed over his head, which lets the snake bite him to death. Also a turtle is used. Plus, a small kid is shotgunned to hell, something always appreciated.
Also, instead of the usual collection of jobless backwoods inbreds, they are all ex-carnies. Our hero family is doing a book on remote tourist trap attractions (they will have the market cornered since Bill Hudley’s book obviously never got published), so we have a barker, a strongman, etc. It’s a bit refreshing. Also, even more refreshing for one of these no-name indies, it’s pretty fast paced. There are like 10 carnies, so you’re never more than a couple minutes away from another action bit once it gets going (about a half hour in).
Plus it’s pretty brutal. The family has inexplicably brought the daughter’s friend along on their vacation, so you know she’s a goner, but the parents actually get wasted too, leaving only a 16 year old girl and a kid of about 10 behind to fend for themselves (but not for long, the ending suggests they’re goners too). Awesome. Also, worth noting that the friend, the only “sure thing” victim, more or less kills herself due to horror movie stupidity. I’d kind of like to see a breakdown movie where everyone dies on their own accord, as the nearby inbred mutant cannibals are all otherwise engaged.
Some stuff pissed me off or at least irritated me, however. For starters, the score. It’s fucking terrible. There’s no real theme or anything, and it’s almost never appropriate to the scene. It’s rare I even notice a score as being bad, but this one is particularly terrible. Also, I really could have done without the moment where the dad, who already resembles Bruce Campbell anyway once he’s covered in blood, yells “Groovy!” after grabbing a weapon from a tool shed. Weak.
There’s also an odd scene where our hero kid has a nice chat with the resident “non evil” mutant kid. The mutie likes comics, and the kids discuss a couple of made up characters. Then the kid offers him some, and right on the top is "Sleepwalker", Marvel’s comic from the 90s. It may be the issue where a guy named Rick dives off a ship to get a ring, I’m not sure, but it bugs me when they combine made up shit with real stuff. One way or the other, guys.
The DVD has some decent extras, including a making of that is about 15 minutes long, 5 of which are devoted to footage of the crew (and cast) trying to get the damn boat started for one sequence (oddly, the piece includes some music that is far superior to anything in the film). There’s also a blooper reel (zzz) and a commentary, which is pretty lively as they discuss problems shooting (apparently their original FX guy was a complete dipshit, but they won’t name names, dammit), stuff they had to change, and point out some goofs. Not exactly essential, but definitely enjoyable. All in all, a nice little package for an above average LG indie release.
What say you?