JULY 24, 2012
It’s always fun to rent movies on Tuesday, the day they come out, because that means I’m the first and thus don’t have to worry about the disc being scratched or covered in awfulness (seriously, I’ve rented discs that looked like they were sexually abused). But there’s even more excitement when it’s a quickie Asylum production, because I might be seeing it before it even has an IMDb page – which turned out to be exactly the case for 100 Ghost Street: The Return Of Richard Speck. A quick search for “100 Ghost Street” turned up only the Asylum’s home page and a bunch of torrent links, so this review might be one of the first things you see in a day or two. Sweet!
As with many of their found footage films, it lacks a credit sequence (the website just has N/A for everything), so I’m not even sure who to credit for essentially remaking their own Gacy House and doing a better job this time. Maybe it’s someone who knows what they are doing, or maybe the crew from Gacy House learned from their mistakes and managed to churn out something that’s slightly more entertaining. Either way, assuming they don’t make more of them that continue to improve, if you absolutely have to watch one film about a paranormal team going to visit the home of a notorious serial killer and being dispatched by his ghost, then 100 Ghost Street is the one to choose.
Actually I’m not sure if they’re a paranormal team, however. The on-screen text just says they’re a “TV Crew” filming a documentary, so maybe they haven’t been well-versed in EVP and such. No matter, they’re just as (in)competent as the folks in Episode 50 or whatever, so it doesn’t really make a difference once the ghost makes its presence known and (spoiler) they realize they’re trapped inside the place. They DO have some pretty great equipment though – there’s a parabolic microphone for recording ghost sounds and even a little remote controlled robot camera that can investigate tight air vents and the like.
I was also impressed at how quickly the movie gets on with it, killing a random tech guy in the first few minutes and harassing the heroes with regular frequency starting around the 20 minute mark. As with Gacy, things get a bit sleazy when the ghost rapes one of the protagonists, which they can again justify since their villain WAS a rapist, but then again they make up a bunch of other stuff (including the title address – where the hell did they get that from?). And, of course, they could have simply just made up a fictional serial killer that DIDN’T rape people and thus it WOULDN’T be a pretty offensive movie from the ground up, but I’ll cut them some slack since the movie isn’t AS offensive this time (none of the heroes constantly dub things “retarded”, for example).
The acting is also better, with some nice chemistry between the Final Girl and her would-be boyfriend – there’s a bit near the end that’s actually touching (and here I’ll remind you that we’re on the Asylum grading curve). Some of the dialogue is still cringe-worthy, and I’d guess maybe a full 30% of the movie consists of people saying “Sarah?!” over and over, but again, it seems like they were putting some effort into making this somewhat believable this time. And there’s no séance scene, so we’re automatically in better territory. Again, since they’re just a TV crew, their attempts at calling him out are understandably a bit cheesy, and the movie works better when sticking to their blue collar, “I didn’t even want to be here” attitude, which is more plausible than these other ones I’ve watched lately, where supposed budding paranormal investigators say things like “Do an EVP”.
Back to Gacy, they actually make a little joke about him – comparing Speck’s mere eight victims to Gacy’s 33, one says that they should have gone to his house instead. This got me thinking about how amazing it would be if Asylum started an Avengers style shared universe, where characters from their Paranormal Activity ripoff movies began interacting with the folks from their giant monster films. It would be so wonderful for the 49 or so people like me who actually watch Asylum movies on a regular basis.
For a movie without credits or an IMDb page I guess it’s no surprise that there aren’t any bonus features either – just an endless trailer reel for other Asylum movies (including one with Sean Astin – how the hell did he go from LOTR to starring in Asylum junk in less than 10 years?). Hopefully I remember to check back in a few months when the filmmakers have been (presumably) outed, but then again maybe I’ll find out when they’re put in charge with writing a Chernobyl Diaries sequel or something. Either way, thanks for not being terrible. I used to think being merely forgettable was worse, but after 5+ years of HMAD, I’m starting to appreciate forgettable movies like this, because at least that usually means “competent” as well.
What say you?