Monday, September 13, 2010

'Horrific' is an apt description of this film

Horrific (2005)
Starring: Patric Flood and Debra Mayer ("Crypt of the Undead" segment); Jonathan Norman and Jacqueline Lovell, and Costas Koromilas ("Terror of Vision" segment); and Marissa Tait, Tyler Anderson, Alicia Lagano, and Jason Faunt ("Masters of Death" segment)
Director: David DeCotaeu
Producer: Charles Band
Rating: One of Ten Stars

If you're Charles Band, and you want to make a quick buck off the more obscure, less-successful direct-to-video horror films, picking three, recutting each down to half an hour, and using them to make a "new" anthology film isn't such a bad idea. It gets you that quick buck, and you might even stir up interest in other films you own.

But not if that sensible and good idea is put into practice as it was with "Horrific."

To begin with, the movies recycled to make this picture were mostly not very good to begin with. They were "Prison of the Dead" (which I've not yet seen), "The Killer Eye," and "Totem". Secondly, while it might have been possible to actually improve on both "The Killer Eye" and "Totem with judicious editing that is not what happened here.

Horrific opens with "Crypt of the Undead" (the reshaped "Prison of the Dead") where a group of unpleasant idle rich kids are possessed by the spirits of witches executed during the 1600s and then slaughtered by resurrected executioners. Maybe it's because I haven't seen the full movie, but it looked interesting enough that I've put it on my list, because I would like to see some of the missing plot elements are that are incoherently referred to as the film unfolds. While a bit of expository dialogue gives us the back story of all the various characters in the opening scenes, there is more to their relationships, as evidenced by nonsensical exchanges between characters later on. These exchanges are rendered nonsensical because of the scenes that set them up are missing. Given the incompetent way the other two films used to make this movie were chopped up, I think "Prison of Dead" probably isn't as bad as it seems based on "Crypt of the Undead".

Which brings me to "Terror Vision", the second segment, which is a butchered version of "The Killer Eye". Given that this tale of giant horny eyeball from the 8th Dimension is one of the worst movies to ever issue forth from Full Moon, I figured they couldn't do anything but improve on it. I was wrong. The way they cut the film, they managed to make it every bit as boring as the original while making it incoherent to boot, with key expository scenes being hacked out. I thought that "The Killer Eye" could be improved if it was shorter, but I was apparently wrong. There is probably no way to get anything decent from this pile of garbage.

Closing out this anthology is "Masters of Death", a film about six beautiful young people who are drawn to a remote cabin by supernatural forces and then are tormented by monsters and forced to kill each other. In its original form, it's a far better movie than "The Killer Eye", but here it seems just as incoherent and just as lame. In fact, it's more incoherent, because we don't know how our six killers/victims find out they are the subjects of some bizarre supernatural force, nor why one of their dead bodies is strangely chained to a table rather than just covered with a blanket as would be the decent thing. Instead of reducing the presence of the lame puppet creatures that serve absolutely no point in the story, the editor instead hacked out important expository scenes.

"Horrific" is a failure on every level, with the possible exception of the fact that all three films used to create were originally directed by David DeCoteau (under the names Victoria Sloan, Richard Chasen, and Martin Tate), so all segments have a similar look to them. It's a cheap, garish look (nothing says "cheap" like actors delivering lines about how their names have been mysterious carven into stone while looking at a pair of wooden boards where the screws that joined them together are obvious), but it's a look nonetheless. And for that I'm giving this sad cash grab One Star... and a very small one at that.

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