Monday, March 3, 2014

Review: Amerikan Holokaust

You can purchase Amerikan Holokaust HERE.

I know I’ve been away for a while, but never fear, Cellmates!  The Son of Celluloid is back to reviewing indie horror, and today we’ve got a real doozy.  When a movie is made by a couple of guys known for a web show called The Sleaze Box, you expect a certain level of nasty.  Amerikan Holokaust delivers on said nasty in spades.  Director Chris Woods and co-writer John Miller have made something that will disgust all but the most undisgustable (I’m trademarking that one), but it’s more than just vice and viscera.   Like good advice screamed in your face by a foul breathed, spittle spewing crackhead; the pervasive gore, nudity, profanity, and all around perversity actually have some underlying substance.
Synopsis: Michael Mashburn and his former Lieutenant, Antwan Mercer shelter themselves from the world to make a new beginning.  They start by abducting young men and women and torture them for their own amusement.  Their victims will be treated to the most vile and heinous manners you can ever imagine.  Some of them they will keep and force them to join their army, but most will all die a slow and horrible death.

If you follow underground horror at all, you know that “serial killers documenting their crimes” is not exactly a new concept.  In fact, it’s been done to death.  Amerikan Holokaust sets itself apart from the glut of cinema verite slaughter, however, by introducing a new ingredient to the formula.  This movie knows that it’s a movie.  It’s got some effectively jarring editing and a droning, dissonant noise soundtrack.  These sickos aren’t just recording funtime for posterity.  They’re using their recordings as part of a film project.  I’ve never seen anyone take that particular angle on this type of flick.  Not only are we looking at their activities, but their artistic vision as well.  It’s a novel, downright fascinating idea.  As well as they pulled it off, I wish they had taken the concept to its logical end and had the “editor” break the fourth wall and talk to the intended audience about the overall vision of the project.  That would have been an incredible “more meta than meta” moment.  Then again, it may have jeopardized a later plot twist so I can see why that didn’t happen.

One of the fortunate side effects of the flick not going the straight found footage route is that it remains much more visually interesting than most movies of this type.  The lighting changes.  Shots alternate between shaky hand held and static.  Even though it mainly takes place in the same house, the set decoration is such that different areas look different enough that it feels like a bigger movie than it is.  That, students, is how you maximize a miniscule budget (reportedly about a grand).

The two lead actors do an excellent job.  Jules Sciero (as Michael Mashburn) is the best actor in the film.  He manages to give a layered, sometimes even subtle performance in a role that could have easily been played as a cliché.  He’s a great storyteller too.  The viewer is just as engaged when Mash talks about his days in ‘Nam as when he’s eating eyeballs.  Bob Glazier, who plays Twan, goes the more over-the-top depraved route, and he is to be commended in the highest for his absolute fearless commitment to a balls to the wall, no limits performance.  These two have great chemistry and bring a necessary believability to the proceedings.  Cyndi Crotts is very good as Michael’s wife.  The victims range in quality from a game and capable Rue GoreGrinder to the gal who says “you can’t sell my baby” with all the emotion you’d expect from someone saying “no, you can’t have one of my fries.”  That’s to be expected though.  When casting a flick like this what an actress will subject herself to is usually more important than her thespian capabilities.

Now that the legitimate film criticism crap is out of the way, we can get down to what you’re really interested in with a flick like this.  Does it deliver the sickness?  Oh hell yes it does.  I’m about as jaded as they get as far as on screen horrors go, but I was pleasantly surprised at how far this one went.  Murder, torture, necrophilia, cannibalism, degradation, rape (not technically shown), and even coprophagia (turn “safe search” off and Google it if you’re not sure) are the order of the day.  Marcus Koch is responsible for the gore, so you know the messy parts are gonna look good.  It does get messy, too.  We’ve got eyeball extraction, gooified faces, and disembowelment (complete with sexual violation of the entrails) just for starters.  Trust me, this one isn’t for the delicate of constitution or the weak of stomach.

Random Thought #1: “What’s the use of being a rapist if you have to f**k with a condom?” is an early contender for horror quote of the year.

Random Thought #2: On the back of the box they refer to “…vial and heinous manners…”  Vial?  Really?  The word is Vile.  Grammar, people!  Grammar!  Get an editor.  That’s what people like me are for.

Random Thought #3: There’s one scene where the sound effects make it seem more like a bad attempt at humor than the brutal scene it should have been.

Random Thought #4: Man, Rue Goregrinder is hot.

Amerikan Holokaust is a flick with a little something for everyone… provided you’re an explorer of the video fringe with a taste for the extreme and sensibilities that are impossible to offend.  Do you just wanna revel in extreme violence?  Then you’ve come to the right place.  Do you wanna go all film school and delve into social commentary, character study, and cinematic technique?  This flick certainly lends itself to that.  Do you enjoy seeing good actors push themselves past limits most wouldn’t go near?  It’s got that too.  Do you like gratuitous boobs?  Check.  Is diseased old man pecker more your style?  Well, you’re in luck.  Amerikan Holokaust isn’t going to be for all tastes, but those to whom something like this is meant to appeal will definitely dig it.  Nathan says check it out.


1 comment:

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