The Fangoria Blood Drive II DVD is actually a collection of short horror films. I’ve reviewed two of these films individually here in the magazine already, so you can check out the links on those to read the full reviews.
We All Fall Down (Jake Kennedy): Two drunken young couples hit a young girl with their car, killing her. Aware of the consequences they’re facing, they take her body to an old bunker and hide it. Five years later, the bunker is going to be torn down, and they have to go back to move the body before it’s discovered. Only…she’s not there anymore…or is she? Max’s wife loses contact with him and goes down to the bunker to find out what happened. There she’s shown flashbacks of that night. They dismembered the girl and knocked all her teeth out so she couldn’t be identified, then they wrapped her in plastic and left her there…only…she wasn’t actually dead yet.
To say this movie was brilliant would be an understatement. I could sit here and roll off a full of of adjectives telling you what an incredible experience this was, but the best word for it would probably just be "awesome". Everything about this film was perfect. The acting, the cinematography, the editing, the writing, the visual effects, the sound…all just perfect. I can’t think of a single thing wrong with this film. That’s something you almost never hear from me, because usually I have some minor complaints about pacing or story or whatever, but not in this case. Director Jake Kennedy has an undeliable sense of what true horror is and how to send chills up the spine of the viewer. There were scenes in this film that actually scared me and some that gave me a nice case of the boo boo jeebies. It’s so rare to find a film that can actually do that, but this one did. This one alone is worth the price of the DVD.
Gibbering Horror of Howard Ghormley (Steve Daniels): A man is riding along on his bicycle and finds a key. There’s a house near by, so he heads on over thinking that the key belongs to someone in the house. No one seems to be around, so he tries the key in the door. It won’t open. He walks over to a window, but then hears something. He goes back over to the door and pounds on it. It still won’t open. A note is slipped out from under it saying that the door will not open. He leaves and returns later. Another note. He leaves and returns again…another note. Both with equally bizarre messages on them. The fouth time he returns to the house the door is open, but what he finds inside isn’t what he expected.
Can’t say as I cared much for this film. It was shot in black and white, which I guess was supposed to give it a creepy old look. That’s fine, the look was ok. There were some major problems with this film though, not the least of which was overediting. The scenes were cut together quickly in a mish mash kind of a fashion to give the film, I assume, more of a manic feel, but in fact all it really did was make it annoying. The pacing was thrown totally off because of it and there was really no tension or anything built up because with all the quick edits it was never allowed to build. The sound effects were disjointed and obnoxious, at the end becoming almost unbearable. I guess the acting was ok, though there was no dialogue in this film other than what was written on the notes that were slipped under the door. Story-wise there wasn’t really much to it, and what there was can only be described as confusing. This film looks like something they would have shown on Night Flight back in the 80’s or early 90’s, whenever that show was on. It’s almost like it was made to be obscure and quirky, but it just doesn’t work. I feel bad about having to do this, but I have to give this one a big thumbs down.
Means to an End (Paul Solet and Jake Hamilton): Two special effects guys are constantly hounded about the fact that their effects don’t look real enough, so they decide that the best way to have realistic effects…is to make them real. To that end, they decide to make their own film and basically mess each other up real bad in an effort to make some art. This film was reviewed by me in a previous issue. You can read the full review here.
Mainstream (Adam Barnick): A man is strapped to an operating table in a dark room while an assortment of mechanical instruments, robotic syringes and a freakish doctor with no eyes work him over. Is it all just a nightmare, or are they doing this to everyone? This film was also reviewed by me in a previous issue. You can read the full review here.
Disposer (BC Furtney): A lonely guy calls up one of those dating hotlines looking for some hot chick to talk to. When he finally finds one, he finds out that some girls will do anything to have an orgasm, including playing around with garbage disposals.
Ok, this movie was stupid, but it was that kind of stupid that you sit there watching with a big grin on your face because it’s funny. There’s really not much else to say about it. Not exactly a masterpiece, but all in all a fun little flick with good acting, nice camera work, good editing and a story that doesn’t make you think too much. Just as a side note, the girl in this one was really hot and did a nice job playing the psycho phone orgasm garbage disposal girl. Say that five times fast!
The Journal of Edmond Deyers (William Rot): A serial killer kills a couple of young girls and the cops are after him.
I’m sorry, maybe I missed something here, but this is one of the most pointless movies I’ve ever seen. I guess it might have made more sense had the editing been decent and the sound not been obscured through about sixty or more percent of the film with bad, droning sound effects in the background. The acting was horrible, the story made no sense, and pretty much all of the dialogue, which was fully whispered by the killer, was drowned out by the sound. The editing was disjointed and did absolutely nothing to build an aire of fright or chills. A total miss on this one I’m sorry to say.
Sawbones (Brad Palmer): In 1864 during the civil war a battlefield doctor mistakenly cuts off the wrong leg of a soldier and kills him. No longer trusted by the men and in a delusional fit of depression, he ends up cutting off his own leg as well.
This one was just ok. The acting was just ok, the story was just ok and the severed limbs and most of the effects didn’t look real at all. There was only one effect in the whole film that looked pretty real, but that just wasn’t enough. The camera work and the editing were both well done and the film moved along at a decent pace. The acting was a big part of why it was just ok. The main character did a pretty good job in his role, but many of the actors who played the side characters were just average and the guy who was on the table getting his leg cut off should have been screaming like a madman. All he did was lay there biting down on a piece of wood looking like he was getting a bikini wax or something. This wasn’t a bad film, but it wasn’t overly interesting either. It’s the kind of a film that you’d watch because it’s on a compilation DVD, but you probably wouldn’t go out of your way to watch it on it’s own.
Working Stiff (Erik A. Candiani): A miserable office worker is called to the CEO’s office for a little chat and discovers what hell corporate office work can really be.
This one was REALLY entertaining. I was laughing at quite a few spots in this one and smiling most of the rest of the time. Extremely well done and stylistic, the production values here are first rate. Everything from the story, to the effects to the editing really made this one a treat. The acting was pretty cheesy at times, but it was a good cheesy and totally added to the enjoyment factor. The make-up effects, set design and the interspersion of storyboard / comics panels throughout that corresponded to what was going on in the film, made the whole thing just seem really polished and incredibly well done. Erik A. Candiani did a fabulous job with this and I know that pretty much everyone’s gonna love this one.
This DVD is sort of a mixed bag as you’ve just read. It started out incredibly strong and finished up that way as well with both good and bad films mixed in between. If you check out the other reviews for Mainstream and Means to an End, you’ll see that I also liked those two films a lot. There are some extras on this disc, including an interview with Bruce Campbell, and a behind the scenes kinda thing with KNB EFX. The DVD is hosted by this chick called Mistress Juliya, who despite her hotness, comes off as really coarse and not someone you’d probably want to spend much time around…or listening to. Now I must qualify that statement by saying that I have no idea what she’s like in real life. She was basically saying what was written for her for the DVD, so she could be a total sweetheart for all I know. I’m only commenting on how she came off on the disc. Fortunately aside from the menus she only does a short intro for each one and then it gets right to the movie.
All in all, this DVD is a must have for the horror lover. There are a few gems on here that have to be seen, and I know that several of these filmmakers have a huge career ahead of them, as they are the true pioneers and the visionaries that will save us from the PG-13 garbage that Hollywood keeps trying to ram down our throats.
And just a final note here to those filmmakers whose films I didn’t like. Yes the reviews may have sounded harsh, but it’s only my opinion. Keep working and creating your art because you all have something to contribute to the community. Some people will like your films and some will hate them, but if you can reach even a few people with your work, then you’ve done a great thing in life. Always remember that.