New Releases for Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Dude Bro Party Massacre III
Directed by: Tomm Jacobsen, Michael Rousselet and Jon Salmon
Run time: 91 minutes
The Lowdown: With all the nostalgia-heavy slasher films coming out, it makes sense that someone finally found a way to defile one of horror’s most hallowed subgenres with a blistering, bisexual satire that’s super heavy on the gore.
Dude Bro Party Massacre III is the fictional threequel of a horror franchise that never existed.
There’s just one print remaining in all the world because it was deemed so vile and offensive by President Ronald Reagan that he ordered all known copies to be eradicated.
To that end, the “work print” that viewers get to watch is presented, at least initially, as a grainy copy of the last known broadcast, which was recorded on a VCR when it was shown on a public access channel in Minnesota.
If nothing else, fans should feel extreme pride at just how diligent and detailed the creative talent behind Dude Bro Party Massacre III is. They go to extraordinary lengths to play within the vintage sandbox they have concocted.
The movie opens with the main character, Brock (Alec Owen), in therapy because he was the Final Boy in two terrible tragedies involving The Motherface Killer.
The first massacre was a panty raid gone wrong that left a sorority house engulfed in flames. The house mother was hideously burned, leading her to hunt down those responsible. The second massacre was Brent’s sophomore year when the daughter of the Motherface Killer returns to finish her mother’s work.
Just as you’re starting to settle in, Brock is killed violently by his therapist, who is the killer!
Not to fear, the next main character, Brent (Alec owen), is Brock’s twin brother, and he enrolls at the college to sleuth out who killed Brock.
In order to do that, Brent must join his brother’s fraternity as a legacy pledge. “I told myself I would never join a fraternity,” Brent thinks in a voiceover. “I already had a brother. I don’t need brothers.”
The fraternity welcomes him with mostly open arms, even if they call him ‘not-Brock.’
Dude Bro… is impressive because it maintains a consistent tone, which is not always a hallmark of low-budget horror-comedies. Parts of the film play like Animal House on acid, like the recital of the fraternity’s past pranks, all of which went horribly awry. One prank caused a plane crash that killed 250 people. Another prank drowned 4,000 people and helped unseat a dictator in another country.
Dude Bro… is dark like that, and the movie is so much better for it.
There are a slew of subplots that, surprisingly, all work well. Patton Oswalt shows up as a police commissioner with a suspicious agenda.
Everyone basically hates the fraternity and all its members, and not simply because every brother comes off as closeted bisexual with little regard or interest in hot college coeds of the female persuasion.
The cool thing is, the play on sexuality is not done in a cheap or crass manner. It’s played, ahem, straight.
Dude Bro Party Massacre III is a delight. It’s one of those films that you just aren’t sure about before you hit play, but once it starts, immediately upon the first frame, you’re hooked, and the ride is both exhilarating and unexpected.
Seriously, if you haven’t, and I’m guessing you haven’t, seen Dude Bro… it’s time to change that because you are missing out, bro.
The Stuff You Care About: Hot chicks – It’s not that kind of movie.
Nudity – Yes. Gore – Oh yes.
Drug use – Oh yes.
Bad Guys/Killers – The Motherface Killer!
Buy/Rent – Buy it.
Murder Made Easy (Lock and Key Films/MVD, 76 minutes, Unrated, Blu-Ray): Murder Made Easy, the feature-length debut of director David Palamaro, is a taunt, effective thriller that channels Agatha Christie while running the equivalent of a long con on the viewer.
Michael (Christopher Soren Kelly) has kept secret his hush-hush affair with Joan (Jessica Graham), in part, because Joan’s husband, Michael’s brother, has barely been dead long enough for the body to turn cold.
One by one, Michael and Joan invite a revolving door of former friends and acquaintances over for a meal, only to kill each one just before the next arrives.
What sets Murder Made Easy above and beyond is easy.
The acting is exceptional. Palamaro makes excellent use of what’s essentially a one-room stage, treating the material like a play and staging each sequence in a way that keeps the set design from feeling boring.
And the twist, when it arrives, is a great one.
The Hidden (SRS Cinema/MVD, 77 minutes, Unrated, DVD): The Hidden, a long-lost Australian independent feature, which was shot in 1993, is an old Salt City Home Video release that was shot on handicam by director Nathan Hill.
The story involves a terrible creature that lives beneath a city in the sewer that starts feeding on drug cartel members and gets hooked because of the cocaine and other narcotics in their blood.
Low budget, DIY cinema at its finest.
Vice Squad: Collector’s Edition (Shout! Factory, 97 minutes, R, Blu-Ray): Watching Vice Squad some 37 years after its release, you realize pretty quick that Hollywood just doesn’t make genre movies like this much anymore.
Helmed by veteran director Gary Sherman (Raw Meat, Dead & Buried, Wanted: Dead or Alive), Vice Squad was packed with the kind of tropes – a police squad room teeming with hustlers, junkies and prostitutes, a crazed killer pimp driving down seedy streets with a personalized license plate, a tired cop willing to put a call girl’s life on the line – that seemed to disappear once the 1980's ended.
Even the snippets of dialogue – I ain’t no jive-ass dope dealer, I am a pimp! – feel dated and antiquated now.
But, with a high-definition collector’s release, longtime fans and neophytes can both enjoy what’s actually a grimy, hard-edged exploitation standout, and marvel at Wings Hauser’s wholly unhinged debut as Ramrod, the meanest damn pimp that ever there was.
The Reflecting Skin
Homeland: The Complete Seventh Season
New Amsterdam: Season One
Now on Video-on-Demand:
Blindsided (Uncork’d Entertainment, 81 minutes, Unrated, Video-on-Demand): Blindsided, the debut thriller from director/co-writer Johnny Mitchell, definitely lives up to its title.
This is a film that opens with an out-of-nowhere, savage throat slit and continues to catch you by surprise throughout its brief runtime.
Essentially a variation on the traditional slasher genre, Blindsided, which you may find under the new title Darker Than Night, doesn’t reinvent the wheel so much as tweak it in ways that are both effective and inspired.
The main protagonist, Sloan (Bea Santos), is blind, having lost her sight in a freak accident. Her father is a criminal psychologist who has helped local law enforcement profile potential suspects in several high-profile murder cases. Sloan’s dad leaves her with two friends at their country estate so he can go work.
Blindsided plays off Sloan’s disability in ways that are both inventive and unnerving, such as having a shadowy figure appear at times in whatever room she’s walking through, just out of focus but clear enough for the audience to know someone is there.
It also takes intelligent steps to avoid possible plot pitfalls, such as when Sloan escapes the house at a pivotal point and hides deep in the surrounding woods. Because she grew up at the property when she had sight, and because she would still walk outside after her accident finding her way to certain key areas of the land, it makes sense that she could navigate the same ground while blind.
Blindsided also doesn’t shy away from the wet stuff, and incorporates several standout moments, such as a truly memorable gag involving a knife to the face, that helps elevate the action.
Hoax (Epic Pictures/Dread, 94 minutes, Unrated, Video-on-Demand): Hoax, the latest genre offering to try and capitalize on our collective fascination with the Bigfoot legend, starts out with a campfire story that turns into a real-life nightmare when a group of hikers are attacked by a killer something that is not shown early on.
Rick Paxton (Ben Browder, Farscape), a washed-up television producer, wants to use what happened to the hikers as the basis for a reality-show pilot that would feature the father of one of the hikers helping search for his daughter’s remains.
Paxton gets a reluctant green light to proceed, and he puts together a team including a Sasquatch expert, a veterinary doctor that specializes in primates, a TV reporter named Brigette Powers (Shoshana Bush) and a security detail led by John Singer (Brian Thompson, Cobra).
Let’s just get this out of the way early: Hoax is a terrible Bigfoot movie. In fact, Hoax is a terrible movie, period.
None of the actors play characters that are believable in the least and almost all of the characters make ridiculous decisions despite being supposedly educated.
For instance, at one point the primate vet and the father discover a large cave entrance and decide to explore with a cameraman. The cameraman doesn’t film the inside of the cave at all, despite it being littered with dozens of large bones with dripping bits of intestines strewn from the ceiling.
Even more troubling, the television producer keeps acting suspicious without the film ever explaining to the audience why that might be. He shows zero regard for his crew’s safety, and he purposefully sets up one of the team to be targeted by whatever beast is out in the woods.
For Browder, Hoax represents a career low that’s matched only by his participation in 2012’s Bad Kids Go to Hell and its lame sequel, 2017’s Bad Kids of Crestview Academy.
But the real reason that Hoax simply is not worth your time or money is a series of bizarre twists in the third act that finds one character going on a killing rampage for what’s possibly the dumbest reason I’ve ever seen used as justification for mass slaughter and the introduction of a family of mysterious mountain dwellers that feels unduly forced, not to mention ripped straight from the screenplay of a rejected sequel to either Wrong Turn or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
In case there’s any question as to how I really feel, I will leave you with the last line of my notes that I jotted down while watching Hoax:
The lesson learned here is simple: If You’re going to make a Bigfoot movie, just make a good fucking Bigfoot movie. If you’re going to make a crazy Texas Chainsaw Massacre-style movie, make the best damn TCM-style movie you can. Don’t try to do more than you’re capable of, and for fuck’s sake, try to make sense.
The VelociPastor (Wild Eye Releasing, 75 minutes, Unrated, Video-on-Demand): If you see just one movie this year about a determined priest infected with the blood of a rageful dinosaur…oh hell, who am I kidding?
Here’s the deal, this is all you need to know about The VelociPastor to determine if you’re in or you’re out: The freaking movie is about a priest who turns into a dinosaur that walks on two feet and kills bad guys.
Seriously, he eats someone in a freaking confessional!
The VelociPastor is further proof that fans should never judge a movie by its premise.
Writer-director Brendan Steere knows exactly what he’s doing with his second feature. He plays with expectations, toys with budgetary constraints – there’s a great gag early on where an explosion should have been, and instead you see an empty street with the subtitle, VFX Car on Fire – and surprises throughout with a script that’s funny but not overly wink-wink campy.
When Father Doug Jones (Greg Cohan) loses his parents, he seeks solace from a mentor priest. “So, your parents died on you, Doug,” the priest says. “That’s what parents do. You’re in a better place.”
The priest tells Doug to “go where you think God will not follow,” so Father Jones travels to China and meets a woman who calls him the ‘Dragon Warrior.’ She gives him a giant tooth, which he promptly cuts himself with, and he winds up back in the U.S. at his church.
Before long, the VelociPastor is cleaning up the dirty streets, which are overrun by gangs and crime.
Steere also gets high marks for the special effects in The VelociPastor, which range from awesome to so-bad-they’re-awesome. There are full-body explosions, decapitations and some nice ninja kills. That’s right, I said ninjas!
And, whenever Father Jones transforms, he really does look like he’s wearing one of those omnipresent inflatable dinosaur Halloween costumes, only his is a lot sturdier, but it works perfectly for this film.
The VelociPastor is not a movie for everyone, but for those of you who aren’t lame and who love a gory great man-becomes-dinosaur horror-comedy, this just might be one of the best movies you discover this year.