Monday, 18 May 2015

VIDEO VIOLENCE…WHEN RENTING IS NOT ENOUGH ** USA 1987 99 mins

A shot-on-video halfway-point between the hokey SNUFF of the 70’s and the harrowing verite violence of the recent AUGUST UNDERGROUND films, this is like an 80’s Herschell Gordon Lewis picture, complete with endless tedious shots of people driving from location to location and a police station that’s just a normal house with the word “Police” on the front door (it’s also next to a house with the word “Library” on its door). This has added nostalgia value today,
with its central video store setting where big box copies of THE GORE GORE GIRLS, HE KNOWS YOU’RE ALONE, BLOOD CULT and PIECES are among the delights on offer. The small town store proprietors lament their clientele’s limited tastes (“All these people want are horror and slasher movies!”) and receive a snuff movie murder tape through the mail (“Holy shit that looks real!”) that depicts the local postman being offed. Cut to fat amateur filmmaker Howard and grinning “host” Eli, who have devised their own basement-based faux-TV show, during which they cheerfully suggest assorted means of murdering the bound / drugged people they hold captive. VIDEO VIOLENCE combines pre-CLERKS customer comedy moments with uneasy mean-spirited violence, and has a certain retro charm. The villains are especially neat : in an unsubtle commentary on the 80’s demand for gore on tape, the culprits are local folks fixated on the idea of “down home snuff films” and killing visitors and transients to get some meaty footage.

Review by Steven West

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