25 February 2012

The Wizard of Gore 2007 - REVIEW

You really have to hand it to the Weinstein Company. For the last couple of years, they’ve been manning right the hell up, and helping to fill the racks of your local American consumer outlet of choice with UNRATED direct-to-DVD, or damn-close-to-direct-to-DVD, genre flicks.

For some reason, I always find myself a little apprehensive to snag these things up. I don’t know whether it’s the box art (usually some relatively cheapish-looking digital quickie, complete with the aforementioned lurid promise of UNRATED horror festivities inside) offending my fartsy, snobbish sensibilities or what, but I always feel a brief stab of blind panic when I consider watching one. I should add, though, that I have not been terribly disappointed by any of the releases that I’ve checked out. BLACK SHEEP was reasonably amusing, in a desperately early-Peter Jacksonesque sort of way, and I enjoyed DIARY OF THE DEAD and THE THIRD MOTHER, despite my initial misgivings regarding both. Also, The Dimension Extreme NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD re-release that accompanied DIARY to the shelves is pretty much the best transfer on the market.

At any rate (or UNRATE), whatever it was that I might have expected from this update of the 1970 H.G. Lewis splatter classic, about a theater of the Grand Guignol where beautiful women appear to be gruesomely murdered, but then appear not to have been murdered at all, but ultimately turn out to have been gruesomely murdered, what I ended up watching was, uhhh, different, to say the least.

Director Jeremy Kasten and writer Zach Chassle demonstrate, up front and early, that they aren’t averse to remixing the proceedings. Kip Pardue (Victor, in Roger Avary’s 2002 adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ THE RULES OF ATTRACTION) opens the film by introducing his character, Ed Bigelow, and Ed’s underground newspaper, The Cacophony Gazette. Ed documents the seediest of bizarro club scenes in whatever post-millennial-noir city it is in which he resides with his girlfriend Maggie (Bijou Phillips). From there, the viewer progresses swiftly past a recurring cartoon bunny image, multitudinous naked nubile bodies, a fair amount of bad music, and two of the strangest Brad Dourif and Jeffrey Combs appearances to date. But you haven’t even gotten to Crispin Glover as Montag the Magnificent yet, bitch, so just sit still – he’s up next, and will gnaw on scenery and Suicide Girls alike.

Depending on your tastes, or relative lack of, there are a plethora of potential pros and cons to be found here. The direction and acting are mostly competent, considering the context. Pardue & Phillips didn’t really do much for me, but Combs, Dourif, and Glover especially, are a hoot. The updated thematic elements felt, to me, vaguely late-90’s-ish, with the whole ‘oh-so-dark-and-vaguely-goth-y’ thing, but that may just be me. Gratuitous nudity (female specifically) abounds. Regarding production values, the visual FX are pretty decent compared to some things I’ve seen recently, but the audio FX are truly the piece de resistance, in my opinion. Half the time, I honestly found myself wondering what dude got the dubious honor of stuffing a microphone up inside a nice, fat, uncooked turkey’s ass, before brutally ripping it apart with his bare hands and a set of Klein pliers. Maybe it’s just because I was listening via headphones, but there seems to be some great splattery sound design going on there.

Anyway, in conclusion, while I’m not sure I can comfortably suggest that everyone should necessarily run out and buy this, it may be worth it to check out if you’re a fan of the principles: blood, guts, boobs, semi-surreal nuttiness, and Mr. Crispin “I have a gynecologist’s chair in my living room!” Glover. The DVD includes the usual assortment of commentary, deleted scenes, and behind-the-scenes production docs (one on the film, one specifically on the Suicide Girls), as well as a few other nuggets.

Reviewed by: Miss J

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