Posts Tagged ‘Catacomb Of Creepshows’

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As is fairly obvious to regular and/or unusually observant readers of this site, your host has been on quite a tear as far as these Mill Creek/Pendulum Pictures DVD bargain boxes go lately. And it occurs to me, perusing through my more recent postings, that I’ve only bothered to write reviews of “product” I found on these sets that I was, shall we say, less than fond of. In the spirit of absolute fairness, then, I think it’s only right that I scribble down some musings about at least one of these microbudget backyard horror “epics” that I actually like, wouldn’t you agree?

And so it’s my distinct pleasure to introduce you, my dear readers, to the $12,000 slice of sublime joy that is writer/producer/director Dave Wascavage’s Fungicide. One of two SOV flicks that he made in 2005 hot on the heels of the “success” of the previous year’s Suburban Sasquatch (the other being a rather blase affair entitled Tartarus), this straight-outta-redneck-country-Pennsylvania 80-or-so-minuter tells a pretty simple tale about a mad scientist who’s holed up in what’s supposedly a “bed and breakfast” (it actually looks — okay, fuck it, is — a conventional home that hasn’t been B & B’ed-up in the least) and ends up testing out his latest super-serum concoction on the local wild mushroom supply. Soon the other guests at the “inn” — a  motley collection of hilariously predictable stereotypes on legs — are under attack from fungi that have transformed into intelligent, ruthless killing machines!

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Wascavage is lot more ambitious in terms of his CGI usage here than he was in Suburban Sasquatch, and the reults are, if anything, even worse. I mean, seriously — the effects “wizardry” on display here makes Birdemic look like a master’s thesis at the ILM training school (if such a place actually existed an’ all). It’s a damn good thing that the weirdly-boxed full-frame image on this film is so washed-out and hideous-looking, because if we could actually see these killer digital ‘shrooms in crystal clear, high quality resolution they’d certainly look even more hysterically shitty than they already do. in other words, don’t expect a Blu-Ray release for this flick anytime soon.

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Still, ya know what? As lousy-in-a-fun-way as the computerized fungi are, the film really kicks into a whole ‘nother gear when they become so giant, so deadly, and so bloodthirsty that Atari 2600-style graphics just won’t do the job and Wascavage has to resort to people wearing beige(-ish) bedsheets and cardboard (I think) muffin-top hats in order to “convincingly” portray the full fury of his homicidal mushrooms gone wild. You need more proof than my mere say-so on this? Here ya go —

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And that, right there, is pretty much what Fungicide is all about. Its raison d’etre, if you will. Get a bunch of friends together, go out to the woods,  throw some grade-school-play costumes on , cut loose, and have a good time.  If anybody out there in the entire universe is stupid enough to want to watch the thing apart from friends and immediate family members, so much the better. This is the pioneering DIY spirit of a Nathan Schiff (minus his sociopolitical commentary) back from the dead, and it’s good to see that some people with no actual talent, certainly no actual budget (IMDB lists Fungicide‘s total  expenditures as being $12,000, but that seems pretty generous) and, at the end of the day. nothing much to really even say are still more than willing to just go outside with a video camera and shoot something for no other reasons than that they’re bored, and they can.

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As for which Pendulum box I found this  hiding it, it’s the 12-disc, 50-film Catacomb Of Creepshows collection. As already mentioned, the picture quality is positively atrocious and the stereo(-ish) sound is just as lousy — at least! — to boot. It’s also available as a stand-alone release from Wascavage’s own production “company,” Troubled Moon Films, and their release is supposedly a two-disc set loaded with extras — although, according a friend and fellow bad movie buff on facebook, his two-disc “special edition” arrived with only one disc in the case and it was strictly a bare-bones affair. He doesn’t mind in the least, and I can’t say as I blame him since that’s pretty much Fungicide  in a nutshell : a cheap, bad,  sub-sub-substandard, waste of time rip-off — that you love to pieces anyway.

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Okay, here’s a weird one : the “plot” (and I use that term very loosely) of 2008 shot-on-video n0-budgeter Dee Flowered  (alternately listed on IMDB and other sites that bothered to take notice of it at all as a single word,  Deeflowered ) apparently revolves around the spirit of Jack The Ripper which has, through methods unknown, settled upon a small town, and proceeded to drive the local residents apeshit.

Or so we’re told in the quasi-official-sounding descriptions of writer (I think)/director (I’m sure) Johnny Walker’s little opus of amateurism  floating around out there that had to have been written by somebody at some point, right? There’s just one problem : the movie itself makes no reference to this at all and instead proceeds to show us a series of thoroughly disjointed scenes that make no sense whatsoever. Not that this or any other flick actually needs to make sense in order to be, ya know, good, but the fact is that Dee Flowered just straight-up isn’t.

I’m all for weirdness for its’ own sake as much as the next guy, but shit — somebody needs to tell Walker (whoever he really is — hell,  even this guy’s pseudonym isn’t especially creative) that there’s such a thing as trying to hard to be strange, and Dee Flowered passees that point about ten minutes in.

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Consider : Dr. Sunny Day runs an abortion clinic called, fittingly enough, Sunny Day Abortion Clinic. He does things the old-fashioned way, with straightened-out coat hangers, turkey basters, you name it. He’s also apparently got a lucrative side trade going supplying aborted fetuses and , so it seems, even full-term babies to the local Satanic cult, as well as the dog food processing plant in town (when they run out of horse meat). Sunny’s got a fake beard, but within a few minutes you’ll scarcely notice because almost everyone in this flick has a fake hair attached either to their chins or scalps for reasons that — well, fuck it, they just do.

Now, maybe it’s just me, but it seems that in the proper hands, this sort of premise could actually be, God (if he actually existed) help me, kinda funny. Unfortunately, in Walker’s hands, it gets buried under an avalanche of either only tangentially related, or completely unrelated, crap. Like what, you ask?

Like the comings and goings of a mysterious hooded figure who shows up and kills people but can apparently only be seen by the detective investigating the case, the Maniac Cop himself, Robert (“will act for food”) Z’Dar. Or the “story” of some unattractive couple who spend all day  in bed and are visited by a  fairy-like character called The Birthday Queen (who actually is rather fetching), who proceeds to get nekkid with them and spinkle their bodies with glitter. Or the random appearances of a grown man in a giant Easter Bunny suit. Or the cannibalistic (at least it seems, at any rate — hard to say for sure) nocturnal rituals of the aforementioned devil worshipers.

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If each of these things sounds, to you, like it has pretty much nothing to do with any of the others, congratulations. You’re right. Not that it matters much, since none of the questions that naturally arise while watching this film are ever answered. Why is Robert Z’Dar sweating all the time and walking with an affected, exaggerated limp? Why is the boyfriend of one of the Sunny Day clinic’s — uhhhmmm — clients jerking off in the lobby? Why does Dr. Day’s midget, missing-toothed assistant, Griffen, get pissed on by some random drunk? And perhaps most importantly — what superhuman persuasive power does Walker possess that enables him to convince chicks to take their clothes off  in front of his camera for, mostly likely, not money whatsoever?

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Still, like I said, about ten minutes into this thing, the one question you’ll have that dwarfs all others is — why the hell am I still watching this ???? Of all the mysteries offered up by Dee Flowered , trust me — that’s the most unfathomable. It’s not even stupidly, entertainingly bad, as so many of the films we take a look at around here are. Nor is it anything like the shocking, transgressive work that Walker so obviously is striving for. It’s both dumb, and dull. I can usually abide one or the other separately just fine, but combined? Forget it. Some things a re a bridge too far even for this admitted full-time denizen  of the celluloid (and video) trash heap.

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I caught Dee Flowered as part of the “Catacomb Of Creepshows” 50-movie bargain pack from Pendulum Pictures, the Mill Creek sub-label that specializes in these kind of homemade films gone horribly awry. There’s a lot of essentially un-watchable garbage in this set, but with it’s nauseating mix of third-grade bathroom humor, faux-surrealist pretentiousness, half-assed gore effects,  entirely forced an uninvolving confusion-just-to-be-confusing, and rancid, completely unshocking “shocker” moments, this is easily the worst of a  decidedly lousy bunch.

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On the plus side, it’s only — mercifully! — 55 minutes long. Who says I don’t know how to end things on a positive note?