Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy

The Last Horror Movie | Intermedio

By Steve Anderson
May 1st, 2005

The Last Horror Movie
*
DVD
Directed by Julian Richards
Written by James Handel
R
90 mins What does it say about our society when someone can create a film exhibiting the most awful kind of casual brutality and yet make that film so utterly, utterly boring that it's almost unwatchable?

Want to find out? Check out Fangoria's newest release, "The Last Horror Movie."

So what we have here is the story of a wedding photographer with a dark secret--he's a serial killer on the side.

And all this time I thought it was the wedding singers that went insane. But I guess between photographing fat drunken uncles in ill-fitting formal wear, various bridesmaids in matching horrible outfits, and inhaling developer roughly four hours a day isn't exactly a recipe for sanity.

But anyway, Max, the wedding photographer is out documenting his insane antics with the help of a homeless assistant. Max makes quite the charming lunatic, and presents his audience with the mind of a madman. He realizes, to his astonishment, that his audience is shocked by the casual brutality. This leads him to ask the ten thousand dollar question:

"If you're so horrified, why are you still watching?"

He puts forth one answer:

"You shouldn't be. And that's why you are."

Which of course irritates me to no end. The last thing I need is a serial killer trying to tell me it's all my fault that he goes off on the killing rampages. This is the most stunning and inventive example of hypocrisy I have ever had the displeasure of witnessing. The serial killer jams chunks of metal into the bowels of innocent people and it's MY fault because I watch a certain genre of movie.

Sure, Max. And it's the bank's fault I'm broke.

And yes, it's fictional. But frankly, I've heard it before, from pretty much everybody who ever wanted to be allowed their crimes in peace. The callousness with which Max admits his crimes is truly alarming, and we've heard this before too. Watch the evening news some night, and you might well hear a serial killer admit to his crimes with all the remorse and emotion of a man detailing how many pizzas he ate last year.

It is as plain as the nose on my face, which I personally guarantee is both very plain and also very substantial, that Julian Richards was going for "callous brutality."

And there's no doubt he got it. And he got its brother. And he got everything in between and to the sides.

There is also no doubt that "The Last Horror Movie" serves its purpose. Julian Richards wanted to put forth a thought-provoking piece about the nature of maliciousness and satisfaction in life.

What Julian Richards did NOT do, however, was make an entertaining film.

"The Last Horror Movie" wavers wildly between mind-shattering, vicious brutality and mind-shattering, vicious boredom. Long stretches of people eating, Max carrying on conversations seemingly at random, and other, lesser materials are thrown in amidst scenes people being beaten with steel claw hammers.

It is true to life, it is absolutely thought-provoking, and it is as dull as a bag of anvils.

Life is not entertainment. If the reality TV movement didn't prove that fact conclusively, nothing will.

Which is the worst part of the whole business. The fact that this kind of movie, which is designed to exhibit casual mayhem and senseless slaughter at its most egregious could also be the most boring film released in 2005 is profoundly disturbing.

The ending is, well, yipes. Everything from brawls and fistfights to bizarre culinary secrets and of course raving ranting hypocrisy like nothing ever seen before by man is packed into this display of sheer bizarre, and at the same time, vaguely terrifying.

The special features include deleted scenes, a behind the scenes featurette, cast auditions, and a deranged little two-minute short film called "The Shoe Collector" which is actually rather clever in its way. Also, we get trailers for "Corn," "Gypsy 83," and "Virgin."

All in all, Julian Richards' magnificent think piece fails to entertain or even vaguely satisfy. It is the single biggest yawnfest I've seen so far this year, and this is also somehow alarming.

Intermedio
**
DVD
Directed By Andy Lauer
Written By Kraig X. Wenman

This week, I'm brought to you by everybody out at www.Horrormovies.com, which is, frankly, a treat.

But not even THEY have what I'm putting out for you this week, folks, no sir! This is an ADVANCE COPY I'm covering this week. Not even out in stores!

And what I've got for you this week is "Intermedio," a strange little surprise from everybody out at The Asylum, whom I'm convinced is pushing to take over Lions Gate's former slot as the kings of direct-to-video horror by virtue of sheer prolificacy.

So what we have here is the tale of the children of drug pushers who take their friends, pack up their car, and head out for the desert to get their hands on some fine long green, and I'm not talking about money. At least not in the direct sense.

No, they're going after weed, and what you have to bear in mind about "Intermedio" is that weed is very, very important to the plot. Weed is actually as important to "Intermedio" as it was to Snoop Dogg's entire entourage. And frankly, that's kinda scary.

So anyway, they're going after the weed that it turns out has a family connection to our two children of drug pushers, and when they get their hands on the chronic, it has a much higher price than they bargained for.

And I'm not talking five to ten in a Riker's shower stall with a four hundred pound Filipino named Raoul, either.

Now, the biggest thing you're going to notice about "Intermedio" is the quality of the acting. It's literally all over the scale. Steve Railsback, fresh off his stint as Ed Gein in the movie of the same name, projects fantastic menace as the enraged old man. And Amber Benson is clearly enjoying herself in the scary / actiony sections she's given to play.

I'm quite upset with the way things end up for Amber in "Intermedio." Perhaps her biggest scene involves special effects that look like they were lifted straight out of the wreckage that is any film involving Joe Castro. This saddens and angers me by length. Amber is entirely too good to be subjected to this waste of footage.

Although, as good as she is with the scary stuff and the actiony stuff, any scene featuring Edward Furlong alongside her leaves her obviously nonplussed, and seeming very bored.

Not that I blame her. If I had this little Gary Busey-in-training slobbering all over me I would not look all that excited myself.

Speaking of which, Eddie. Oh dear sweet mercy, Eddie. You look horrible. You sound as horrible as you look. And I hate to kick a man when he's so obviously down, but your acting has not improved one whit from that sad and sorry performance you turned in back in the last place you were seen alive, "Terminator 2: Judgment Day."

Eddie's biggest problem is that, at least here, he's got one of three basic, selectable moods.

1. Shouting

2. Talking in an incredibly hoarse manner that suggests he's been shouting quite a bit

3. Panting

There is a LOT of panting going on in "Intermedio." Trust me.

Everybody else, from Cerina Vincent on down through the rest of the no-name cast, manages to do a fairly average job of things, even though they're busily struggling through a script that features choice phraseology like:

"Shut your dyke hole"

and

"What the ass?"

I'm beginning to see why there were no subtitles. No one wanted us to be able to confirm on screen that a character actually managed to say "What the ass?" with a straight face.

But we can't be too harsh on "Intermedio." For better or for worse, often for worse, this is still the first genuine bona fide ghost story we've seen in quite some time.

The ending has its share of twists and surprises, yet still manages to be fairly industry standard for this sort of thing.

The special features include a behind the scenes featurette, audio options, cast and crew commentary, and trailers for "Alien Abduction," "Rachel's Attic," "Way of the Vampire," "Ghost in the Needle," and "Intermedio."

All in all, "Intermedio" is not that impressive of a movie. It has its high points, and its low points, and everything in between. It's probably worth your time to rent, but don't rush.

 

Want to receive an expanded version of Reel Advice as an E-Newsletter?? Email to thevideostoreguy@columnist.com with "The Advisor" in the subject line. 

Steve Andersen, much to his own chagrin, is a five-plus year veteran of the direct to video market. He has spent an alarming amount of time in video stores and seeks to provide the public with advance information on all the video releases that they may never have heard of...whether they want to hear of them or not. Steve appears in one way or another weekly, biweekly, or monthly on such fine entertainment-related ezines as Film Threat, Dream Forge, Reel Horror, Acid Logic, Chaotic Culture Magazine, Malicious Bitch webzine, and many others. Readers, agents, or editors can email Steve at thevideostoreguy@columnist.com




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