Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy

Mask Maker | Doghouse

By Steve Anderson
October , 2011

Mask MakerMask Maker
***
DVD
Directed by Griff Furst
Written by Eric Miller, Griff Furst
Starring Nikki Deloach, Stephen Colletti, Anabella Casanova, Ross Britz
R
2010
90 mins

Originally called Maskerade, Mask Maker is going to seem pretty familiar at first...and it's not going to get much more original later on.

Mask Maker follows a couple who have bought a 17th century plantation home with plans to fix it up. Things are going reasonably well at first if a little strange--they discover they own the entire contents of the house, among which includes antique china and heirloom silver pieces. But the house's history hides a disturbing secret of its own, and that secret is poised to come back and run amok over the couple and their visiting friends.

Yes, it's familiar. But as is ever increasingly the case these days, just because it's familiar doesn't mean it's bad. In fact, despite the sheer undeniable fact that this thing is as familiar as the smell of chicken on Sunday dinner, down to the mask mechanics and the delightfully Friday the 13th 2 style ending, but more on that in a while.

I'm as fond of original stuff as the next guy--likely more so--but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy a meatloaf movie in the truest sense. Meatloaf movies are, basically, the kind of thing you've had a million times before. It's hard to screw it up because the recipe is relatively simple, and it's also hard to do it particularly well. It's good, but nothing special, and certainly nothing spectacular. It might remind you of an old favorite, or of good times spent watching it. The movie itself is nothing great, but it's sufficiently watchable to be enjoyable by itself, and it may be part of something much larger.

The ending is almost a shot for shot remake of some earlier Friday the 13th stuff--I'm reasonably sure it's the second one--but they'll even toss in a little something extra for added value. Nothing I love quite so much as added value, and this definitely qualifies.

The special features are utterly nonexistant. It's just the movie and a chapter select menu. That's all. No subtitles, no deleted scenes, nothing.

All in all, Mask Maker may not be anything special, but it will be half decent to watch. It's going to be great for parties, and I give good odds someone can make a drinking game to this.

DoghouseDoghouse
***
DVD
Directed by Jake West
Written by Dan Schaffer
Starring Danny Dyer, Noel Clarke, Emil Marwa, Christina Cole
89 mins
2009
NR

Ah, the legendary Battle of the Sexes. Sometimes, no matter which side you're on, it seems like you're grossly outmatched. Well, this time, the classic battle of the sexes is about to take a whole new turn for the much, much more violent--not to mention occasionally funny--with Doghouse.

Doghouse joins a group of friends out for a guy's weekend following the recent divorce of one of their own. Oh, it's all good fun and games and drunken debauchery for a while, until a biological weapon is let loose in the town nearest their boys' night out. The weapon in question has turned all the ladies in town into homicidal man-haters the kind of which would no doubt make Andrea Dworkin's...eyes...glisten with delight. Now the ladies have taken up the scissors and swords in a bid to emasculate the gents. Can they--and their manhoods--survive this wild night out?

It's really not a wonder at all that this comes to us by way of the IFC, who's been bringing clever, original, and thoroughly awesome horror our way for some time. This one will be no exception.

Doghouse is alternately funny and thrilling, and plenty of fun all around. It's like Shaun of the Dead, only significantly more so, and any time you can say that something is more Shaun than Shaun--they'll even try the zombie dress-up trick--well, that's a great sign.

It's not every day you find a horror movie that both scares you and makes you laugh, so Doghouse is absolutely worthwhile on that front.

The ending does a great job of bringing the whole thing together, and serves to be downright inspiring in its way.

The special features include your choice of English or Spanish subtitles, a chapter select memu, a pair of trailers for Doghouse, a making-of reel, a blooper reel, a deleted scenes array and some television spots.

All in all, Doghouse does a magnificent job of putting funny and scary in one place and letting it run amok for the two to play off each other. This is terrific stuff, and more than worth a buy, or failing that a rental.

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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