Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy
By Steve Anderson
January 1st, 2006


Directed by Jon Hoffman, Dave Rock
Written by Jon Hoffman, Dave Rock
Starring Julian Berlin, Jonny Mack, Charity Shea, Maxine Bahns
87 mins

MTI offers up a return to the bad old days of the 1980s slasher movie with "Scarred", a movie that seems eerily familiar--because it is!

So what we have here is the story of an urban legend gone badly awry, as they tend to do in this sort of movie. Anyway, a woman is supposedly roaming the woods in search of a new face.

No, this isn't Barbra Striesand we're talking about here! Criminy, people! How dated a reference do you think I can use and still be able to look myself in the mirror every morning!?

But anyway--she's searching the woods for a new face to replace the one she lost in a very loud, grotesque horror movie manner.

And naturally, this is the night the Hansen family decides to have itself a campout.

Bad timing, aisle three, bad timing on aisle three.

So as you probably saw coming before you even GOT to this point in the column, the camping family is going to slam headlong into the face- hunting slasher, with plenty of blood and screaming as the result.

Okay, okay. So it sounds like a yawnfest before you even pop the thing into your DVD player. But how does it watch?

First off, I do hold out just a little hope for "Scarred"--they went the whole movie without going the naked actress route.

And of course you have to applaud patriarch Frank's bald-middle-aged-man's glee at landing a hot young wife. It's very well portrayed.

But sadly, it doesn't take "Scarred" long to trot out the stale, tired horror movie cliches like, around eight minutes in, "Crazy Old Man Who Knows More Than Anyone Realizes." I thought we got enough of these "Don't go up to Camp Crystal Lake!" -style shenanigans back in the eighties.

Not to mention the thirteen minute thirty seconds sequence of "The Ghost Story Is More Real Than Anyone Realizes". Oh, and "Let's All Split Up! We Have A Better Chance That Way!" shows up just before the one hour mark.

I really shouldn't, and neither should you, have expected more than standard slasher movie cliches from "Scarred", which is at its roots a standard slasher movie.

It's a fair movie--this is by turns the best and worst thing you could say about "Scarred". What it does, it does well. But it doesn't do anything particularly special or unique. It doesn't advance on the conventions the genre produced way back in the eighties. In fact, without the advancements in makeup technology and the obvious differences in the video quality, I could swear that this was just some lost and forgotten movie produced back in the eighties for release now. It could well even be a digitally remastered title brought back from the depths of the Paramount vault.

Maybe possibly.

Which is the inherent problem with "Scarred." Nothing new has been accomplished here--we're watching a movie put on by two guys who apparently just loved "Friday the 13th" and made a movie almost exactly like that. Deformed killer, promiscuous kids, clueless adults, ghost stories more real than anyone cares to admit, scary old people acting as oracles--the whole enchilada.

The ending is classic slasher movie, including the appearance of one final cliche: "The Killer Is Dead! Dead! It's Finally Over! Wait...Where... Where'd The Killer Go?" Plus the last couple minutes featuring some of the most truly grating psychobabble I've heard in a long time, and one final surprise that we probably all should have seen coming.

The special features include director's commentary, deleted scenes, interactive menus, Spanish subtitles, and trailers for movies. I don't know which--they weren't on the promotional DVD I got.

All in all, yawn. This is a genre that should have been put out of all of our miseries long, long before now. And though "Scarred" isn't particularly bad, especially if you're into all those old slasher movies from the eighties and wondered what one of them would have looked like with new millenium technology on its side, then run right out and get a copy. The rest of us will be waiting for Something New and Different.

I'll Bury You Tomorrow...Laid to Rest

Directed by Alan Rowe Kelly
Written by Alan Rowe Kelly
Cast Bill Corry, Katherine O'Sullivan, Jerry Murdock, Kristen Overdurf
118 mins

The alarming and downright unnerving tale of love, corpses and murder comes together in "I'll Bury You Tomorrow...Laid to Rest."

So what we have here is the story of a young woman who works at Beech's Funeral Home in the sleepy little town of Port Oram. She then starts taking her work home with her.

And no, not to eat.

At least not eat in the conventional sense, anyway...

That's right--readers of the "Sexy Losers" webcomic will be happy to know that a necrophiliac has once again started working at a mortuary.

Wouldn't that just be the one thing you would love to have, as the owner of a funeral home? You're just about to knock off for the day, after a long day of dressing and making up corpses, and selling some coffins to the bereaved or the soon to be bereaved when you figure you'll go look in on the new hire. Just swing that door right open and say:

"Hey,'s work coming on Mr. Murphyyyyeeeeek!"

And there she is! Your new hire, in flagrante corpses delecti. Yipes almighty.

Even better, the Beeches think that Dolores, their new hire, looks eerily like their own deceased daughter Sharon. The thing that really strikes me most about "I'll Bury You Tomorrow...Laid to Rest" is the sheer number of simultaneous plots going on. We've got deliquent brothers, corpse thieves, evil parents, and several others running right alongside our necrophiliac Dolores. Each separate plot manages to meld into this whole that reminds me of "Needful Things," where several different rivalries played out right along side each other into one whole plot orchestrated by Leland Gaunt.

And man, do they really shoot for authenticity on this one. I've never seen this deep and up close an examination of funeral home practices and procedures.

Perhaps my only real objection is the run time. This little fella weighs in at a monstrous two hours, and I can tell you that there are some segments that could have been cut to back this down to a more reasonable ninety to a hundred minutes with little or no loss. And no subtitles make things extra difficult.

It also doesn't help that the video is of the grainiest possible quality--it looks like it was shot on Super 8 then left on a shelf for a couple months before converted to DVD.

The ending is a real winner, with all of the plots simultaneously coming together in one great big twenty minute rolling train wreck. It really is amazing--an incredible payoff for anyone who actually had the sheer fortitude to follow all the way to the end. Plus, there's a terribly impressive little twist that shows up--anyone else wonder what's in the box?

The special features include deleted scenes (deleted scenes?? This thing already ran two hours, and they cut it down to get there??) under the menu "Dead and Buried," a blooper reel, a photo gallery, and three different trailers for "I'll Bury You Tomorrow...Laid To Rest."

All in all, despite grainy video and a far too long run time, "I'll Bury You Tomorrow...Laid to Rest" is a pretty solid title with lots going on. Perhaps a little too much if you're on a tight schedule, but those with the time and the patience to enjoy the proceedings ought to get a kick out of what's going on here.