Fragmented Films Nov 2012

Bad Boy Bubby as an even handed, freakishly calm, immaculately attired boss? Hmmm. Maybe not. But what about if he guts someone in front of you whilst spewing forth management speak about being a team player? Yep that’ll work.

Gratuitous slasher films are a dime a dozen. But few feature Bubby himself, Nicholas Hope, a man who conjures unhinged with merely a twitch of the eyebrow, as the villain.

There’s a depth to Red Inc (Pinnacle) that feels forced, perhaps a little too metaphorically clever, with victims literally chained to their desk and ruled over by a boss from hell. Yet it is clever, increasing the tension through a mixture of messing with horror cliché, cheekily refusing the payoff, and some truly gruesome and depraved acts.

When mid sentence Hope takes his hand off and reveals a hook you almost begin to cheer.

The tone varies dramatically. Yet its inconsistency only adds to the joy.

For some reason the filmmakers choose to utilise unconvincing US accents, but they know enough not to have the characters speak all the time. The unauthenticity really becomes apparent when compared to Tom Savini’s voice, who pops up as a sex crazed link in the chain. Yep that Tom Savini, the makeup and gore genius behind Dawn of the Dead and Friday the 13th, which is why those pencils shoved through limbs, occasional beheadings, and random eye scoopings look so convincing. In fact Savini’s tips for creating realistic blood, and his technique of shock treatment on maggots in the extra features are nothing short of gold.

Two of the victims’ hands meet over the desk. He says, “this job sucks,” and she (and the filmmakers) resist the desire to stoically say “I’ve had worse.”

Which is why Red Inc works. It teeters on the edge of clichéd cheese, particularly with its eye on the US market, yet its violent sadism, killer effects, and not to mention Hope’s genuinely spooky performance really offers something compelling and frequently scary.

There is also an interview with the effects guru in the special features of Equinox (Umbrella). Yet Dennis Muren’s effects in this 1969 B-movie are a little less special. Muren, who would go on to work on Star Wars actually directed Equinox himself, before inexplicably handing it over to another director, Jack Woods, who added a bunch of creepy scenes involving him and his eyebrows.

The beauty of Equinox is that it is nonsensical. Characters do the opposite of what any normal person would do. The haircuts are bouffant, and rarely move, Satan appears on a horse, as do a whole bunch of monsters. And when they urgently need to find a stick to ward off a giant monster attacking them, the monster calmly waits as they furtively search.

It’s b-movie hell for sure, yet it’s so totally insane that it comes close to genius.  When a group of kids find an evil book deep in a mineshaft and incant out a bunch of demons ten years before Evil Dead, they’re forced to fend off all manner of non-frightening plasticine creatures in the most unconvincing ways possible.  What’s not to like?

 

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