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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Carnage for the Destroyer
Carnage for the Destroyer
Tempe Entertainment // Unrated // April 11, 2006
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Bill Gibron | posted April 5, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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The Product:
Over the course of some 15 years, Chris Seaver and his LBP peeps (short for Low Budget Pictures) have made movies for the pure joy of filmmaking. There's never been a real desire to create something classic or socially redeeming. Instead, Seaver is stuck in the gratuitously grand horror subgenre of splatter comedy – and no one is complaining. With a list of terrific titles that tackle everything from reluctant super heroism (Mulva: Zombie Ass Kicker) to outright mainstream spoofing (the LOTR's rip Quest for the Egg Salad), Seaver strives to improve with every film, to move away from the insular aspects of his previous efforts and expand his standing in the realm of independent film. His latest offering, originally entitled Apollyon the Destroyer, has been revamped by Tempe and released as Carnage for the Destroyer. All pointless title changes aside, this is one of Seaver's best, a hilarious look at all things macabre…and METAL!

The Plot:
It's Halloween, and time for the annual Haunted House exhibit to start taking shape. Fantasy metal head Sebastian is traditionally in charge of the main concept, and his goofy gang – including the simian sex god Teen Ape, his half-assed human counterpart Choach, a middle aged matron known as Beatrice, a dim dominatrix named Morgana, and that hick hunk The Maestro himself – are all waiting for his latest bout of inspiration. As it turns out, Sebastian has a dozy. After a bathroom/boner related injury, this lover of fantasy metal and its sturm and D&D drang came up with the ancient mythological demon known as Apollyon the Destroyer. This Viking vivisectionist from ages past is, according to Sebastian, the perfect mascot for their special spook house. Unfortunately, our headbanger gets a little too caught up in his description and speaks the magic words that unleash the ancient Hellspawn. Brain bashing mallet in hand, our ancient avenger comes looking for the individuals that called him out. A few gut munching fright fracases later, along with a trip to the local bowling alley to escape the wraith's wrath, and we end up with quite a lot of Carnage for the Destroyer.

The DVD:
It's time to give Chris Seaver his proper due. No one else in the maddening world of outsider cinema has been as consistently clever and creative as this 20-something talent. Slogging away in relative obscurity, pimping his wares at sci-fi conventions and other genre gatherings, he's developed a crazed cult of like-minded movie lovers, individuals enamored not just with his crude cavalcades of wackiness, but with the entire idea of people making their own personal films. His style is a combination of silly and scandalous, riffing on everything from pop culture to the penis with total disregard for taste or tact. With a sharp eye for satire and an even bigger appetite for the profane (dude loves dirty language, you have to give him that) his efforts are like a recreational Rorschach test of what interests him at the time. Along the way, he's created a few signature characters (that sexual simian Teen Ape, the Don King as Bill Cosby called Bonejack) and championed the nerd as the true spirit of adolescent insight and adventure. While his framing and composition indicate a basic camera skill, and his F/X often look like Kool-Aid mixed with prayers, where this amiable auteur really shines is in his scripting. With each and every film, Seaver proves himself a genuinely witty wiseguy, able to employ the fresh with the foul to make us laugh.

He's also a master at spotting talent. As he did with Missy Donatuti in the title role as the living dead defeating Mulva, Seaver has discovered a true new star with the amazing marriage of Matt Stone and Penn Gillette known as Travis Indovina. A confessed fantasy metal fanatic, Travis looks like the kind of guy who'd be hanging out in the parking lot of an Iron Maiden show, discussing the various incarnations of Eddie with fellow fans. As Sebastian, he's amazing, throwing hand signs and mimicking air guitar as if life is a never ending concert, and he's the surefire star of the show. He's got the cock rock positions down pat, and his screech style of speaking sounds like Ronnie James Dio in the middle of a full out metal howl. He's the remarkable center of Carnage for the Destroyer, and it's thank to Travis that we are transported out of the usual LBP mode. He brings Seaver and his film crashing toward actual traditional comic ideals. Naturally, there needs to be a counterweight to all this sonic bombast, and Sebastian is so strong that Seaver needs two entities to provide the poon-talk. One, of course, is the groin grabbing gorilla, Teen Ape. Some find this monkey masked character more annoying than arresting, but in Carnage, he's got a much better mix of shtick and prick.

The real response to Sebastian is a self-styled lothario named Choach, played with amazing comic skill by A. J. Stabone. A returning character, having first made his presence known in Seaver's Heather and Pugly Crucify the Devil, Choach is the kind of ladies man who doesn't realize that he's more repugnant than randy. His self styled ideas about manliness, including the concept that most of his passion power lies in his sweat, make for some hilarious exchanges. And when he takes on Teen Ape for the favors of a large-chested lover, the resulting testosterone fest is terrific. The rest of the cast also deserves a lot of credit. While she's usually the dork without determination, LBP staple Meredith Host (she's Heather in said series) makes an amazing transformation into a horny dominatrix who thinks everything, including massive stab wounds, are incredibly sexy. Equally impressive is Jen Stone. One of the highlights in Mulva 2: Kill Teen Ape (she made a perfect Vivica Fox stand-in), here she plays a middle-aged yenta with a fleabag full of old wife's tale advice. Though we can see through her costumed deception, she's completely in character the entire time. Add in the redneck as reality star The Maestro (a fine Matt Meister), and a formidable array of ancillary elements, and we've got a great supporting staff.

Yet Seaver is still the center of what is grand about Carnage for the Destroyer. Unlike previous efforts, where a single set (usually his own home) made up the entire production design package, the filmmaker lucked into a couple of fantastic locations. The first is a haunted house attraction, complete with blood spattered walls and lots of maze-like rooms. Most of the movie takes place here, and Seaver makes the most of the loony locale. Even better is a local bowling alley. Recalling the by-gone days of '80s horror romps, the pins and lanes set up provides a perfect place for the film's finale. Seeing such value in a Seaver film seems odd at first, since we don't really expect his movies to play beyond their 'in my own backyard' dynamic. Because his movies are so driven by character and loaded with lewd and crude commentary, the surroundings become secondary. Indeed, just seeing the way Seaver handles over the top histrionics and obvious over acting provides insight into his cinematic rationale. For him, film is an expression of fun, of sharing a good time with his equally obsessed friends. Riffing on Star Wars or celebrating John Stamos, Seaver sees the entire pop culture landscape as ripe for his brand of ridicule. Throw in some decent gore, a few inside jokes, and a lot of anarchic obscenity and you have the live action equivalent of South Park. The only difference is that Seaver doesn't take himself as seriously as Trey Parker and Matt Stone. He's not churning out product for a corporate overseer. He's making movies for himself, and it really shows.

The Video:
Looking substantially better than most of his movies, Carnage for the Destroyer has an excellent 1.33:1 full screen transfer. While some of the interior scenes are a little dark (not overly so), the rest of the film is colorful, and loaded with decent detail. When we later view the gonzo style of shooting Seaver employs to get his shots (it's part of the Making-Of featurette) we marvel at how well such off the cuff cinematography actually looks.

The Audio:
Seaver shows his own personal proclivities with his choice of musical underscoring for the film. Though ska has more or less pulled up stakes and left its attempted overthrown of the pop culture paradigm, Seaver still loves the two-tone tuneage. Its pork pie pleasantry is scattered all through the Dolby Digital Stereo mix. We also get a decent dose of the dungeons and dragons headbanging that Sebastian speaks so fondly of, and unlike previous Seaver efforts, the use of real locations makes the internal microphone recording of the dialogue sound absolutely decent. We barely miss a moment of his clever conversation and character antics in this comparatively excellent aural offering.

The Extras:
Tempe always takes pride in loading up their DVDs with bonus features, and Carnage for the Destroyer is no different. There are two terrific commentaries (one featuring Seaver solo, the other offering up most of the LBP cast and crew) a sensational Behind the Scenes featurette (offering cast interviews from hotel beds?!?!) and an additional 40 minutes of actor rehearsals. Toss in a commercial for "Epic Metal" (a fantastic infomercial-like offering) and a collection of Seaver trailers (including the coming-soon classic-to-be The Destruction Kings) and you have an overflowing package of sensational supplements. The alternate narrative tracks are true studies in contrast. Seaver is self-deprecating, and loves to point out problems and production woes. Yet when surrounded by those involved in the film's creation, he's the center of drunken attention. As a matter of fact, all the extras here point to a kind of playful camaraderie that marks Seaver's efforts. It really adds to the overall digital dynamic of the presentation.

Final Thoughts:
Certainly there will be those who find Carnage for the Destroyer stupid and revolting. Others will see it as lame and amateurish. Indeed Chris Seaver's films have the same personalized preference factors as comedy and music. One person's laughfest is another's ridiculous retardation. Since this critic laughed his ass off all throughout this surreal slasher spoof, Carnage for the Destroyer easily earns a Highly Recommended rating. And when you consider the wealth of added content on the DVD itself, the score is more than appropriate. Thanks to the infusion of new talented blood (Travis Indovina is a face to look for in the future) and a growing confidence behind the camera, Chris Seaver stands on the precipice of greater exposure to the movie watching masses. Here's your chance to get in on the ground floor. If you like sloppy, scatological comedy, if you believe there's not enough crude sex talk in your favorite fright flick, if you believe that the entire horror/comedy genre needs an energizing enema of entertainment value, you'll truly enjoy Carnage for the Destroyer. For its maker though, it's just another step in his never-ending creative drive – and what a wonderful ride it's turning out to be.

Want more Gibron Goodness? Come to Bill's TINSEL TORN REBORN Blog (Updated Frequently) and Enjoy! Click Here

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