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Blood and Sex Nightmare
Mostly I forgo the urge to start writing my review before I've actually watched the movie. In the case of Blood and Sex Nightmare, I find it impossible. You think I'm going to rip it, too. With a name like that, and coming from Alternative Cinema (the folks who bring you Misty Mundae and Seduction Cinema) it's got to be worthless, right? Nah, G. You see, I checked out an extra first, the rap music video The Devils Everywhere, featuring a bit-player in the movie (Assistant Director Carlos Silva) AKA EYEZ the filmmaker EMCEE, rapping. This song and video pulls a trick so smooth; being funny as hell, profane, hard and slammin' all at once. The inclusion of this rope-ass video on the Blood and Sex Nightmare DVD automatically boosts its rating one level (for the right audience).
Weird thing is, B&SN doesn't even need the help. What a surprise, for a movie with no legitimate reason to be as good as it is. Look at the demerits: released by Alternative Cinema, (according to the liner notes) filmed for $3000, titled Blood and Sex Nightmare. I mean, yes, the title will lure the punters, but this has got to be utter crap, right? Wrong! Clocking a mere 57 minutes, B&SN feels just right, neither rushed, nor overlong. Essentially a demo reel of lifted horror bits, it manages to be funny, gross, disturbing and kinky while actually taking itself seriously, and earning respect.
What a stupid plot: a blue-balled suitor invites his frigid girlfriend to a 'Sex Retreat' in the hills, unfortunately said retreat is haunted by a serial killer/rapist aroused by all the sexin' and intent on killing everyone by any implement necessary.
I'll even admit to being at somewhat of a loss as to why I liked B&SN so much. It's certainly an assured effort; the shoestring budget is totally belied, and film craft on display is solid - marked by decent pacing, effective lighting, good cinematography and a complete understanding of exploitation and its fans. Well, I guess that sums it up, but looked at from another angle, this movie should be roundly hated.
With a slight twist on the 'campers in peril' genre, B&SN fronts a non-stop barrage of homage. Attitudes, tropes, mini-set-pieces and whatever else are boosted wholesale from NOTLD, Evil Dead, F13, J-Horror and whatever else. Street-fighting boldness of theft is only one reason why such larceny feels fresh and funky. A bunch of off-the-cuff, barely acceptable performances characterize the work, male lead Andy McGuiness is particularly bad. Yet, the women actors fare much better. While nude ones camp-it-up with lovely abandon, female lead Julia M. Morizawa plays admirably straight with a pretty convincing and emotional performance. EYEZ even gets a cameo (a nasty one) with which to display total comfort in front of the camera.
Director Joseph R. Kolbek seems to display an innate understanding of the science of boobs and blood, delivering plenty of toplessness, bottomlessness, naughtiness, full-frontal jumping jacks, disgusting bloodletting, terribly misogynistic violence, castration, undead-blood-masturbation and other things too horrible to mention. Budgetary constraints reduce much of the carnage to quick-cuts and karo-syrup splashing the walls, but thanks to the power of suggestion (and Lewton-esque shadow-play - wha?) this feels like a much more graphic movie.
Old-school '70s horror music by Scott Morgan also adds to the atmosphere. Well-placed and matched to visuals, the judiciously deployed soundtrack delivers a jolt or two while effectively demonizing our outdoor settings. Heck, they even had their stuff together enough to do a little ADR when source audio didn't cut it. Kolbek knows exactly what he's doing with B&SN. Thoroughly exploitative, this little movie is stupid-as-hell, but it doesn't care, and it never talks down to the audience, even when characterizing them as stoned-out basement dwellers (truth hurts, eh?). As a modern, knowing throwback to grindhouse fare, Blood and Sex Nightmare hits all the right notes.
B&SN fits the Alternative Cinema bill, presented in fullscreen, 1.33:1 ratio from a just-adequate transfer. Carlos Silva's DVX100 (an affordable handheld mini-dv camera) was used for filming, with decent results. Colors are acceptably natural blacks are deep enough (not great) and speckling appears a lot. Some posterizing occurs once or twice, and the image isn't as sharp as one would hope, but what do you expect? Lighting is also very budget-minded, but used quite smartly. B&SN is low budget and it shows, but looks way better than $3000 would indicate.
My guess is Dolby Digital Stereo Audio, as the weird-'n'-warbley music bounces back and forth in your ears nicely. Dialog is mostly clear and easy to hear; mixed pretty well, and if live sound didn't cut it, overdubs were made. Soundtrack sounds budget-great and isn't too loud. Stereo separation works best where music is concerned, while audio range from bass to treble isn't terribly wide. Again, for a super-low-budget release, B&SN sounds acceptably decent.
A six-page Liner Notes booklet from director Kolbek is funny, informative and shocking. The dude says movies like B&SN are no longer his cup of tea! Traitor! You have so much promise as a sleaze king! Two 16mm Shorts from Kolbek's school days display the same canny understanding of the uncanny and snidely awful. Chef Boyardemon takes five minutes to show us a crazy chef supping on babies' brains at the behest of a satanic puppet. A two minute tour de force, The Roarin' 20s takes an excessively nasty and funny look at true love. Both shorts use music, lighting and satiric savagery to great effect - think Romero, HG Lewis and Lynch hopped up on kahlua shots -they're awesome shorts (that Kolbek of course disavows in liner notes). Previews for about a dozen Bloody Earth and Camp Motion Pictures releases are delightfully cheap and gory, with titles like Video Violence, Killing Spree and Feast of Flesh up for grabs. Then there's that awesome Music Video, The Devils Everywhere. Not sure what's up with the punctuation, but EYEZ, you got the spittin' skills. The video has a riotously nasty chorus, some funny super graphics, clips from the movie and Silva struttin' about with a naked undead chick. Like B&SN this video is funny and self-aware without smirking, is nasty as hell and also features great beats from EYEZ' brother DJ Silva. The standard DVD case states a runtime of 120 minutes -off the mark even with the extras - while Amazon lists a runtime of 165 minutes (WTF)?
Viewers will either instantly reject this or want to check it out. For that latter camp, Blood & Sex Nightmare is the Alternative Cinema release you've been waiting for. Cheap, nasty, funny, gross, even a little scary, this is one low-budget exploitationer that rips guts out of all its targets, then defiles their corpses. It's Recommended for you self-selecting members of the audience. For normal people a willful, disobedient glee makes me deliver a Rent It rating, but 98% of you should ignore even that advice.