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Attitude for Destruction
Homemade horror films have become the Mr. Creosote of the digital format. You remember the character from Monty Python's Meaning of Life, right? An elephantine man so fat and bloated that his own gargantuan gluttony threatened to burst at any minute? Like that tasteless tub of lard, all this overdone macabre medium needs is one of those tempting "wafer thin" motion picture mints to upset the entire cinematic apple cart - let alone send all manner of noxious sputum spraying across home theaters. While it may seem unfair to say it, the harmlessly hackneyed Attitude for Destruction may just be that belly buster. Trotting out the by now clichéd combination of death rock, mediocre gore, and lots of suicide girl gratuity, this attempted music macabre is about as scary as Axl Rose's ego - and even that's about as realistic as Chinese Democracy ever getting a real release date.
Hollywood Roses are about to hit the big time. Diamond Star Records wants to sign the act, but they have one major roadblock to sealing the deal - lame lead singer Drake. A redheaded rebel with chutzpah to spare, the suits see the frontman has holding the band back. Of course, the minute he learns he's fired, Drake goes after the rest of his bandmates. They eventually beat him to death and bury the body. A year later, things are going great for the group. Their album is hitting and they're about to embark on a massive world tour. But Goth gal Crystal is still making demands of bassists Kurt, just like she did with Drake before. When she learns that she can't travel along with her lover, she decides to enact her revenge. Seems Crystal has been using the dark arts and Satanic sacrifices to guide the Roses' career. Now, she's bringing her boyfriend Drake back for the dead, and he's got some unbelievably bloody payback on his mind.
It would be simple to tear apart the amateurish waste that is Attitude for Destruction (and to paraphrase Homer Simpson, fun too!). Just because something is a labor of love doesn't mean we have to admire it as well. It goes without saying that most of the artistic aspects of the filmmaking here are subpar at best. The acting is clunky, the direction derivative, and the music reminiscent of a trip into Trent Reznor's reject file. Heck, any film that can site Zombie Nightmare as a source of inspiration is bucking for a bruising. Of course, most of this criticism would be viewed as unfair. It fails - or so the argument goes - to take into consideration the blood, sweat, and tears shed by all those involved, and argues for a polish and professionalism that no one, especially not a financially strapped Ford Austin (a solid schlockmeister from way back) could accomplish or achieve. After all, such a slings and arrows strategy would only fire up messageboard mockery while leading to comments regarding how clueless yours truly really is. So instead, let's take a decidedly different approach with this review. Let's try and find the positives among all that's pathetic. That only seems fair.
To start with, Attitude does contain a tasty opening sacrifice. After all, there's not much to complain about when a bare ass naked chick is strapped to an inverted cross and serenaded with selections from Danzig's fever dreams. Even when the sequence turns silly and various laughable incantations are cast, we still enjoy the sight of a blood covered bodkin (there's even a gore-clad dwarf for added oddity). Austin also is very reverential to the music he uses. He never cuts a track off in mid riff. Instead, every tune here is presented more or less in its entirety, giving those with a proclivity toward middling metal their money's worth. Finally, the arterial spray is relatively effective. Granted, it looks like Corey Webber and his F/X crew just graduated from the Tom Savini School of Onscreen Offal, but that doesn't mean that can't handle a basic decapitation. Toward the end, when Drake is supposed to resemble a decomposing corpse, the one or two pieces of blackened pizza dough fail to achieve the warranted look, but overall, the gore is given far more attention than any other facet of this film.
Indeed, Attitude is only for those who have a morbid curiosity for sloppy scares or an actual aesthetic death wish. If you adore the kind of lame fright flicks that Lionsgate used to release with abandon, you'll sync up with everything Austin is offering. Again, Colby Veil is a bit much as Drake, really pushing our 'asshole tolerance' levels, and the rest of the cast seems sold on a deadpan line reading ideal. Aside from the naked babe at the beginning, the promised "sluts" never arrive and the obvious attempts at humor (while the band is being interviewed by a reporter, quips about "concerts on the moon" run under their image ala FOX or MSNBC) come across as laughable - for the wrong reasons. Try as one might to keep a positive outlook and a friendly perspective on such a production, Attitude keeps complicating the proposition. Instead of avoiding the pitfalls the come with every independent terror tale, Austin and company completely embrace them. Before long, we come to except the crappy conversations and the ridiculous sense of forced dramatics. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll should be a helluva lot more fun than this. Attitude for Destruction is more head scratching - or perhaps aching - than banging.
Clearly created out of a camcorder and some ambitious aspirations, the visual element of Attitude for Destruction leaves a lot to be desired. The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen image is clean and crisp, with a nice control of colors and contrasts. Some sequences are a tad too dark, while others suffer from a little too much post-production flashback fiddling. Austin's framing is irregular at best (he tends to cut people and body parts off of the sides of his compositions) and no one will mistake the cinematography for an actual film. Still, for what it represents, the transfer is not too shabby.
Between the musical material (offered up by groups like Hollywood Roses and Dopesnake) and the easily discernible dialogue, the aural aspects of this release are actually fairly decent. Sure, there is a flat quality to the mix, the sonic throb we expect from such heavy tunes never really registering with the channels. Still, the overall sonic situation is solid.
The Extras: Luckily, there is nothing on this disc but a basic menu screen DVD. No trailer. No commentary. No look Behind the Scenes. Some of this material may have aided in our appreciation of Attitude for Destruction, but that's asking a lot of some random tossed together supplements.
Final Thoughts: Nothing about this movie clicked with this critic. From the moment Veil started his bland big toothed rants, there was too much "Attitude" and not enough "Destruction". Even the sleazoid opening wasn't enough to keep his building boredom in check. Still, some are bound to enjoy what Austin is offering (a brief Goggle search seems to confirm such a sentiment). So as a means of making nice, a compromise score of Rent It will be offered. For anyone schooled in the ways of the classic horror film, this mess will be a minor diversion at best. But for those who like their creepshows on the crude and incompetent side, this effort will more than satisfy such dullard demands. Sometimes, a film is just asking for it. After all, the actors here can't even be bothered to play their instruments effectively (The Partridge Family were a more convincing live act). But if you take Attitude for Destruction on its lo-fi face value, you might actually get a kick out of it. But watch out. Mr. Creosote is about ready to pop - and something says this is the last cinematic straw.
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