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Necro Files (Visual Vengeance Collectors Edition), The
The Necro Files came along on the second wave of Shot On Video horror (or something like that) in 1998. I remember renting it then, when I should have known better, still hoping to find that truly horrible blend of sex and horror ala Joe D'Amato, (to whom the movie is dedicated) for reasons.
As the punning title might suggest, the movie both hopes to seemingly ape The X-Files (it fails at that) and also to present a tale of necrophilia, but the twist is, it's necrophilia IN REVERSE! The movie starts off with a bang: a gal with a cute body takes a nice, cleansing shower. She then puts on a robe which hangs open, pats down one boob with a hand towel, and wanders around her house before being raped and killed. Guts are fondled, and the rapist is dispatched with extreme prejudice by a pair of insane cops.
Even more-insane Satanists, some time later, sacrifice a baby in order to resurrect the rapist, who, in zombie form, continues his raping ways with a 24-inch dong. Later the baby becomes a zombie too, and flies around ripping out people's throats. When I think back to first renting this movie, I hear a shrill voice, maybe that of Cheryl Hines from Curb Your Enthusiasm asking "what is WRONG with you?!" I have no answer, only to defend myself with my bitter disappointment in this movie as evidence.
But! If you're maybe a little more balanced an individual, approaching this movie as the extremely broad comedy that it is, and understanding that it's incredibly stupid, extremely amateurish, (possibly deliberately so) sometimes laggy even at a brief 72 minutes, and nonetheless moronically entertaining at that, you might come out ahead of the game. Such an attitude can only help especially when dealing with the screaming performances of the lead cops, primarily that of Gary Browning as Orville Sloane, a performance seemingly culled from the spirit of man 10-deep into a suitcase of Pabst Blue Ribbon, sitting in a lawn chair outside his camper van, where he lives, next to a stream, in a deep valley touched by direct sunlight only a few hours a day.
In a sense, there's no way to judge this movie. A rotting corpse runs around the streets of Seattle, in broad daylight, with a 2-foot-long erection. The cops sit around in their car screaming profanity-laced lines at each other (and no mistake, we are in the realm of one-take coverage here) and one of them consistently kills suspects in order to use their drugs. Various pseudonymous actresses (expertly named, too) get partially naked and engage in kinky behavior before meeting their untimely ends, and the plastic baby doll floats around squealing like Alvin the Chipmunk. I really can't go on, but if forced at gunpoint, I'd have to grant this extras-packed, collectoriffic abomination the DVD Talk Collector Series rating, for the right crowd.
The Necro Files is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, from the archival SD tape masters. (The box claims the movie is presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, but I was not able to achieve this presentation. The widescreen ratio seems fine for what it's worth, the missing visual information doesn't seem to matter too much.) The movie was shot on video with (possibly) consumer grade equipment. Extras indicate director Matt Jaissle, who had shot his previous features on 16mm film-stock, wanted to parody the shot-on-video movies popular when this movie was made, hence the video look. It's interesting to note that per Jaissle from the extras, that Necro Files was shot 100% with natural and/or room light. No special lighting was used whatsoever, and it shows. That said, this looks like you'd expect it to look; the Visual Vengeance imprint takes pains to explain this, so no complaining! There's softness, blocking, and anything else you'd want. Just imagine what this looked like on its original VHS and think of England. For what it's worth, it looks true to its intended aesthetic.
The Stereo Audio presentation here highlights all the good and bad of The Necro Files. Audio seems to have been recorded mostly live from camera mounted microphones, so often street noise overpowers the dialog. It's probably why the cops scream so much. The good consists of Jaissle's pulsing synth score, which, while somewhat repetitive, sets the mood well.
Visual Vengeance goes an extra mile or three in treating this slight, ridiculous, and totally lovable feature with the respect it deserves. I think. Encased in an O-Card featuring new art, (or Slipcover in the parlance of some collectors) the disc is nestled into a clear Blu-ray case with a Reversible Cover Insert that has yet more new art to accompany the original VHS art. Another Insert features even more new art along with thanks and credits on the reverse. A folded four-ways 11" x 9" Poster features even MORE NEW ART (for a total of four new artworks for this one movie). Tucked in the case somewhere, one may also find 12 small round Stickers of the kind once found marking VHS rentals, and a Necro Files branded Condom. That's a lot of swag!
Almost as an afterthought, also included is a brand new Commentary Track with director Matt Jaissle, which provides a decent amount of BTS information at a relaxed pace. And then there's another Commentary Track with Matt Desiderio of Horror Boobs, and Billy Burgess of the Druid Underground Film Festival. Digital lag appears to very slightly hinder the comments of one, so they may have been in different locations to record their relaxed, jokey observations. Both commentaries together equal about 1.5 commentaries-worth of content, but since most of you will be drunk while watching, perhaps the slower pace will be welcomed.
A brand new 6-minute Video Chat with Jaissle as he walks around the movie's cemetery location with a selfie-stick is amusing and inspirational. A 4-minute Chilean Talk Show Segment follows the untranslated mirth of the hosts watching clips from the movie. Dong Of The Dead: The Making of The Necro Files allows Jaissle 20-minutes to cover some of the same ground as the commentary track, but is still quite worthwhile. Optional English Subtitles, the Original Trailer, and other cam-corder-fabulous, exploitation Visual Vengeance Trailers round out the package.
Psych! There's still more, including the effective Super-8 Short: The Corpse which does a lot with a little. Even more charming and informative are a small collection of Matt Jaissle Super-8 Short Films which look to have been made when he was a teen, using his younger siblings and friends. They are sweet, savage, amusing, totally inspirational, reveal Jaissle as a horror freak and present a fantastic time-capsule. Lastly, you get the Necro Files 3000 Trailer, from the 2017-lensed sequel. What, did I forget you also get the entire Necro Files 3000 movie as a bonus as well? You do! (Of note, this movie is filmed almost entirely with toys and dolls, and also features wretched room-sound dialog, rife with echoes. It's a really weird sequel, not without its moments of brilliance, filmed like it was because Jaissle says it was the only way he could do what he wanted. The blood soaked ramen noodles subbing as guts are a nice touch. With all these extras, if you don't rush out to make your own movie, you have no pulse.
The Necro Files is a little gory and offensive. If it were to be taken seriously it would be a pure, rank nightmare, so director Matt Jaissle probably rightfully took the right approach in crafting a parody of contemporaneous SOV VHS horror movies from the time. This tale of a zombie with a giant penis on a raping spree is ridiculous, and features bizarre performances and a DIY aesthetic so strong it's amazing. If that sounds good to you, this Visual Vengeance/ Wild Eye release, overstuffed with extras, merits its place in the DVD Talk Collector Series.