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last update 15.Ocr.09
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The Gay Bed & Breakfast of Terror
dir-scr Jaymes Thompson
prd Sean Abley
with Mari Marks, Michael Soldier, Georgia Jean, Robert Borzych, Hilary Schwartz, Vinny Markus, Shannon Lee, Denise Heller, Derek Long, Allie Rivenbark, James Tolins, Noah Naylor
borzych and marks release US 13.Jul.07 pglff,
UK 12.Oct.09 dvd
07/US 1h49
gay b&b of terror This low-budget horror is so outrageously cheesy that your enjoyment of it will depend completely on your mood at the time. If it makes you laugh, you'll have a great time with it. But this is because it's so seriously awful.

Five couples descend on an isolated B&B dive for a weekend. Most of them are in town for the notorious Blue Party, and each couple is having issues, prompting lots of extra-curricular activity. Meanwhile, the B&B's hostess Helen (Marks) is up to all sorts of things while terrorising her daughter Luella (Jean), who helps run the hotel. Both are hiding the creepy Manfred (Naylor) from everyone, especially when he goes on a killing spree just as Helen decides to cure one of the gay men as a husband for Luella.

Every character is a stereotype, so they're not too difficult to keep track of, from the drag queen (Soldier) to Mr Leather (Markus), the musician (Schwartz) to the grump (Heller), the cute guy (Borzych) to the hunk (Long), and so on. Each couple contains a life-loving free spirit and an uptight prude, for maximum conflict. But none of them are remotely likeable, and the actors can't do much with the roles. So it's not until after the long set-up, when they start dropping like flies, that things begin to get enjoyably grisly.

Essentially, the movie is a concept without much of a script. It's padded out with ludicrous flashbacks and plot exposition to explain the contrived storyline. Then as it continues, it kind of abandons all logic and descends into all-out chaos. Along the way, there's a lot of strangely shy sexuality that's mostly tease with a bit of random nudity but nothing remotely sexy. And it doesn't help that some characters are played in drag.

In other words, it's so ineptly made that it actually achieves some camp value. The homemade production design, amateurish acting, tacky music, fake-looking blood and wacky 1960s touches (for no reason) all combine into something approaching comedy. And if there's not much you can laugh with, at least you can laugh at it.

18 themes, language, grisly violence, sexuality
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Le Donk & Scor-Zay-Zee
4/5   aka Nicholas and Dean
dir Shane Meadows
prd Mark Herbert
scr Paddy Considine, Shane Meadows
with Paddy Considine, Dean Palinczuk, Shane Meadows, Olivia Colman, Richard Graham, Mark Herbert, Seamus O'Neill, Nigel Reeks, Alex Turner, Matt Helders, Nick O'Malley, Jamie Cook
palinczuk and considine
release UK 9.Oct.09
09/UK Warp 1h15

edinburgh film fest
le donk and scor-zay-zee This hilarious mock-doc has the same tone as Spinal Tap, with a free-flowing stream of throwaway gags. It also captures a terrific comical performance from Considine that finds actual depth beneath the silliness.

Shane Meadows is making a documentary about his friend Nicholas (Considine), who has renamed himself Le Donk as he tries to get his life back in control. His main goal is to help his friend, the young rapper Scor-zay-see (Palinczuk), become a star, and he thinks he's found the venue in a massive stadium concert in Manchester opening for the Arctic Monkeys. Meanwhile, his ex-girlfriend (Coleman) is expecting their child, but her new boyfriend (Graham) seems to be taking over as the prospective dad.

Meadows maintains the documentary format all the way through the film, allowing Considine to create a character who reveals himself even as he's playing up to the cameras. It's a very clever performance that's full of nuance and incredibly quick wit, and we can't help but laugh at everything he says or does. His interaction with the other characters is sharp and often outrageous, from Le Donk's homophobic rants (but wait until the closing credit scene!) to his hilarious attempt to play nice for his ex.

In many ways, Le Donk feels like a Steve Coogan character (Alan Partridge meets Tony Wilson), but Considine adds a strong layer of pathos that sneaks up on us. Even as Le Donk is doing things that are utterly moronic, we can't help but like him and root for him to sort out all the loose ends in his pathetic life. And then there's the amusing banter between Le Donk and Scorz, which adds an astute take on the music industry, complete with the Arctic Monkeys playing themselves.

All of this blurs the line between reality and fiction, movie making and actual events. And it's a blend that's thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. It's also clear that Meadows and his pals are having a great time improvising and playing around while they make this movie, including the chance to take the stage at a huge rock concert. And this raucous goofiness is seriously infectious.

12 themes, language, innuendo
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Surviving Evil
dir-scr Terence Daw
prd Anton Ernst, Malcolm Kohll, David Pupkewitz
with Billy Zane, Natalie Mendoza, Christina Cole, Louise Barnes, Colin Moss, Joel Torre, Gerald Zarcilla, Kim Flynn, Carol Ariola, Heather Tallis, Garret Adams, Clive Jacobs
release SA 10.Jul.09,
UK 2.Oct.09
09/South Africa 1h29
surviving evil An enjoyable B-movie vibe plus vivid characters makes this cheesy jungle thriller far more enjoyable than it should be. And as it gets increasingly ridiculous, the plot gets funnier by the moment. Although perhaps that wasn't the intention.

On an idyllic Filipino island, intrepid survivalist Seb (Zane) arrives to film his new TV show. Tense producer Rachel (Barnes) has a history with sexy cameraman Dex (Moss), while blonde newbie Phoebe (Cole) is trying to learn the ropes, as is local girl Chill (Mendoza). But their guide Joey (Torre) has a dark secret. He also knows something about the mythological shapeshifting monsters that are prowling in search of men to kill and women to impregnate. If anyone survives it'll be a miracle.

With a terrific setting (it was filmed near Durban) and the enjoyably banal setup, the script quickly gets down to business giving the characters as much back-story as possible. And the cast dives in with gusto. Zane has a great time with the fearless, over-serious leader role, Barnes is terrifically on edge from the start, and Torre gets the most ludicrous scenes as the guy who has to explain everything before heading off on his own private mission, which is thoroughly absurd.

From the start, we have the clear sense that these interlopers have no idea what they're bumbling into, and the filmmakers have a great time unnerving them with gigantic bugs, loud night-time noises, rustlings in the foliage, dead-battery phones and a savagely empty village. So even before dismembered arms and toothy dead babies start falling from trees, they're already thoroughly freaked out. Except that we're not even remotely scared, because it's all so inane.

Sure, the whole thing feels like a cheap TV movie, with its straightforward script, too-grisly makeup and orchestrations that swell so much we start to think it's a spoof score (there's even a closing-credits theme song performed by Mendoza). Soapy touches add enjoyable subtext, and the crazy shock moments are hilariously nutty. So by the time Joey starts telling gleefully grisly campfire stories that might be true, we realise that the whole film feels like that kind of story. And you don't really want it to end.

15 themes, language, grisly violence
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Trash Humpers
dir-scr Harmony Korine
prd Charles-Marie Anthonioz, Amina Dasmal, Robin Fox
with Rachel Korine, Brian Kotzur, Travis Nicholson, Harmony Korine, Chris Gantry, Dave Cloud, Paul Booker, Brian Kotzue, Charles Ezell, Kevin Guthrie, Page Spain, Chris Crofton
korine, kotzur and nicholson release US Oct.09 nyff,
UK Oct.09 lff
09/US 1h18

london film fest
trash humpers Filmmaker Harmony Korine continues to push viewer's buttons with this deliberately abrasive mock-doc. He says he intends it to be a modern horror movie, but it's more like a geriatric version of Jackass.

Four senior citizens--Momma, Buddy, Travis and Herve (Rachel Korine, Kotzur, Nicholson and Harmony Korine)--document their antics as they lurk like wayward teens, indulge in pranks and public acts of vulgarity, taunt people they meet and commit vicious crimes, all while cackling with laughter and singing off-key folk songs. They don't seem to live anywhere, but instead roam the streets looking for people they can mock, passers-by they can offend and wheelie bins they can defile.

Besides the escalating tone of nastiness, there isn't a plot. The four leads are clearly young people in rubbery makeup, and the scenes are only loosely connected by echoing sounds and actions, plus those they interact with. There's virtually no dialog, just snippets of sound and a few scenes in which someone tells a story or recites a poem. As it progresses, there's a recurring baby doll motif, as these four nutcases first encourage a schoolboy to bash a doll with a hammer, then continue to deface dolls themselves up to the vaguely unnerving final images.

But vague is the word. Since there's no connection with these clown-like characters, there's also no suspense (or whatever Korine was going for). We're not quite sure whether this is meant to be a commentary on anarchic teens or the ageing Western population. Or perhaps, as one person says, it's about "the grisly facts of what so-called civilisation has done to us". Except that it's so random that nothing rings true.

Korine's last film, MISTER LONELY, was a blast of fresh air, so it's perplexing to see him slip back into this pretentious in-joke. It looks like it was shot on a mobile phone, then transferred to a worn-out VHS tape, complete with severe tracking problems. It's structured like a series of YouTube-type dares punctuated with unfunny jokes, things being smashed and moments of gruesome nastiness. There's even a long rant about why our lives would be better without heads. Well, at least we wouldn't have to endure movies like this.

18 themes, language, grisliness, sexuality
27.Sep.09 lff
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© 2009 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall