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Thursday, October 7, 2010

DVD Review: NIGHTMARE ALLEY (2010)

NIGHTMARE ALLEY is a film that was written, produced, and directed by Walter Ruether and Laurence Holloway and is being distributed by Brain Damage Films. Here is the basic plot from the Brain Damage Films website:

Turn down the lights, grab your popcorn and join your host, the master of the macabre Scarlet Fry, for a hellishly wicked fright-fest guaranteed to freeze your blood! Vengeful ghosts, walking dead cowboys, and other ghastly beings abound in seven tales of shock and terror from beyond the grave. Equally horrific and humorous, "Nightmare Alley" is an over-the-top exercise in shock. Presented completely uncut and uncensored, it will scare the living yell out of you!

I didn't know what to expect when I put this DVD in...the box art and screen shots on the back of the DVD case let me know that this was going to be a very low budget horror film. Sometimes that can be a good thing, but more often than not you end up with a horror film that falls flat. Luckily with NIGHTMARE ALLEY, we get a low budget horror film that is just as entertaining if not more so than many other bigger budget features.

The film is a compilation of 7 different short films, with an introduction between each one by Scarlet Fry, a creepy creature with a horror-ible sense of humor! This is very reminiscent of a film such as CREEPSHOW or a show like TALES FROM THE CRYPT. Scarlet Fry talks about each film you just watched and then talks a little about the next story, often with puns so bad, you can't help but laugh. I love these types of films. Mainly because you get a variety of stories instead of just one story like most films. With 7 different short stories, there is bound to be something here that everyone will enjoy!!!

The seven stories include some great ones, like "A Fistful of Innards", a western with Zombies! Finally a western worth watching! This story contained some great gore effects, all done with practical effects and no CG!! Thank goodness! Another great story was "Slash of the Blade", a slasher film where the slasher commits his murders in broad daylight in the middle of seemingly public areas...a nice twist on the normal slasher flick design, although a somewhat unbelievable twist. Still the story was good and the slasher himself was cool, looking like a weird, chubbier version of Jack the Ripper.

Other stories were good, but lacked something in one way or another. "Meat" was the story of a girl who chops up her boyfriend and feeds it to her neighbor. "The Great Damone" tells the story of a painter who uses the blood from his girlfriend he kills to create a masterpiece (a la Herschel l Gordon Lewis' COLOR ME BLOOD RED). "Rebellion" tells the story of a Devil possessed toy rat that can control whoever possesses the rat. "Death Chat" is a story that will make you think twice about cheating on your spouse. When a woman comes home and catches her boyfriend cheating on her, tempers flare and it ends with a great ax to the face gore effect. All of these stories had enough going for them to keep me entertained, but lacked something from being considered really great, mainly lack of plot or point, or in the case of "Death Chat" some really bad acting. I do have to say, though, for a low budget feature like this, the acting was surprisingly good overall.

Now, with the good comes the bad, and in this film....it is really bad. "Closet Case" tells the story of a punk rock guy waiting on a bench at a bus stop when an overly stereotypical homosexual guy comes up and starts hitting on him. The rocker gets tired of it and eventually takes the gay guy into an alley and stabs him. He finds a gay men's magazine on the guy he just killed, and takes it behind a dumpster and starts to....ahem..read it. That is it. That is the story. What made up for it was when it was over and cut to our host, Scarlet Fry. Instead of having something to say about the story, he just kinda looked at the camera, smirked and shrugged his shoulders as if to say, "I'm not sure what that was all about". He then immediately started his introduction to the next film. This was a very funny move and more or less made the entire story feel like a set up just for that piece of humor. If that was the case, then it worked I guess!!

Overall this was an enjoyable film, if you enjoy low budget horror films. As an aspiring filmmaker, I love these kinds of films, as they contain a lot of cheap effects you can learn from. While not a classic Horror film by any means, it was fun and entertaining, which is what a cheap horror film should be.

DVD special features include Trailers of other Brain Damage Films titles, an Art Gallery, and Writer& Director chat.

CLICK HERE to watch the trailer
CLICK HERE to purchase the DVD

1 comment:

  1. While the acting and writing were amateur as hell, I have to admit, I had fun with this one too! Plenty of gooey gags and stupid humor to keep me entertained.

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