Bam! A double feature for your sorry butts! Yeah, I couldn’t post a review yesterday due to personal stuff going on, but, I had originally intended to do Volumes 2 and 4 (The only two that I own) as a double feature, so I guess it worked out alright. Well, let’s get this show on the road!
Let’s focus on part 2 first, mainly because I don’t have much to say about it. The best parts of this documentary are the one to two minute host segments with Brinke Stevens, famous horror scream queen responsible for Monsters and Maniacs, one of the most sought after tapes in the Donna Michelle line up. Wait, we aren’t talking about the films of Donna Michelle, are we? No! We are talking about the long, boring and drawn out nature of Shock Cinema Volume 2. I have not seen volumes 1 or 3 yet, but if they are anything like this one, they sound like really bad wastes of time. I think the main problem with this volume is the fact that THERE ARE NO MOVIE CLIPS USED. They have some pretty interesting interviews on here, but they can barley keep my interest because it is just the interviewee shot against a white wall talking for a few minutes at a time. Then we cut to Brinke talking about horror movies and the like. I would love to see a whole movie of the Brinke segments, because they are actually pretty interesting. We see her at a video store, Forrest J. Ackerman’s Sci Fi mansion, and a few more places, and she never gets dull. She makes a really good host, and she can make almost anything sound good and entertaining. ALMOST. “Oh, you want me to watch some old people talking in front of a white wall for a few minutes? Deal!”.
Look at this list of people, and tell me you wouldn’t want to see them talk about their movies for a few good minutes at a time:
Now guess what? These are all the interviews I am calling boring. All the interviews seem very awkward and straight laced, and the lack of music or clips from the movies helps cement that. All of the people people being asked questions seem very bored, and while that is not the editor or director’s fault, (Entirely, anyway) it is a drag and gets old really fast.
The tape is not to rare, and the box is even less rare, due to the way the tapes were released. I will get more into that, but if you are looking for a price range, expect to only pay five to ten bucks.
Now, onto part 4! Oh joy…
Oh joy is right! This volume kicks ass! “Why?” you might ask, well, because this one seems to have stolen all the behind the scenes and video footage for itself, and refused to give any to volume 2. Actually, looking at it that way, volume 4 is kind of a jerk. Sadly, this one has no host footage of the lovely Brinke, but, it does have her nice voice, so all is not lost. Have I gotten to how awesome this movie is yet? No? Well, let me dig right in then. The film cuts the interview bull-honky and instead goes for the make up effects rout, much like Splatter, The Architects Of Fear. We see very, and I mean VERY in depth looks at the making of most the effects from the slasher movie in disguise Murder Weapon (1989) and Robot Ninja (1989). We see the effects crew work their bloody magic as they blow up heads, sever arms, and gouge eyes. There are no boring scenes, and all the BTS footage is inter-cut with the actual scenes from the movies. It is almost sad how many times better this installment is from volume 2.
There is not much to talk about in the way of plot or characters here, but I can say this. If Splatter was to jokey for you, and focused a little to much on the story of the amazons and mutants, than this is the movie for you. This movie talks literally NOTHING about what is going on in each scene, and that one little detail might be this film’s only downfall. Why are we watching someone get their eye gouged out? Why are we seeing someone get a broken bottle in their neck? Who knows, and who cares, go out and buy Murder Weapon and Robot Ninja to find out why these people die the way they do. I think this movie might actually have been made to sell upcoming and past releases for Cinema Home Video, and releases from the production company behind MW. Before the movie we see an amazing compilation of clips from past CHV movies, but then some clips from Deadly Embrace (Released on Prism entertainment and starring Linnea Quigly, the lead in MW). I am pretty sure this whole Shock Cinema series came out as a promo, Brinke would host and in return her and Linnea’s movies would get featured, and CHV could plug their stuff as well. The film concludes with some gory clips from Skinned Alive and Ghoul School. An interesting note about the clips from Ghoul School: the film shows a few minutes of behind the scenes from the not-so-infamous gym massacre, even though the DVD of GS says all the BTS footage on the disc was never-before seen footage. Well, the disc wasn’t lying, because the footage used in SC vol. 4 is not on the DVD of GS, and vise-versa.
These films would be perfect for any fan of the whole “Late 80’s early 90’s low budget horror comedy” scene, but the fact that one is unbearably boring and one is amazing and flies by like a minute makes them very un-even watches back to back. If the two were blended together some how, and were touched up each, I think you would have the quintessential documentaries for the alternative cinema gore hounds. If these movies (and the others in the volumes, though I have not seen them yet) were fixed, and released in a DVD box set, you would have one of the greatest things in existence, but, for now, these little known “Gems” are still buried in the annals of time. The only volume of SC listed on Amazon right now is 2. I got volume 4 in a trade, so I have no idea how rare it is.
If you plan on tracking all of these volumes down, get used to seeing this a lot:
The reason this will be a main-stay for your SC collection is because the only differences on the boxes for each volume is 3-4 stickers. I guess CHV printed a bunch of boxes for volume 1, and then decided to save costs, used those boxes to release the other volumes, because the printing on the cardboard is the same on all of them. There is a simple sticker saying “VOL._” on either both or one side of the box and the front, and the back has a sticker listing what you will find in the volume you have rented over the original list for volume 1. They look amazing on the shelf next to each-other, but at a price. Some boxes were not fortunate enough to have a “VOL._” sticker on the front, so if you want to actually show someone your tape, they will think you have the first volume.
Over all, see volume 2 if you have a very strong sense of patience, but it is not necessary viewing to enjoy volume 4. Volume 4 is exactly what it should be, fast, gory and interesting. What it lacks in Brinke is makes up for in Linnea, and gore. Gore helps to.
There is a DVD out there somewhere, but I have yet to find any link to it, and it could be WAY OOP.
If the films of CHV strike a cord with you that makes you smile, than look no further… than volume 4. As I have said countless times, skip the one with talking and get the one with murder, I have lived my life by that saying, and look where it got me. Actually, that said, you should probably get the boring one.
-Johnny .D 5/31/12