Sunday, 22 January 2012


Okay, this requires a little explanation.

A. Shock-O-Rama is the name of a horror movie label owned by Independent Cinema.
B. Shock-O-Rama is the title of this 4-DVD box set.
C. Shock-O-Rama is the title of one of the movies in this set.
D. Independent Cinema also owns the Seduction Cinema label. Seduction Cinema is known primarily for soft-core lesbian movies which are often cash-in's on more popular films like Planet of the Apes, LoTR (Lord of the G-Strings), etc. Some of these are not necessarily parodies as Women In Black (aka Vampire Obsession) is actually a bleak study of alienation (with lengthy soft-core lesbian scenes and some horror) as is The Erotic Ghost.  
 So I've been told.
E. Seduction Cinema's biggest star is Misty Mundae (aka Erin Brown). Others include Julian Wells and A.J. Khan.
F. These three actresses also appear in most of the Shock-O-Rama movies in this collection. This is not a coincidence.

Julian Wells & Misty Mundae


 In praise of Brett Piper
All four of these DTV movies were written and directed by horror vet Brett Piper, filmed on video on a low budget, often in little more than a week. What is surprising is how good they actually are. Yes, that's right, I said good. Well, by cheap DTV horror movie standards. The stories are actually coherent, the characters are all distinctive, the actors aren't great and usually overact but it's forgivable. Piper knows how to frame a scene -I almost commented that the mise-en-scene is quite distinctive but that's a bit pretentious. The films are never dull. Piper eschews (probably for cost reasons) CGI but does use, and quite effectively too for the low budget, stop-motion animation and mechanical effects. Really they look like they were made for ten times the actual cost.

And so the films themselves, in the order they appear in the box.

This is an anthology consisting of three separate stories.
In a piece of meta-fiction, soft-core porn star Rebecca Raven (Misty Mundae) has angrily quit and the two idiot producers are looking for a new star so they watch a couple of short films submitted to them. In the first, a couple of tiny stop-motion aline criminals on the run crash into a scrap yard run by a moron with girlfriend troubles and mayhem ensues which includes a giant robot made out of scrap. This is a lot of fun. Meanwhile Raven has gone to a house in the middle of nowhere, cuts herself shaving her legs in the bath and the blood which goes down the drain resurrects a previous owner. Raven ends up in the toolshed where she finds a... Oh come on, we've all seen The Evil Dead,  haven't we? In the third film, mad scientist Julian Wells is secretly experimenting on some young women, giving them lurid dreams which involve a naked Julian Wells. One such dream turns into a genuinely horrifying nightmare which caught me by surprise when I didn't notice a jump cut where a real woman's body was substituted for a prosthetic. That doesn't happen very often.
I really enjoyed this one.

Screaming Dead
A film of four fifths and one fifth. A cult photographer takes pictures of women under extreme distress because, he says, they expose how women are exploited in society. This is a crock of shit: he gets off on it. After the quite disturbing scene setting, he recruits three women and takes them to a spooky house along with his female assistant and encounters the macho representative of the owners who he doesn't want there but has to be there because he's our hero. Anyway, nutty sadistic photographer spends some time getting the women in the appropriate state of mind -vulnerable and scared- by a variety of psychological tricks including lying, bullying and creating pretend ghosts. Then he -and the rest of them- encounter the ghost of a previous occupant who liked to torture young men but is happy to give women a go.
This is really quite well done. Relatively slow paced, there's always enough happening to keep the interest until gore gets going. Like the previous film, there's an unexpected gore shock which caught me by surprise. The acting isn't up to much but in most other respects this is quite well done. After watching this, I ordered three other of Piper's movies.

Three young people paint-balling in the woods get trapped in house with a mutating bacterium and a mad scientist who risk getting shot at by soldiers if they try to leave and helped by two other scientists in sealed suits. The virus mutates into an ickily effective blob-type thing which could destroy the world. Rather than risk a nuke, the govt decides on a black hole bomb.
Piper really does know how to make an entertaining low budget horror movie. He keeps things eventful  while building up the suspense to his big set-pieces. Lacking the usual ensemble of actors from the other three in this set raises the acting bar a little.
Bite Me!
Mutated blood-sucking ticks emerge from a box of marijuana, a special strain created by the government, and get loose in a strip club. Their bite doesn't kill but it does induce strange behaviour. This one is played for laughs. All three strippers are useless for various reasons. The rat-like manager is fighting off a takeover from butch businessperson Julian Wells (perhaps the best actor of the studios soft-core lesbo porn regulars). The barwoman is a martial arts expert and part-time whore. There's a nutty CIA agent and our hero is a dumb pest controller. Eventually the ticks get really big.
Slightly less fun than it sounds and the weakest in the box, it still is fun.
This is the only photo of the monster I could find. Honest!

To be honest, I wasn't expecting to enjoy this box set (which has plenty of extras) as much as I did. Writer/director Brett Piper is  genuinely skilled in, to coin a phrase, the field of schlock-o-rama. He knows exactly how to create an entertaining junk horror movie which entertains from start to finish and to watch four in a row is, for a horror movie fan, quite a find. I'll even forgive Piper for writing (he didn't direct) Troma's A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell.

Post Script.

Mundae left the studio to work in mainstream Hollywood as Erin Brown and, while she's found some work, she doesn't seem to have done much recently.
Julian Wells left the business and now works as a journalist in L.A.

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