According to Lloyd Kaufman, so some of it is probably true, Pericles Lewnes and George Scott wandered into the offices of Troma one day in the late 1980s with a finished movie they wanted Troma to distribute. Kaufman and his business partner Michael Herz agreed, on the condition that Lewnes take on unpaid work at Troma to work off the money Kaufman was sure this movie would lose for the company. And, thus, Redneck Zombies was unleashed upon the world.
Directed by Lewnes from a screenplay that has to be a pseudonym for either he or Scott, Fester Smellman, Redneck Zombies is one of the more ambitious efforts, gore-wise, that has been featured in It Came from the Camcorder. In tone, it fits right into the Troma stable, as Lewnes was very much a fan of their work. As the title implies, this movie is about zombies, who happen to be rednecks. Continue reading “It Came from the Camcorder: Redneck Zombies”
By 1993, when Ozone was released, J.R. Bookwalter had already established himself as Akron, Ohio’s finest filmmaker. That’s not a knock on Jim Jarmusch, just an acknowledgment that Bookwalter actually shot his movies in Akron.
The filmmaker behind such trash horror classics as The Dead Next Door and Robot Ninja, Bookwalter began his movie career shooting on film, before making the switch to video for Kingdom of the Vampire in 1991. After a string of shorter movies, Ozone returned Bookwalter to full feature length production. Continue reading “It Came from the Camcorder: Ozone”
Before Vampire Cop, before Chainsaw Cheerleaders, and before Bigfoot Exorcist (incredible titles, all), shitty movie auteur Donald Farmer gave us Demon Queen, an SOV quickie that boiled down a simple horror story into its basest elements.
From 1987, Demon Queen tells the tale of Lucinda (Mary Fanaro), a demon, or vampire, or something, who stalks the streets of Fort Lauderdale picking up unsuspecting males and ripping their hearts out while they are in postcoital afterglow.
Her latest victim, whom she strings along for most of this movie’s short 54-minute running time, is Jesse (Dennis Stewart). Jesse is a street-level drug dealer who, in a fit of plot on the part of Farmer, owes money to local gangster Izzi (Rick Foster). Continue reading “It Came from the Camcorder: Demon Queen”
According to the internet, so it must be true, central New Jersey community theater fixture and video store operator Gary Cohen was dismayed that customers rented so much trashy horror when there was a wealth of film history available on the shelves. His response was not to refuse to rent horror flicks, but, with friend and writing partner Paul Kaye, to make his very own trashy horror movie. On video, of course.
If one is into SOV horror, Video Violence, from 1987, is essential viewing, as it’s a common entry on various SOV lists. It follows real-life couple Art and Jackie Neill (also longtime players in central New Jersey theater) as Steven and Rachel Emory, a pair of transplants from New York City who have settled in Frenchtown, New Jersey, looking for peace and quiet. Steven gave up his dream job of owning a movie theater to open a video rental store, while Rachel left a job at a law firm to take a position in Frenchtown’s administration. Their town is not as welcoming to the newcomers as they wished, nor is it as quiet. That’s because the residents of the town have become addicted to slasher flicks, and after being desensitized to the fake stuff, they have gotten into the habit of making their very own snuff videos. Continue reading “It Came from the Camcorder: Video Violence”
How obscure is Night Ripper!, the 1986 SOV slasher flick from writer, director, and producer Jeff Hathcock? Well, it doesn’t have a Wikipedia page, which is a start. More impressive, however, is the Wikipedia page of featured player Larry Thomas, famous for playing the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld. The filmography section on his Wikipedia page lists every movie he’s been in with the exception of Night Ripper! Here at Missile Test, we consider that a glaring omission. Someone out there is trying to make the internet forget that he was in this dirty dog of a movie. It wasn’t Larry, as his account doesn’t list edits to his filmography. I’d add it to his page myself, but the only unpaid work I do online anymore is for this lovely website. Anyway…
Night Ripper! is not one of those SOV horror flicks that sprung from the mind of some horror fans out in flyover country. No, this is a Hollywood production, with many different departments and many different crew members. What it doesn’t have is a list of cast members in the credits alongside their corresponding character names, and only three have photos on IMDb, so I’ll be making my best guesses as to who played which role.
James Hansen (I think) plays Dave, who, along with Mitch (definitely Larry Thomas), owns a photography lab and studio. Older readers will remember this type of store, where folks could go and have their film developed, or get some glamour shots taken for their significant other. Continue reading “It Came from the Camcorder: Night Ripper!”
Cheap, irreverent, gory, and gloriously stupid. If there are four descriptors essential to a successful SOV horror flick, those are it. Prolific shitty movie writer/director/producer Jeff Leroy’s 2000 flick, The Screaming, has all of those, in decent proportion. Although, I don’t think it would have hurt matters any to have a bit more gratuitous nudity. But, that’s a personal preference.
The Screaming stars Vinnie Bilancio (who also has a producer and production design credit) as Bob Martin, a Marlboro enthusiast and graduate student in anthropology at an unnamed southern California university (the university was played by CSU, Long Beach). Like many graduate students, Bob is flat broke, and thus has to take the cheapest off-campus housing he can find. In this case, it’s a single room in the back of a house owned by blonde bombshell Crystal (Wendi Winburn). Continue reading “It Came from the Camcorder: The Screaming”
It’s not uncommon in the world of SOV horror to discover that the movie one is watching was not released until many, many years had passed from its production. In general, these are bargain-basement movies, the final result of which may leave its makers and distributors leery of release. In other words, sometimes a movie is such shit that it gets stuck on a shelf and all-but forgotten about. Such is the case with Cards of Death, which sat unreleased for 28 years before Mondo Video dug it up. From 1986, Cards of Death is a horror/thriller from veteran Burbank actor Will MacMillan. Taking his first stab at writing and directing, MacMillan crafted a very bad, but also quite watchable, shitty movie from little more than videotape and breasts. Continue reading “It Came from the Camcorder: Cards of Death”
David A. Prior had a dream. He wanted to be a Hollywood screenwriter. According to the internet, so it must be true, Prior decided to help that dream along by making a shot-on-video horror flick that he hoped would demonstrate his potential as an employable screenwriter. And, you know what? It didn’t work! Instead, his movie was a springboard to a career as a screenwriter, AND a director, AND a producer. This was the first, and only, movie that Prior shot on videotape. After this flick, he hit the b-movie big time, shooting on 35mm film and working with production budgets in the six figures. Continue reading “It Came from the Camcorder: Sledgehammer”
From our friends and neighbors in the Great White North comes Psycho Pike, the 1992 SOV eco-horror/ black comedy flick featuring a mutated fish capable of decapitating unwary anglers.
Brought to life by writer and director Chris Poschun, Psycho Pike follows four college students who travel to remote Lake Shippagew somewhere in the wilds north of Toronto for a weekend getaway. They are: couple Tim and Dara (Wayne McNamara and Sarah Campbell) and couple Reg and Rhonda (Douglas Kidd and Dawn Kelly). To add some personal drama, Tim and Reg are best friends, and Rhonda used to be Tim’s steady girlfriend, breaking up with him so she could hook up with Reg. That drama isn’t necessary to the plot, but something had to fill the spaces between the killer fish doing its thing, and infidelity is as good a device as any other. Continue reading “It Came from the Camcorder: Psycho Pike”
Pro-tip for all you aspiring amateur filmmakers out there that are contemplating shooting an independent, low-budget horror flick on your phones: don’t short your viewers on the gore.
I’m not saying that one has to make an anatomically-correct splatter fountain like Violent Shit, but the hardest of these SOV horror flicks to watch for this year’s Horrorshow have been the movies devoid of spectacle. If there’s one thing that all these films have in common so far, its problems with their pacing. Whether it’s inexperienced storytelling or a thin screenplay, it takes an experienced shitty movie viewer to not be bored to death by these movies. That makes gore an essential element of their watchability, because it’s the most reliable way to get the audience to pay attention. Continue reading “It Came from the Camcorder: Blood Lake (1987)”