Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Review: The Carnage Collection

Text © Richard Gary / Indie Horror Films, 2016
Images from the Internet

The Carnage Collection
Written and directed by Bob Ferreira, Derek Ferreira, Kimball Rowell
Point and Shoot Films
85 minutes, 2015 / 2016

Back in the mid-1970s, some low-budget “sketch” sex comedy films came out with names like If You Don’t Stop It…You’ll Go Blind!!! (1975) and Can I Do It ‘Till I Need Glasses? (1977; Robin Williams’ first on-screen appearances). They were short bits, sometimes with the same actors playing different roles.

The Carnage Collection presents a similar model, except it focuses on various forms of horror. Here, all the stories are written by brothers Bob Ferreira and Derek Ferreira, who also co-direct along with Kimball Rowell, all of whom also act in multiple segments..

There is a minor bookending story of someone getting free cable, and what we see is what he watches, but it’s such a dippy piece, with some downright gawdawful fun acting by Tom Ferreira (Bob and Derek’s dad?). This is not meant as an insult to the wrap, it’s just kinda superfluous for the meat of the matter, which are the stories.

There are eight tales in total, averaging about 10 minutes each, covering different horror genres. They range from incredibly silly to quite decent, albeit a bit on the amateur side. Feels a bit like “let’s make a movie,” and for the three New England filmmakers, this is kinda true as it’s all their first shots. That makes me happy.

I’m not going to go into super detail about each story, but I’ll skim a bit. Do note, however, that there is a humor that runs through this, but not buried in "jokes," but in an amusing manner that makes it fun rather than punny. Again, appreciated.

Amusingly, they start off with a Christmas horror story of sorts, as a magical, killer life-size Santa ornament pops in and out of reality, spewing inane Kruger-isms. His victims? The Brothers Ferreira, Bob and Derek, who play themselves. I had a good laugh at the roly-poly Bob, shirtless and tied to a chair by Christmas lights, yelling at the Santa and calling him a “fat fuck.” Is it me or smile-worthy that the first story is about something that is at the end of the year. Perhaps I’m analyzing too deep?

Speaking of which, holy-man the characters say fuck a lot. Not a compliant, but definitely an observation. Honestly, was a bit of a distraction for me, sort of like an easy way to expand the dialogue, but hey, I’m gettin’ old, so what the fuck do I know?

A couple of stories do kinda fall flat, such as one with a guy literally screwing his resentful VCR (using a very pale dildo in place of his real bits), and another torture porn tribute about a guy in a mask doing nasty things to a woman who is tied up (his ex?).

On a more positive note, similarly to the Santa story is one where a killer clown is visualized by an angsty teen girl, who somehow magically comes to life and does some serious damage to a few people. Happily the clown is female, and I say this because (a) its gender is obvious, and (b) it goes against the male killer clown stereotype. Good choice.

Felisia Grimm and Rufio
Among the eight are at least two really good ones. The first deals with a suicidal rich man who is followed by an apparent derelict that he meets near a bridge who knows more than he should. The other is the final one, about a lonely woman-child who is obsessed with stuffies and Jeebus, and is in unrequited love with one of the girls (now woman) she grew up with. This one is also pretty sexually graphic, including using dolls as sex toys. While not a new premise, they use the device of a sloth stuffie named Rufio (don’t call him “Rodeo”) who goads her on, or perhaps it’s her own inner voice?

I find it interesting that some of the actors kinda have fake-sounding porno names, such as Druscilla Deville, Felisia Grimm, and my favorite, Mandatron Divine. Not sure why, but I really don’t care, because Grimm (who plays both the Clown and Andrea, the woman-child), is a standout.

This film certainly won’t win any awards, as most of the acting is wooden, the writing is obvious and the direction is rough. That being said, there are some really decent effects, especially in the Santa episode, the clown piece, and the one with the rich guy. There are also some cheesy ones, such as the obviously rubber sexual prosthetics employed.

Here’s the thing, and I’ve said this in the past: my punk rock ethics says “form a band, it’s the best way to learn.” In this context its more “pick up a camera.” So many first films are ones that people will look back on and think, “Oh, I could have done that better if I could do it now” (which is why so many musicians cover their own material on later recordings). That is pointless thinking, because the first films are the training wheels, where one (or, in this case three) learns the craft which can only be done by doing, not by reading about it.

Shooting an anthology to start was a smart idea, because it’s actually like making eight short films, using different styles to stretch the envelope of learning. That would explain why some of them are a bit more developed than others, which shows a good level of growth in a short amount of time.

From what I understand, The Carnal Collection 2 is currently being filmed. That made me happy to hear. For a first project by a group with little experience, this was actually quite a decent accomplishment. Check it out so you can say, “I saw them when…”

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