Sunday, March 23, 2014

SPLATTER ARCHITECTS OF FEAR - DVD REVIEW


I first heard about this oddity in 1987 courtesy of Chas. Balun’s now legendary book The Gore Score and, although it measured an impressive “9 on the gore score”, his review wasn’t all that endearing, but the fact that it was Canadian and gory as hell, I had to see it.  I distinctly remember renting this on VHS and, to be quite honest, I was a little thrown off by the cover at first, which made it seem like some third-rate action flick.  Actually, it turned out to be a third-rate gore flick instead, but I have to admit, I was kinda impressed by the chutzpah of the entire production, even though it was ridiculously silly but, like Chas said, it was still “good for a few yuks”.  Well, thanks to Mr. Jesus Terán and his Slasher//Video, this unique SOV effort has arrived on DVD jam-packed with a number of interesting and entertaining extras.

For those that have never seen this, this plays out like a genuine documentary that follows the day-to-day activities on a low-budget film set with a particular emphasis on, you guessed it, the splatter F/X.  The film in question, if you wanna call it that, is a post-apocalyptic action flick about infected mutants battling a bunch of scantily clad and very ‘80s-styled amazons as they rip each other apart in a multitude of ways.  A scene from the film usually plays out first and then jumps back to “reality” to document how that particular effect was accomplished, while a very serious sounding narrator chronicles everything for us.  A cartoonish mascot named “Fang” (Paul Saunders) is also on hand to provide some comic relief as he drinks blood, eats fingers and drools over the half-naked amazons.

Admittedly not very good even by 1986 standards, the nostalgia factor is one of the biggest drawing cards here but, like most of these ‘80s SOV efforts, the story behind their creation is always more interesting and SPLATTER: ARCHITECTS OF FEAR is certainly no exception.  Produced on a shoestring in Toronto, Canada by Bill Smith, an enterprising video distributor who essentially wanted to showcase a number of gory special effects “that had never been seen before”.  Mr. Smith and his team (including prolific Canadian TV director Peter Rowe) certainly go out of their way to deliver as much gore as possible (their production company is even called “Gory Philms”), but it’s all so gleefully naïve that, especially now, it’s far from offensive; it really is amazing that stuff like this actually caused a stir back in the ‘80s.  Released at the height of film censorship in Ontario, Canada thanks to the wonderful folks at the once powerful OFRB (Ontario Film Review Board) who, in the mid-‘80s, censored just about every horror title they got their hands on including DAY OF THE DEAD (1985), DEMONS (1986), BURIAL GROUND (1980), PIECES (1981), COMBAT SHOCK (1986) and many others.  So in order to avoid any possible issues, this was cheekily marketed as an “educational video”, which enabled them to get a PG rating even though it features some risqué nudity (courtesy of some local strippers) and tons of gore.  Of course, once the complaints came rolling in, the OFRB tried to retract the rating, but to avail.  Amazing stuff.

In keeping with the spirit of the film, the disc features a fun, easy-going, but fact-filled commentary track with Bill Smith, “Cannibal Cam” and Jesus Terán as well as an on-camera interview with Mr. Smith that covers much of the same stuff.  Paul Zamarelli of vhscollector.com also contributes an on-camera review of the film and the standard, but still welcome, photo and trailer galleries are also included.  You can order it here.


Slasher//Video’s next release will be L. Scott Castillo Jr.’s SATAN’S BLADE (1984), a pretty much forgotten, low-budget slasher with supernatural overtones. This will be their first Blu-Ray, which will be limited to 1000 copies and it should see release sometime this summer. 






No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.