|David DeCoateau - reunited with his Nightmare Sisters.|
(l to r) Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer, and Brinke Stevens
Let's talk about David DeCoteau for a moment. I first became aware of him when he was directing for Charlie Band during the early Full Moon days back in the early 90's. I thought he did a corker job with the third Puppet Master movie, and that led me to seek out some of his other non-Full Moon movies - some of which I really liked (Nightmare Sisters) and some I found merely okay (Creepozoids). But when his stuff was good it was a lot of fun, so I watched nearly every movie the man made, enjoying them for the most part.
Then came Ancient Evil: Scream of the Mummy. Here was a movie that was soooo bad...How bad was it...it was soooo bad I'll be assigning it to someone in Project Terrible Round 8. (You have all been warned.)
I couldn't wrap my head around how the same filmmaker who'd provided the low budget thrills and character actor goodness on view in Puppet Master III could also be the guy who'd cranked out Ancient Evil - but there it was. I started to avoid movies with his name on them.
Ancient Evil was the first movie under DeCoteau's Rapidheart Pictures banner - and as DeCoteau came out of the closet in his personal life - or at least became more visible in the fan community as a gay man - he geared most of the Rapidheart productions into gay themed horror films - movies like The Brotherhood and its five sequels (so far) and Beastly Boyz. They feature casts full of attractive young men who have a penchant for spending a great deal of time shirtless as something monstrous goes on. For the last year or so David DeCoteau has been working overtime - producing and directing a series of movies under the blanket title 1313 - again horror themed flicks with lots of good looking young men in the cast. The twelfth and thirteenth of these movies (!) are in post production right now - all 13 of the...er...1313 movies were made by DeCoteau since 2010, and that's not counting the seven other movies he's made through that same period.
I haven't been watching much of David DeCoteau's 21st century output - prior to this assignment the most recent movie I'd seen of his was Puppet Master: Axis of Evil - another underbudgeted and underdone Full Moon movie that could have been so much better.
So now I'm assigned 1313: Actor Slash Model. And here we go.
Michelle Bauer plays Suzy, a TV producer with a big mansion. She is casting for a new television program. The show is going to star lots of attractive young men who will frequently be shown without shirts. Trent (no one else gets credited. They're welcome.) was signed to appear on the show - but then he was cut from the show because Suzy decided to go with another, hunkier young man who is more of a model than an actor. Trent - the actor - shows up at Suzy's big house with a knife - and proceeds to slash the male models-turned-actors there. So - the title turns out to be a funny play on words - and the cleverness stops right there.
Several young men come to the mansion for various meetings and auditions and such across the movie's 72 minutes. Singly they wander the house, usually shirtless, calling for anyone to appear. No one appears for several minutes as they go from room to room to room to room to room. Eventually, Trent pops up, says something to them, and pulls out a knife. Cut to an exterior shot of the mansion - and a SCHWING! sound effect of the knife slashing takes care of the murder.
Trent wanders around the house with the knife for several minutes, with an interior monologue that culminates with what he said to his victim moments before.
Suddenly everyone else appears, and there will be a group scene between three or more people.
Then one new actor will appear at the mansion - which is suddenly barren of people again - until Trent appears, speaks, and pulls out the knife - cut to exterior. SCHWING!
Trent wanders around the house with the knife for several minutes, with an interior monologue that culminates with what he said to his victim moments before. (See I can pad my review just like they pad the movie!)
Repeat until end credits.
Well, I liked seeing Michelle Bauer, anyway.
More than anything else, I'm just boggled by these movies. They are slickly shot on HD video, and look nice. But the acting is poor, and there's nothing of any interest happening in any exploitable way - there's no nudity (male or female); there's no onscreen violence (graphic or not); no sex scenes, nothing. You do get a lot of guys in shorts and speedos though - and maybe that's what DeCoteau is going for - very bland "starter" horror for gay teens (or girls - though there's enough gay subtext to maybe put them off) with lots of eye candy and little else. But even with that theory - why do the movies have to be this padded and inert? The first time Trent does his post-kill monologue while wandering the house - it's fine. The fourth or fifth time it's just ludicrous. I understand these are extremely low budget movies (the IMDB lists them at a budget of $1,000,000 each - BWAH -HA-HA-HA! If they spent $10,000 on any of them I'd be surprised.) and they're probably shot in three days - but some crisp dialogue and a clever plot that actually runs for 72 minutes wouldn't cost any more to produce if handled correctly. Do I even need to mention the slow running end credits with lots of fake names?
If these movies are something that someone somewhere is enjoying - whether the aforementioned gay teens or anyone - then I'm glad these movies exist for them. But for real horror fans - these are insulting efforts. David DeCoteau has the ability to turn out some viable low budget thrills with next to no money and very little time. He's shown it several times in the last twenty-five years. And I do plan to watch 1313: Cougar Cult - since it reunites the director with Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer and Brinke Stevens (see the first picture in this post). I hope it will be something like the old movies of his I enjoyed. But we'll have to see.
|More like this one, please.|
Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!