Friday, October 24, 2014

Buddha Man: Death by Invitation!

"Death by Boredom is more like it."

This horror flick gets off to some kind of start by giving us a flashback to 1671 - as the members of the Vroot family are joined by several other people (fellow villagers?) in denouncing Lise (Shelby Leverington - Cloak & Dagger) as a filthy filthy witch. After this pronouncement, the Vroot family patriarch (Aaron Phllips) adds injury to insult by hitting her with an axe.

So far, sounds pretty good, right? Except, much like certain Andy Milligan movies - this period recreation is staged in old timey costumes that would barely pass muster in a kindergarten play in front of contemporary (for 1971) suburban homes. (!) At first I thought this was supposed to be a 1971 festival or play, but no - this is the best these filmmakers could do to give us a period flashback. They even shot this movie in Andy Milligan's old stomping grounds of Staten Island, NY!

Ah, the joys of aluminum siding in 1671.

And to show I'm not just being a snarky Monday morning quarterback - here are a couple of ideas on how you could shoot a 300 year old flashback on a very limited budget: get your graphic artist to paint or draw several pictures of the scene you want. Add a narrator. Then shoot some money shots (crowd denouncing, witch collapsing, guy swinging axe) from low up into the sky or from up down to the ground. Meld this all with superimpositions and double exposures. Voila. Not one contemporary home shown. Story set up. Yes, I am available to direct a remake of this for you.

Here's a great representation of the middle of the movie: smokin' and talkin'.

Meanwhile, back in the movie, after that goofy opening, the movie jumps ahead to 1971 (the cast changes clothes) and the movie slows way down to give us a young woman named Lise (Leverington again) - either a descendant of the witch or the witch herself back from the grave. She befriends the modern day Vroot family - including the current paterfamilias Peter (Phillips again) - well aware these are the descendants of the bunch who swung that axe back in the day. She becomes a valued and trusted family friend in short order and then sets her secret agenda in motion. She gets one of the Vroot guys alone and performs what seems like a 45 minute monologue about a tribe in the far flung past before finally killing the guy with her bare hands. (After that monotonous diatribe he was probably relieved.) Then, it's time for a lot more talking. Periodically after that, Lise bumps off another family member. Eventually she falls in love with Peter's son Jake (Norman Parker - Bonfire of the Vanities) and her mission grows doubtful. Will she continue wiping out the family, or settle down with Jake and some avacado green appliances for the kitchen?

And they said Lise would never get a head in this world...

There are a few cool moments in this flick - mainly - a short scene involving a severed head and a child's reaction to it - but those moments are spread very thinly across this otherwise static talkfest. Suprisingly, this clunker is beloved enough by someone to rate a rescue from oblivion and a DVD release by the fine folks at Vinegar Syndrome. More power to them, but don't expect to see this one in the video vault anytome soon - and you can probably skip it too.

Thank you Buddha Man! I'm so glad you watch some of these movies so I don't have to. Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

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