Director and writer Nick Palumbo, known for his film Nutbag (2000) wore almost all the hats on the production of this film, which continues to grow as a cult film even 15 years after its initial release on December 24, 2004 in Hollywood, CA. This film, graphic in nature, tells the tale of a so-called fashion photographer, who tends to lean more to pornography than the high glitz and glamour most identifiable to the industry while using the guise of it to lure unsuspecting new models and prostitutes into his dangerous chamber of his mind and eventually death.
The cast ensemble for this low-budget horror, runs quite well, with a showing of brief glimpses for the most part of the roles and characters, they each used their previous acting skills to provide the best impact for the movie, given the fact that most scenes relied on one-takes. Some of the talented cast that lent skills to the making of this film, and together have over 50 horror film credits to their names, Tony Todd, Gunnar Hansen; and Edwin Neal. Palumbo’s film relies more on the profane and seedy aspects of Las Vegas, off the main strip, where it becomes apparent that these areas are the hunting grounds for the killer, known in the credits as The Photographer (Sven Garrett) a man with a distinct thick German accent. In addition, with the assistance of Fred Vogel (Summer of Blood ), a man that has done practically every job on a film set and who stars as a Masked Psycho, helped obtain many of the cast members from his film August Underground’s Mordum (2003) with many others from Nutbag. This movie clearly isn’t for everyone, while it centers itself in a serial killer fashion, it leans closer to a snuff film, but not to the believability level, and it is not of the same caliber as the legendary and infamously known Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) or the high class slickness of American Psycho (2000). For one to summarize this flick, one must understand that two elements exist at the same time, similar the messages underlying in the previous mention films, first, while depicting elements of sexual arousal through images of glossy photography leading to sexual violence hence achieving an orgasmic rush of power for the killer for taking one’s life. Secondly, that the horrific crimes, occurring on screen of torture flesh, carved apart, nude women, driving them and the film to new levels of both humiliation of a sex and depravity blurring the lines of a horror film and art-house snuff movie. The nature of the performance for Sven comes with immense willingness to submit himself into a dark and unforgiving role of with no feelings of remorse, a completely cold persona with singular care for his desires and motives. Some have suggested that the role of the photograph as uninteresting, citing that no reason ever given for the murderous and sadistic nature portrayed on screen, however, rational individuals do go mad sometimes without reason, and in fictional world, just one glance at Dr. Hannibal Lector or Michael Myers never clearly explain why they killed.
This film, contains some controversy, involving a child, and for many viewers of the horror in this genre it becomes a big taboo, recalling the year of 2004, the murdering and harming of tykes was a rarity in most films, though not unheard thereof. In fact in 1989, Pet Sematary had the character Cage first killed by a tractor-trailer and later resurrected and murdered by his father. Though withstanding, in both cases neither is gruesome, in this instance the scene has a cut-away and only a bloody little shoe tossed across the highway. The glorification of showing the slaughtering and slaying of teenagers, especially girls and young women occurs on a regular basis; though out of bounds even today the graphic and haunting nature of killing children bears too much for the horror audiences. Hence, in this movie the “Final Girl” sequence involving a girl, roughly 9-years-old, takes down the monster, it some graphic ways, surviving violence and sadism of villain.
Murder Set Pieces, reeks of empty buckets of blood, with no morals, and a compass spinning out of control, the amount violence, piles endlessly onward, and delivering taboo moments of unpleasant delights and discovery for all to enjoy. Palumbo’s film, shows a society filled with a monster in plain sight, not hiding in the shadows nor disfigured, while bringing the reoccurring argument in horror philosophical circles that weapons used in the films are an extension to rape, then the camera, which presents images of beauty that actually stimulates the concept that women are like meat to consume. Horror fans will enjoy a movie that shows the chaos, of torture and mayhem filled with disgust on multiple levels, while championing a new hunger for disturbing sleazy savagery.
This review was on Rogue Cinema’s now defunct website in May 2015 and accumulated a view count of 1,796.
- Prepare yourself for the first American NC-17 horror film.
- The most visceral horror film ever made
IMDb Rating: 3.7/10
Baron’s Rating: 3.5/10