Cinema/TV, Film Notes

Film review – Smash Cut (2009)

My notes on Smash Cut (2009)

‘I kissed my dead sister’s severed head. I think instead of dinner I’m going to need to get some trauma counselling.’

This is dedicated to Herschell Gordon Lewis, and features Lewis as either a narrator or a fictional character – and it’s frankly as inept as Lewis’s 1960s gore movies on a narrative and technical level, without the added fillip of being innovative or genuinely transgressive. By now, we’ve seen enough guts to want more in a movie; actually, it was the release of Night of the Living Dead in 1968 which upped the ante to the point when just slaughtering folk was no longer enough to sustain a movie. Forty years on, this tries to bracket its splatter with in-jokes about the gore movie trade and a few cameos from minor horror celebs – besides Ray Sager, Lewis’s Wizard of Gore, this features Wes Craven discoveries David Hess and Michael Berryman – but suffers from general witlessness. It opens with a deliberately ‘bad’ scene from Terror Toy, the latest low-budget schlock effort from pretentious hack Able Whitman (Hess), and an audience turning loudly against the killer clown glove puppet quickie. Whitman tries to unwind in the pole-dancing club where he casts his leading ladies (Sager plays the hypocritical Christian protester outside) and drives off with Gigi (Jennilee Murray), his sometime girlfriend, only to crash his car. Gigi dies, but – a la Color Me Blood Red, the least-loved of Lewis’s initial ‘blood trilogy’ – he starts using her body parts and blood in his in-progress horror film, and then commits murders of his unethical business associates to add more real splatter to his work. Gigi’s sister April (ambitious porn actress Sasha Grey) hires strangely flamboyant detective Isaac Beaumonde (Jesse Byck) to investigate, and Whitman gets more and more insane, though not more and more interesting. It has a rich score by Michael Dubue, which parodies (or cribs from) everyone from Morricone to Roy Budd, but Ian Driscoll’s script is sophomoric and Lee Demarbre’s direction weak.


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