Saturday 2 August 2008

Scarlet Fry's Horrorama (1990)

Scarlet Fry tells us that he loves death and death loves him. I say 'he', because Scarlet Fry is not the video vixen I was expecting, he's a ghoul in a hat and deliberately bad clown makeup. I wouldn't have recognised him for the guy in a Vampira shirt who was hawking the DVDs, if indeed that was him. Here he looks more like Martin Jacques from the Tiger Lillies done up in blood makeup. Scarlet is our host to a set of six shorts, and by the general standard of shorts, these are so short that they're really Daisy Dukes. Call them micro-shorts or vignettes, or call them what they really are: settings for the crew to have fun with gore effects. That's really what this Horrorama is all about.

In the Sack is probably the best, because it actually has a plot: a beginning, a middle and an end, along with a couple of twists that are nicely executed, if you'll pardon the pun. No, it's not subtle and no, it's not well acted, but it's fun and it's a great opener. Rebecca is getting ready for her hot date with 'what's his name again', who turns out to be a loser called Josh. She's trying to be Linnea Quigley and she could be the video vixen that Scarlet Fry isn't: hosting anthologies like this would seem to be very much up her alley.

Manwich is a great example of a vignette designed around a single line of dialogue: 'A sandwich ain't a sandwich unless it's a manwich'. Someone probably heard it spoken, made an association and ten minutes later Manwich was filmed. I'm sure you can make the same association: fat guy, packed lunch, friend, chainsaw. Salt With That, Dear has even less to play with. It has a foul mouthed fat bitch of a wife (we're on a role reversal here) complaining about the food her mild mannered hubby is cooking her, so he takes her out, and I don't mean to McDonald's. The language seems to be the point here: it's wild and inventive, reminding me of the Rude Kid cartoons in the Viz comic.

Kiss Me Kiss Me New Wave Zombie is the inventive title of part four, and it's the most inventive thing about it. A lady in a scary wig weeps at her boyfriend's grave, only to have her intestines chomped by a zombie with new wave lapel pins and a limp. It's Blood Feast with that inconvenient 80 minutes of plot cut out. A Day in the Park is the longest segment but probably the most pointless. A couple are having a picnic: he wants to get married but she just finds him repulsive. Luckily for him he finds a gun in the trashcan and she only has a pencil and you can see where this one ends up. Like the Manwich vignette, this probably grew out of a single line.

The last segment is RIP: Rest in Peace which would seem to be a highly misleading title. A large and loud punk girl with a dangerous snore sleeps with a bottle of whisky, while her inept boyfriend fails miserably to chop wood in the yard. I thought it was the neighbour but apparently it's her boyfriend, even though he's gay and dweeby and she's a large and loud punk girl. He promises to leave Bruce, but she either doesn't believe him or doesn't care, so uses the axe to make him an ex.

The funniest bit comes at the end when the public picket Scarlet Fry, which is a really cool touch. 'Make Love Not Gore!' There's definitely a sense of humour at play here but it isn't the point, the gore effects are the point. Gore effects are fine but they do need something to back them up and only In the Sack really delivers that. To provide a film based entirely around gore effects, Hideshi Hino made Flowers of Flesh and Blood, one of the most twisted and sickening films ever released. Scarlet Fry only made this.

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