Vern Vs. The CHAOS DVD!!

Hi, everyone. “Moriarty” here with some Rumblings From The Lab…

This is not the best review Vern has ever written.

This is the best review anyone has ever written.

I heart Vern. Very, very much. I advise you to read every word of this one and savor it. Film criticism genuinely gets no better than this.

Well boys, there’s this horror movie called CHAOS that comes out on DVD at the end of September. I thought it would be good to review it now so that you will have forgotten about it by then. I wouldn’t recommend watching the movie – in fact, if possible, I recommend not ever hearing of it. Just stop reading now, unread the first part of this paragraph, and don’t think about it again. We’re only encouraging them. By reviewing this movie I’m just giving the dipshits who made it the attention they’re waving their dicks around begging for, but I want to review it for two reasons:

  1. I’m always up for another round of that stupid “torture porn” debate
  2. For masochistic horror fans I might recommend borrowing or stealing (but not buying) the DVD just because the extras are so hilariously insane and retarded

CHAOS is a low budget, no imagination, blatant ripoff of LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT directed by a former pro-wrestler named David “The Demon” DeFalco. Its one and only claim to fame is that they managed to get a no-star review from Roger Ebert and then they wrote him a letter that lured him into an ongoing debate about violence in movies, as if their movie deserved to be a part of that discussion.

ChaosDuring the opening scene I actually thought I might like the movie. A Honeybunny-from-Pulp-Fiction type is hitchhiking when some rednecks pull over and imply that they will give her a ride in exchange for sexual favors. She refuses their offer, they grab her like they’re gonna rape her. But these rednecks aren’t the ones you gotta worry about. The girl’s friends, one of them a big, bald Stone Cold Steve Austin type, come out of the trees, beat the shit out of the guys, and destroy their car with a baseball bat. The way it cuts right in the middle of the car-smashing just tosses you into the movie like a rock through a window.

But that’s as good as the movie gets. The story is credited to “an original idea by David DeFalco and Steven Jay Bernheim,” the original idea apparently being to remake LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT without paying for the rights. They are using a little known legal loophole that if you act confused and change the subject when somebody mentions it’s a remake then it doesn’t count as copyright violation. If you’ve seen LAST HOUSE there’s no reason to watch this, it’s just the same god damn thing but not done as well. Two girls go to “a rave” (which is portrayed by some dudes hanging out in the woods during the day time without music. I guess they couldn’t afford a stereo). They try to buy ecstasy from a random dude (Sage Stallone, ROCKY V) who says he has some but they have to walk about 20 minutes to where his friends are. They are hesitant but decide to go.

We know Sage’s friends are the crazy gang of fugitives we have been seeing since the attack on the rednecks. Their leader is the big bald guy, played by Kevin Gage (who seems like he could be good in other movies). The character’s name is Chaos. I’m surprised the others aren’t named Anarchy and Six Sixsix, because that’s the kind of imagination and refined taste you got behind the movie. There is little suspense or tension. As soon as the girls come in the house the bad guys grab them and start menacing them, and the girls spend the rest of the movie crying and begging for their lives.

The gang takes the girls out in the woods, they let them get away, they chase them, rape them, kill them, etc. At the end the killers say their car broke down and ask if they can stay with the parents of one of the girls. The parents figure out that these people killed their girl, and try to get their revenge. But they don’t do as good of a job as the parents in LAST HOUSE. So it’s a TOTALLY different movie. Remake? I don’t know what you’re talking about. The ending isn’t as good, so how could it be a remake?

I can see how if you’d never seen LAST HOUSE but you were open to that kind of movie, and you were in a charitable mood, you might think this movie was disturbing and raw enough to give it a mild, open-minded kind of pass. Most of it is competent as far as this kind of thing goes. There’s some laughable line readings, but you’re a horror fan so you’re used to that. At least it’s serious and somewhat realistic. Not nearly as well executed as the similarly serious and somewhat realistic WOLF CREEK, but maybe you didn’t see that either.

The trouble is, if you’ve seen LAST HOUSE you gotta be wondering even more than the people who are offended by this kind of movie what the fuck is the point of making this. The original is definitely not for everybody. I hated it the first time I saw it. It’s not a fun time, alot of it is sloppy, and if you’re gonna make a moral argument against a movie it’s a pretty easy target. But over the years I’ve sort of learned to appreciate it. It was a movie that came out of the Vietnam war, it was some young angry guys trying to make a movie against violence by depicting it as horrible and messy. It makes death long and painful. It has a sadistic villain who seems like the original Mr. Blonde. And it has that muddy, dirty look of some low budget ’70s movies that make them seem so spooky and almost real. In the end, when the parents try to kill the murderers using methods as vicious as those used against their daughter, Craven is hitting on one of his favorite themes of seemingly civilized people breaking down into savages when the shit hits the fan (see also THE HILLS HAVE EYES).

The CHAOS chumps try to do all the same things, except for that last one, which is probaly a little over their heads. They’re not interested in that stuff, they’re just interested in serial killers (which DeFalco explains he has been researching for years, even before he wanted to make the movie.) They never veer from the original plot in any way that I noticed, adding only the insignificant detail that the parents are an interracial couple and the sheriff makes racist comments. YOU SEE, NOT A REMAKE. TOTALLY DIFFERENT. DO NOT SUE.

So it’s LAST HOUSE, but not as good, and less. Except – and I’m pretty sure this is how they justify it in their minds – the details of the girls’ murders are even more disgusting. It’s not wall-to-wall violence or anything but it’s true, the two murders of the girls will be something you will wish you didn’t see. Which they will take as a compliment. Way to go guys, here is a sticker for your star chart.

In an ideal world the movie would’ve disappeared like all the other crappy horror movies that people throw on the pile every day, and I wouldn’t even be reviewing this shit. But there was that Roger Ebert thing. Somehow they got him to review the movie, unsurprisingly he thought it was shit, so they turned that into “controversy” and the ol’ torture porn argument comes up again.

This time around the argument is especially stupid because it’s obviously just a promotional gimmick for a shitty movie. But it also comes up every time a more legitimate movie like a HOSTEL or a WOLF CREEK comes out, which is alot these days. And it’s generally a debate between people who don’t watch horror movies and people who occasionally watch horror movies, some of both types accusing the latest horror movie of being “nothing but torture porn.” Usually, they’re just being ignorant of the genre. I didn’t think HOSTEL was very good, and it definitely has that “dude, it’s fucked up, like Miike!” corniness to it. But you are clearly supposed to sympathize with the idiot frat boy dickhead protagonists. You are supposed to root for them to escape the torturers. Just like you rooted for Laurie in HALLOWEEN and Sally in TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE and Nancy in HALLOWEEN and all those other horror movies that even these critics admit are classics. You are not supposed to just get a boner because people are being tortured, like the “torture porn” label implies.

I was more impressed by THE HILLS HAVE EYES, which both had more to say and was more fun to me. And I liked WOLF CREEK which to many critics was torture porn and to me was a good old fashioned adrenaline pumping oh-shit-let’s-get-the-hell-out-of-here type of slasher movie. I thought alot of critics punished that movie for being too good. If it had been silly and cartoony like HIGH TENSION they would’ve laughed it off but since it was believable and intense they acted like it had pissed on their shoes. I mean if you’re gonna make judgments about which grueling horror experiences are acceptable, where is the line drawn? Why did some people think that escaping the mutants in THE HILLS HAVE EYES remake was appalling but escaping the mutants in THE DESCENT was great fun? Was HILLS too close to reality because the mutants were wearing clothes? Or does it not count as torture porn if it’s below sea level?

It’s the same as the “gore vs. no gore” debate, the whole thing is based on a false premise. You know, somebody always has to bring up that old classic about “movies are only scary if the gore is off screen, like Hitchcock.” And then there are the guys who are only interested in the goriest, most graphic shit available. The people who buy the Guinea Pig box set and movies with either CANNIBAL or HOLOCAUST or both in the title, those types of movies that I’m not sure if Ebert even knows about. The whole issue is ridiculous, it’s like saying that you only like movies with balloons in them or you only like movies without balloons in them. Gore could be good or it could be bad. It all depends on what the story is and how the story is told. THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE manages to be disturbing by making you imagine there’s horrible violence even though almost all of it is off screen. TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE PART 2 is disturbing by being gorey as hell – that scene where Chop Top beats L.G.’s head in with a hammer is no picnic. In some movies gore can actually be a fun rush, like when the wood splinter goes into that gal’s eyeball in ZOMBIE. Some people like car chases, some people like that. Or of course alot of the newsies enjoy the over-the-top bloodiness of DEAD ALIVE/BRAINDEAD.

I don’t understand why people like FACES OF DEATH and ANDROID OF NOTRE DAME and shit, but oh well. Life goes on. It’s kind of obnoxious to moralize about it. All these people who don’t like horror trying to convince me it’s wrong to like WOLF CREEK is like me trying to tell Tim McGraw how to make his albums better. It’s none of my business. For me all that matters is WOLF CREEK works as a horror movie. CHAOS doesn’t.

But there’s always gonna be that bullshit “HAS HOLLYWOOD FINALLY GONE TOO FAR?” debate, so it’s a handy way to add a sheen of importance to a shitty horror movie like this. At least they didn’t go the First Amendment Martyr route, I guess. On the DVD extra “The Roger Ebert Controversy,” director DeFalco sits mostly silent while producer Steven Jay Bernheim quotes from reviews and defends the movie. One review he talks about is by some dude named “Capone”

Okay, I don’t want to take away from Capone, who apparently thought the movie was pretty good. But he buys into their claim that it’s “a cautionary tale,” as if the producers are desperately trying to help teenage girls make better decisions that will prevent them from being attacked in the woods by roving gangs of serial killers. The movie opens with an unintentionally funny after school special type text crawl that ends by saying, “The producers hope the film you are about to see will serve as a warning to parents and potential victims alike. It is intended to be as disturbing as the subject matter it depicts in order to educate and, perhaps, save lives.”

What’s great is watching Bernheim go into detail trying to support this ridiculous idea that the movie is educational. At first it just seems insulting to your intelligence, then at a certain point you start to wonder if he has actually sold himself his own bullshit. I think he now really believes that this movie was planned as a public service announcement to help teenage girls be more streetwise in the woods.

I almost don’t have the heart to tell him that very few teenage girls watch movies like this. The people who watch these movies are the dudes I mentioned before who are always looking for the most “fucked up” thing available. They might enjoy the two sicko rape/mutilation scenes in this movie. After all, on the commentary track they explain that they are exactly based on the mutilations that a real serial killer did. They keep dropping the killer’s name like it’s an old blues singer they’re fond of, and Bernheim says that depicting the mutilations he did “gives legitimacy to the movie.” If that’s not classy enough for you he also explains that one of the actresses had been raped in real life and was creating a cathartic experience for other victims of violent crime by playing a character who spends most of her screen time being raped and killed. Hopefully these selfless humanitarians will get some kind of award for their great compassion toward victims of sexual assault. I mean I don’t like to throw around words and phrases like “hero” or “the new Gandhi” or “makes Jesus seem like kind of a dick in comparison,” but Steven Jay Bernheim has earned all those labels with his work on this film, it sounds like, the way he tells it.

Anyway, some Faces of Death types may enjoy that shit, but they probaly won’t agree with DeFalco’s description of this as “the most brutal film of all time” (repeated dozens of times throughout all the extras as well as on the front cover, the back cover and the disc itself) since they’ve jerked off to CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST since they were 13, and the “brutality” in this is mostly confined to two scenes. It’s weird because they are the only audience for this movie but they’re gonna be bored during most of it.

Unless they’re parents and they’re busy learning, because it is after all gonna “serve as a warning to parents and potential victims alike.” I’d love to see the family meeting where mom and dad sit down little Susie and Taylor to watch CHAOS.

“Honey, as you get older, you’re starting to notice changes in your body. You’re not a little girl anymore. So stay at the party, don’t leave with someone you don’t know. As you can see here, a guy might cut off your nipple and stick it in your mouth and you’ll puke, and then he’ll stab you in the back a bunch of times and then buttfuck your corpse and then peer pressure his buddy into doing the same. I know it’s tough to watch but it is intended to be as disturbing as the subject matter it depicts in order to educate and, perhaps, save lives.”

You know how the fake controversy goes. Decide for yourself. You gotta watch it so you can make up your own mind about some dudes buttfucking a corpse. Listen to the commentary track, watch the “Roger Ebert Controversy” extra. Maybe you’ll disagree with me. Maybe you’ll think they seem like reasonable people and that they make an intelligent argument.

Then I want you to click on the next extra, “Inside the Coroner’s Office: A Tour of the L.A. Coroner’s Crypt.” This is a little featurette following L.A. county forensic technichian Michael A. Cormier, who talks about his job while showing off actual rotting corpses in his “crypt.” And it keeps cutting to footage of director DeFalco in the same place, with no shirt on and a chain around his neck, flexing his muscles and yelling pro-wrestling type commentary such as “10,000 bodies a year baby, go right through these doors and THE DEMON… the Demon’s playground – ARRGHH!! (flexes muscles) – is here, now!”

I’m not kidding. This very serious filmmaker, who has a strong educational message about the nature of violence, stands among real life murder victims declaring that he is “the Demon” and “the director of the most brutal film of all time.”

“First time, baby! First time IN CINEMA HISTORY! A director has EVER been interviewed in this… crypt… of homicides, su-i-cides, car wrecks, and every other horrific faTALity in Los Angeles, California.”

And I swear to God that in this featurette he starts calling out Roger Ebert as if he was Macho Man Randy Savage calling out whoever it was that Macho Man Randy Savage used to fight.

“Well Roger Ebert, as I stand here surrounded by homicides, suicides, and all the brutal fatalities in Los Angeles, I ask you, jack… THIS is reality! This is why I have the outlook on life that I have. Because this is where it all ends up. They end up in pieces, head exploded, extremities torn off. This is what it’s all about. This is what CHAOS is all about. The horrific part of life, the part that you don’t see in movies. The part that they don’t tell you about in books. Because this is the reality, this is MY reality, Roger Ebert.”


Before this insanity gets boring there is a crazy plot twist where DeFalco ends up in the same shot as Cormier. He shakes his hand and talks about being his close friend. At first I thought this poor coroner guy really didn’t know “The Demon” very well and was starting to wonder what he had gotten himself into by letting the cameras in here. But then you find out that they really are friends and are developing a movie together which DeFalco keeps calling “the next step in the succession of evil” as well as “the next step in the progression of evil.”

That’s when Cormier starts talking about his theory (“we’ll call it a theory for now”) that when people use methamphetamines it opens up a “doorway” to another dimension that allows “demonic beings” access to “this realm” so they can possess them and commit brutal crimes. You may think this sounds far fetched, even asinine, perhaps even fucking embarrassing. But Cormier explains, “I’ve been documenting it for several years, and it’s undeniable. People who use methamphetamines are opening themselves up to demonic possession…”

Later DeFalco says, “You are looking at the future of horror,” he flexes his muscles and the camera zooms in on his bicep.

The whole thing is so crazy I started to wonder if maybe this Cormier guy was an actor, and it was just another gimmick to promote DeFalco’s next crappy movie. Googling technology failed to bring up a real coroner named Cormier. But an email to the L.A. Coroner’s Office Media-Public Information Officer proved that it wasn’t a hoax. The Chief Coroner Investigator and Chief of Operations confirmed Cormier’s employment, adding, “I believe that he was offering his own opinion/theory regarding the subject matter he was speaking to and not the official position of the Department of Coroner or the County of Los Angeles.”

Which is good to know. But still, I have a message for those of you who live in L.A.: try not to get killed. You don’t want that guy cutting on your body, in my opinion.

Anyway, probaly the most insane DVD extra I’ve ever seen.

I should correct something that Quint said in his introduction to Capone’s review, that “having Sage Stallone in it is almost a stamp of approval” because of Stallone’s involvement in restoring and releasing gorey Italian movies. By now Quint has probaly heard that when Stallone signed up it was to work with his friend David Hess (from LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT… what an incredible coincidence!) who was playing the sheriff. When Hess was fired a few days into production Stallone tried to quit but couldn’t get out of his contract. And this has apparently led to at least one humorously tense panel discussion at a horror convention. It’s not clear to me whether or not the cast really signed on thinking it was an official remake, but whatever happened, you can’t deny it’s a brazen daylight robbery.

To me that’s the biggest strike against the movie, that it’s an unnecessary and not very good remake of LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, and that they won’t even admit it. The only big difference is that they dumped the booby traps the parents made in the original and changed the ending. In their version the cops try to get the dad to put down the gun he has to Chaos’s head. For no reason, the sheriff shoots the dad in the forehead! Then the mom shoots the sheriff, Chaos shoots the other cop, then shoots the mom and cackles as we fade to black.

The ending is actually kind of a relief because after so much sadism you get to laugh at these idiots and their attempts to be shocking. Craven was pretentious when he made his movie but that’s better than this moronic Insane Clown Posse type “dark” bullshit. OOOOOH! He’s laughing! because he’s EVIL. And not only that, he’s CHAOS. EVIL CHAOS. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah. You can probaly be an idiot and get away with making a “fun” type of horror movie, but you gotta have a little bit of intelligence behind this grim nihilistic stuff if you don’t want it to be laughable and sad.

I guess because of that dumbass change to the ending they have convinced themselves that their movie is not a ripoff. In fact, nowhere on any of the extras do they ever mention LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. It’s almost as if some sort of lawyer had advised them not to mention it. They do mention being inspired by “all those ’70s drive-in movies” but they’re careful to always specify that this means TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. TEXAS CHAIN SAW is of course named as the inspiration for the chain saw fight at the end, even though it happens to be exactly like the chain saw fight in LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, which came first. The closest they ever come to mentioning LAST HOUSE is on the commentary track when Bernheim gets defensive about the parents’ revenge at the end:

SJB: “And this is a theme that dates back to mythology, to folklore.”

DD: “Yeah, it’s a public domain story.”

SJB: “it’s a theme that, that, you know, a revenge theme. It’s not the principle focus of the movie.”

Of course, all of us remember that old folk tale about the father whose daughter and her friend get raped and killed in the woods by a gang of fugitives (one female, the rest male) and there’s the two wacky cops looking for the girls and then the fugitives come ask to stay at the father’s house and he notices that they have an article of his daughter’s clothing and they must’ve killed her so he attacks them with a chain saw. I think it was called “Anansi the Spider” or something, I forget, but it was a good folk tale. And public domain. Don’t worry about it.

On the commentary track they go on and on about how they were trying to make a movie that depicted violence as ugly and not glamorous, as if they had no idea that Craven was going for the same thing with his movie almost 35 years ago, or that he described his goals similarly on his commentary track. It’s like they live in some alternate universe where LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT doesn’t even exist.

That must be it because how else do you explain an extended debate with Roger Ebert about violence in horror movies that never mentions his 3 1/2 star review of LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT? He called it “a tough, bitter little sleeper of a movie that’s about four times as good as you’d expect,” and compared it to WAIT UNTIL DARK and STRAW DOGS. If DeFalco and Bernheim lived in a world where LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT existed, they could bring up this review and say, “Hey, you liked the exact same thing when Wes Craven did it, you’re such a hypocrite.” But then they’d have to wonder if that meant it wasn’t just the gruesomeness of the movie that was bad. It was the movie itself. Craven did it better, smarter, and three decades earlier.

But Craven’s biceps are much smaller than DeFalco’s, he always wears a shirt, and he never went into a morgue and flexed his muscles, yelling shit about demons. So you guys can be proud about that one. Way to go fellas.

If you must watch this movie – and believe me, you mustn’t – just find somewhere to download it. Then if they get mad because you downloaded their movie just say “What? This isn’t your movie. It’s totally different. And besides, I’m watching it to, perhaps, save lives.”


I’ll let you guys figure out in talkback which line made me laugh so hard I woke up my wife who’s in a different room in the house. God bless you, Vern, and hats off to the single best review I’ve ever published.

“Moriarty” out.

Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/24309

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This entry was posted on Sunday, August 27th, 2006 at 3:43 am and is filed under AICN, Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

39 Responses to “Vern Vs. The CHAOS DVD!!”

  1. The talkback to this review is LEGENDARY. One minute it’s just your standard Vern joking around with the talkbackers and then out of fucking NOWHERE, Dave the Demon shows up screaming and ranting about challenging Vern to a wrestling match. And Vern didn’t bat an eye. Fucking legendary.

  2. I will never see this movie, but I just learned by accident that the Chaos guy is Waingro from HEAT!!!!!

  3. Chopper Sullivan

    March 1st, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Thanks google. You got me to reread this beautiful review and the amazing talkback.

  4. What a freaky world – as I was reading this review now, I thought to check what that LA technician could look like (imagining “Emmett Brown + Cryptkeeper”), so I checked for his name, and… well, go and see for yourself. Freaky indeed.

    (By the way, he apparently looked like John Landis. A less revolting John Landis.)

  5. Ok, this review makes a lot of excellent points (can’t believe i’m typing this, but I really am going to have to re-evaluate Wolf Creek), but all that aside, this is quite possibly the funniest movie review I’ve ever read. I almost want to rent the movie now just to watch these features, even though I know that would be a grave mistake. When Vern’s talking about dudes who only want “the hardest shit,” I gotta admit, I might be one of those dudes sometimes (where is your August Underground review????), but it seems like the older I get, the less I am down to see extreme acts of totally unforgiving violence, especially rape, if they aren’t at least wrapped up in a film that works on other levels well.
    side note: I’m glad they don’t try to tie their movie with this, but why don’t the filmmakers just bring up that Last House was jacked from Virgin Spring? I dunno, maybe the Demon doesn’t think Bergman is evil enough

  6. I noticed a similar “problem” over the last few years. I never was a guy who watched all kinds of extreme shit on purpose, but I didn’t care if a movie crossed certain lines. But recently I kept avoiding movies like MARTYRS and such, thinking “Why should I want to watch this?”

    Don’t get me wrong, I think if I would hang out with a buddy and he would decide to put this movie on, I wouldn’t leave the room, but keep watching instead. Yet I do keep double guessing my need for ultra grim and violent shit recently.

  7. I feel you guys. A friend of mine gave me a deluxe DVD edition of REGOREGITATED SACRIFICE, which is the second entry in something called “The Vomit Gore Trilogy.” He said it kept him up nights. It’s been sitting on my shelf unwatched for like five years.

    I also can’t make myself watch SALO, which I’ve had since it was hard to find. I keep meaning to, but I’ve just never been like, “Yup, tonight is definitely the night to watch some little kids get pooped on.” It’s just hard to make that call, you know?

  8. I watched SALO last year (you are talking about the Pasolini film, Mr Majestyk?), mostly because some of my friends think it’s an important film. It isn’t. Pasolini wanted to say something about fascism, and I’m sympathetic to that. But the shock factor was obviously more important to him than the message. He never gives the victims any personality so that we can feel anything for them and when the violence starts he chickens out and never films it properly. So all you’re left with is four unattractive Italian men who have a lot of sleazy sex with people who haven’t bothered to wipe properly after their last visit to the toilet. For two whole hours.

  9. I’m with you guys, but unfortunately I fear it’s not that I’ve gotten more sensitive in my old age, but rather more jaded. I’ve seen so many explicitly violent images that they lack the ability to shock me anymore, and so most movies like CHAOS or CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST or whatever simply play like the tedious, repetitive z-grade crap that they are once you get past the shock value. I don’t mind watching violence, but independent of context it holds basically no interest to me anymore. If you’re trying to get a rise out of me with violent images, all you’re gonna end up doing is reminding me how empty the rest of your film is (SALO being a pretty good example).

    Actually now that I think about it, I feel pretty much the same way about nudity in movies now, too. Always happy to see my old friend the extraneous boob scene, but a movie built around delivering it? Not worth the effort.

  10. It’s the old “been there, done that” feeling, I guess. I can still get “shocked” on an intellectual level, but very seldom by scenes that include blood and guts. Film makers today seem to have a distance to the material that prevent them from becomming as nasty as their predecessors were. It’s of course political too. The stuff they put out in the 70’s and 80’s, especially the violence towards women, just doesn’t work in the same way today.

  11. I don’t get shocked or offended by them either. It’s really just a case of not getting any “enjoyment” (in lack of a better word) out of it and I start to overthink shit until I got seriously no reason anymore to watch it.

  12. I agree with all you dudes. Still haven’t seen Salo. Serbian Film is my current “do I want to watch this shit?” movie. I recently rewatched The Taint with a buddy of mine, and the violence in that movie is by no means realistic, but even cartoonishly smashing women’s heads with rocks with hard-ons flopping around is a pretty loaded, totally disturbing image. This was definitely a movie that i was sort of scared to watch when it came out. However, even on the most recent viewing, the movie itself was funny and well made enough and had enough good ideas that I actually loved it. I guess a big part of why I like watching extreme shit sometimes is that I’m thinking, “maybe the movie is actually good”, and either way, conquering my fears over what may or may not be on the tape: its a good feeling.

  13. SERBIAN FILM did not bother me as much as most people. Maybe because I am a depraved motherfucker, but the movie felt over the top and I could not take it seriously in any way. I can definetly see how others might though as the subject matter is as unpleasant as it can get.

  14. I had the same experience with A SERBIAN FILM. It was too over-the-top to take seriously, so I ended up treating it like a really dark splatter comedy. It’s nowhere near as funny as HUMAN CENTIPEDE, but it has its moments.

  15. Majestyk: I agree with Pegsman: THE NIGHT PORTER is way better than SALO. If you’ve seen NIGHT PORTER, consider your work in that particular corner of Important Snuff Films About Fascism done. I got more from CALIGULA than I did from SALO. And I’m an arthouse goon. I’m supposed to be defending this stuff.

    My A-Film-Too-Far is LEOLO, a gorgeous, profound film I’ll never watch again because of what they do to that kitten (or, more accurately, the way they filmed what they did to that kitten).

    CJ: MARTYRS is a strange case. Yes, it’s disturbing and unpleasant, but it’s a bit of a different species of disturbing. I’ll probably never watch it again, but the experience was singular. I put it up there with AUDITION in terms of filmatalogical significance.

  16. I have long been disabused of the notion that SALO is an important film, or even a particularly disturbing one. I just need to see it because I’m the kind of guy who sees SALO once in his life and has an opinion about it. It can be a burden.

    And apparently now I need to see both NIGHT PORTER and LEOLO. I still haven’t seen LAWRENCE OF A FUCKING RABIA but now I gotta watch a Nazi fuck a kitten or something. Thanks a lot, assholes.

    As for MARTYRS, it is a punishing experience but it somehow ends on a note of great beauty. I wouldn’t put it in the same class of experience as any of the other EXXXXXTREEEEME torture/gore films. It’s got more on its agenda than just grossing you out.

  17. Exactly right, Majestyk. SALO punishes the viewer along with the characters that are systematically degraded throughout the film. I think the film has a coherent point to make, and the utterly static presentation drives the degradation home endlessly. I can see the reason for every decision Pasolini made, but I find none of it amounts to the Big Event he obviously thought he was fashioning.

    MARTYRS is certainly shocking because of the plot and gore, but also because of the glimpse into a system of conduct that lies far outside the conventional (or even the comprehensible). The ending is largely unfathomable in its workings. It opens a strange door in the imagination where shock is invested with a kind of unspeakable profundity that resonates longer than any of the gore.

    THE NIGHT PORTER has Charlotte Rampling, which makes even the most difficult movies watchable, and it’s amusing to later read how badly Ebert misunderstood the film, though I’m not sure it should be anywhere near the top of your bucket list.

  18. All of this is reminding me of when I was in college. I worked for the university’s video production and distance learning services. The distance learning part were classes that were set up with a professor at one location, supplied with a monitor, video camera, microphone, etc and the students could be located all over the state in classrooms at their local college or library or whatever and they were also provided with a monitor, video camera and microphone. My job was to turn on all of the equipment and monitor the class to make sure everything was working.

    Along with classes, there would be an occassional meeting. I monitored one of these meetings for the dept of public safety, which means a bunch of cops. It was really entertaining when they were talking about how to recognize the signs of occult activity in crime scenes. It was not so entertaining when they were talking about child sex abuse and used some child porn as visual aids.

    Having seen how monstrous people can be in real life, I have absolutely no interest in having movies shock me with their monstrosity.

  19. It’s a bit like reading AMERICAN PSYCHO, I guess. I get what Ellis wants to say, and a friend of mine threw up when he read it, but to me it’s was just about the writer’s imagination.

  20. Man, I loved AMERICAN PSYCHO way too much when I was 15. If I was a teenager nowadays, I’d totally end up on a list.

  21. I´ve had the paperback of AMERICAN PSYCHO lying around for ten years. I am not sure if I´ll ever get around to read it.

  22. Eh, you’re not missing much. In retrospect, it’s a pretty stupid book.

  23. Seems like opinion-sharing could be therapeutic, so here goes:

    Marquis de Sade is one of my least favorite writer/artists ever (I’m not equipped with enough historical knowledge or artistic acumen to say if he’s overrated, but I think he is), so I’m not a fan of SALO. . . except the final 10-15 minutes, which is a great, striking, challenging, memorable, brutal short film that does more to penetrate your psyche & violate your soul (& loins) than the 100 minutes of gibberish & [literal] shit to which it is unfortunately attached.
    You’re not missing much if you haven’t seen SALO, but it *is* pretty weird as a Film of Cinema, an insistently upside-down take on the didactic-yet-sly comedy of manners political allegory, which I know is a value that we all hold dear, so ymmv.

    American Psycho is a fantastic novel, and the best parts are the moments of romantic respite, when the narrator’s consciousness explores genuine desire & love for some broad with whom he wants to go half on a baby & a beach house. It’s shocking atrocity after miserable atrocity in the book, to be sure, but there’s just a couple of substantial passages where it all opens up into something beautiful (and almost hokey, like a longform Hallmark Valentine’s Day card). These brief sections somehow had the same cathartic effect on me as, like, the ending alternate-lifeline montage sequence in Spike Lee’s 25TH HOUR (or the mirror “Fuck you” montage sequence).

    LAWRENCE OF AfuckingRABIA includes a scene much more breathtakingly disturbing
    (Hint: To paraphrase my old ODA’s motto, which paraphrased Katy Perry, “He killed a guy and he liked it.”)
    than anything in most of these “extreme” films.

    CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST I watched on YT a couple years back (not giving money to animal cruelty condoners/profiteers), and I grudgingly admit it’s not bad for a movie aimed at exploitation-seeking sick fucks like me, especially its brutal screeching ending that kind of cheats, visually, but is still hard to watch.

    MARTYRS isn’t 100% successful but it’s a fantastic film and I can’t wait to find a reason to rewatch it.

  24. Mr Subtlety: Would you mind elaborating on your statement that CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, like CHAOS, is tedious, repetitive z-grade crap? I know that opinions on ANIMAL HOLOCAUST (as a friend of mine calls it) are pretty varied but I honestly didn’t think it was considered in the same unfortunate circles as movies like CHAOS.

    Jareth Cutestory: Could not agree with you more in regards to LEOLO. For better or worse, that amazing movie is just one indelible scene or set-piece after another. I also agree with you that NIGHT PORTER is superior in almost every conceivable way to SALO, but I strongly believe that no one has ever entirely completed their Important Snuff Films About Fascism studies without a viewing of IN A GLASS CAGE, which is my pick for MVP in that field.

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  27. Super late to this party, but I just wanted to thank you for the immense entertainment that reading this and the AICN talkbacks have provided me instead of the work I should’ve been doing instead. Thank you, Vern. (And Demon Dave)

  28. You’re welcome, the Winchester! For the record, Demon Dave and I are friendly now through Twitter and occasional e-mails. Not too long ago he even recommended this review to his followers on Twitter, saying it was his favorite review of the movie, including Roger Ebert’s. For my part, I sometimes wish I could’ve accepted the fight just to see what would’ve happened (assuming I would not have been permanently crippled).

  29. Vern – the thought of you and Demon Dave happily exchanging e-mails brings a slither of joy to my heart.

  30. Can’t believe this review is almost 10 years old! I’m just as delighted by it now as I was then.

    Of course after reading this over on AICN my friend and I immediately rented the dvd to watch the extras, and while they are every bit as insane as Vern describes, having read the review beforehand enhanced the viewing pleasure tenfold.

    It indicates the magic of the writing that the review would first provoke a seemingly earnest wrestling challenge, only to turn the critic and filmmaker into casual buddies. Moriarty called it – what a great moment in internet film writing.

  31. After about 10 years of CONTROVERSY I finally got around to watching CHAOS.

    So how bad can it be? Its not like LHOTL hasn’t been ripped off before. In fact, I would say LHOTL started a weird subgenre, similar to the hordes of little monsters in the wake of GREMLINS. This one comes way too close for comfort though…all the characters line up exactly, whole scenes play out line for line, shot for shot…if I wasn’t given the heads up that this was such a rip-off I would have hated it too.

    But I didn’t mind it. I could bore everyone with reasons why I thought it worked and also reasons of why bother, but whatever to all of that. In my opinion this movie is merely a jumping off point for the weirdest AND MOST EVIL DVD extra of all time! ALL TIME BABY!!

    VERN’s review, while excellent, doesn’t really do this thing justice. Even after having read it years ago and again somewhat recently, my jaw hit the fucking floor as soon as it started. This was absolutely lurid and insane in a way I couldn’t quite comprehend. I think this TRIP TO THE LA CORRINORS OFFICE or whatever the fuck finally killed the last few brain cells I had left!

    This exists as a genre all its own. Somewhere between FACES OF DEATH and an Andy Kaufman stunt I think. Too truly morbid to be funny, too dumb to be avant-garde. Just crazy. Really, really crazy.

    I must admit I laughed here and there. Mostly Dave’s over the top delivery (Hom-I-CIDDDES) and the good Doctor’s deadpan buisness as useual. But man…this was pure lunacy. There’s gotta be an award for weirdest and most fucked up DVD extra out there, because nothing even comes close.

    I also watched The Demon’s earlier effort THE BACKLOT MURDERS. This one was actually a lot of fun! Its crap…but fun crap, mostly due to a hilarious performance by The Voice of Roger Rabbit himself Charles Fleischer. Generic slasher stuff with just the right amount of dumb, and unlike CHAOS didn’t take itself too seriously. The makings of reveal a less evil Demon Dave in interviews…must not have opened the DOOR TO ULTIMATE DARKNESS yet. Unfortunatly all the kills are lame though.

    Would love to hear a review from Vern on BACKLOTMURDERS. If The Demon is still on your radar give it a looksee. I liked it slightly more than CHAOS.

  32. ‘… I sometimes wish I could’ve accepted the fight just to see what would’ve happened…’

    Even without the bout, you kind of became fight brothers anyway.

  33. So I’ve been reading through the reviews on this site cause it’s great…and for some reason Googled Michael A. Cormier, the morgue guy. Wondering if he ever tried to make his movie. Apparently he died a few years back of arsenic poisioning. They still don’t know what happened, but said with the amount he ingested he couldn’t have not known it. Was a huge deal on right wing blogs because they thought he was murdered because he had handled the corpse of recently-dead Andrew Breitbart (Coroner’s office said he wasn’t involved in that autopsy). Why do right wingers assume everyone is murdered all the time, maybe this guy was, maybe it was a suicide, but they also thought Breitbrt was murdered by Obama.

    Anyway, seems like a fitting end to this asshole who let a dipshit wrestler film in the morgue, and thinks LSD lets demons invade people’s bodies.

  34. I too, fell dow the Cormier google-hole. Can’t believe I didn’t post about it here. Dude was NOT involved in Breitbart’s autopsy, for the record. But he DID die of massive arsenic poisoning. Truly bizarre case. I recall thinking it was possible he was killed as part of a lover’s spat. Either through food poisoning or by arsenic left all around his home. But I think there were several other mysterious deaths around him, too.

    The whole case was sad and bizarre and just a little bit fitting. Wish Demon Dave would make a movie about THAT.

  35. Yeah, I’ve gone down that rabbit hole a few times. It’s especially crazy that he became a right wing conspiracy theory, but just the arsenic poisoning is bizarre and mysterious. I vaguely remember that when I read that had happened I emailed condolences to Dave but he was kind of hyping it up as another reason the movie was cursed.

  36. I can’t decide if that’s awesome or horrifying. To be that dedicated to Kayfabe… or is he just entirely through the looking glass?

  37. TheRoseAndTheRing

    October 1st, 2021 at 11:47 am

    And now, some time later, chances are that some of the readers of the site have bought films from Dave the Demon – and I don’t mean “Chaos”. No – releases of older cult / schlock / horror classics on Bluray and DVD…

    Yes, Dave sells films, having partnered with the, ahem, similarly unusual Bill Olsen. Demon Dave Direct!

    Bill Norton Olsen Code Red DVD

    It's not terrible, but Synapses releases of the other three are top tier with a ton of features, alternate versions of the movies, reversable covers, ect.

    Looking at the Bluray case now and I figured out why I thought of Code Red. The case itself says Scorpion and even lists Walter, but the...

    (“2:00 – Bill is ranting about other DVD/Blu labels that want to see him dead and DeFalco makes an offer to the trolls. DeFalco demands that the trolls give him “Dawn of the Dicks or Dawn of the Pricks.” A reviewer that gave negative reviews for Code Red/Dark Force discs. DeFalco calls the reviewer a pussy. DeFalco wants to fight the reviewer in a steel cage match. 39:00 – DeFalco say’s that his Last House on the Left ripoff Chaos wasn’t a movie but a prophecy of the future”).

  38. The Sphinx of the Mystery Men

    March 26th, 2022 at 9:35 am

    Demon Dave bought himself a colour-changing Lamborghini this month (or at least photographed himself with one).

    Interestingly, he let it slip some time ago that “David de Falco” is not his real name. A guy who tracked him a while ago claims that Demon Dave is actually from a rich Hollywood family, and his parents are the source of his seemingly huge piles of money.

    It would be something to find out who he actually is.

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