• Forced Entry (After Hours Cinema) DVD Review

    Released by: After Hours Cinema
    Released on: July 24th, 2007.
    Director: Shaun Costello
    Cast: Harry Reems, Laura Cannon, Tim Long, Helmuth Richler, Nina Fawcett
    Year: 1973
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    Forced Entry – Movie Review:

    Not to be confused with the 1975 film remake of the same name by Jim Sotos (a.k.a. The Last Victim), in Forced Entry Harry Reems (star of Deep Throat and Sex Wish and credited on screen as Tim Holt, seen here in a rare sans moustache performance) plays a Vietnam Vet back in the land he fought so hard to protect in this early seventies sleaze fest. Soon after we meet him, slugging away at a gas station as a pump jockey, something deep inside of him snaps. He takes to raping women at knife and/or gun point. That's more or less the plot right there. From this point on there's no turning back for Holt, and his attacks become increasingly violent and shockingly brutal.

    “The army trained him to kill…. rape was his own idea!”

    What makes Forced Entry work are two things - the direction, which is very forward and very aggressive in its style - and Harry Reems' completely over the top performance. Most know Reems from his work with the late Ms. Lovelace in which he was consistently humorous and more than a little bit goofy. Here, he's scary. Genuinely scary. The levels of profanity that he's able to hit while he sadistically raping and killing women is completely psychotic and you can almost believe for a few seconds that he's not faking it.

    All 'rednecked' out in a greasy three quarter length shirt and a trucker cap, he works his way into women’s’ homes, works his dick into their bodies, and then works his knife into their throats. Costello's camera leers not only over the sex scenes but over the murder scenes as well, which, while low budget, are gruesome enough to be convincing in the context of the movie. The gritty style of the film gives the movie an even nastier feel, the grain inherent in the 16mm film stock used for the production simply adding to the raw look.

    If the on screen rape and sadism weren't enough, there are plenty of real life stock-footage inserts from the Vietnam War tossed into the movie. These inserts really give you a feel of what Reems' character must have gone through. While this doesn't even attempt to excuse what he's doing, it does give us some insight into his character and his ensuing insanity as he spirals out of control in the last half of the film. His rants against the 'scummy hippies' who come to his station are a little campy by today's standards but at the time that the film was made, when hippies were considerably more common than they are today, they were likely fairly tense.

    More than forty-years after it was made, Forced Entry remains an uneasy and uncomfortable watch. It's hard to imagine the porno-movie-going crowd of the era getting into this one, as it's just too out there to work as spank material but too hardcore to really serve as a standard horror movie. As such, it lies firmly in between genres, which probably goes a long way towards explaining the cult following that this and other Costello roughies have developed over the last few years since his name has gotten out there and his films have become ripe for reappraisal. The film remains an oddity in the always bizarre cannon of seventies porn.

    Forced Entry – DVD Review:

    Forced Entry first appeared on DVD in the Alpha Blue Archives Avon Dynasty - The Shaun Costello Collection boxed set. This '2007 restored version' presents the film uncut in a fairly decent presentation that has unfortunately not been properly flagged for progressive scan playback. That said, it has been taken from the only known existing film print of the movie and as such it has decent detail levels. The colors are a little faded and there's print damage and scratches throughout but for a movie made three decades ago on 16mm film stock for $6,200.00 which has been stored in some back room for God only knows how long, things could have certainly looked much worse than they do on this transfer. The movie is presented in its original 1.33.1 fullframe aspect ratio and thankfully no video bugs appear during playback of the feature although there is an After Hours Cinema copyright notice on the title screen.

    The English language mono soundtrack does have some hiss and background noise present in a few spots but these problems are minor and you won't have any issues understanding the dialogue. Levels are fairly well balanced and if there's a bit of distortion present in the high end, it's easy enough to look past it.

    The first of three bonus loops on the disc is a black and white short (shown in non-anamorphic widescreen for some reason, it would seem it should be full frame) that shows a man with a big moustache and a blonde woman getting it on atop a swanky couch (10:27).

    The second bonus loop, again cropped from its fullframe aspect ratio, is an Erotisex Films presentation of The Last Payment (8:05). It follows a blonde as she wanders around in her negligee while two repo-men show up to repossess her belongings. She tries to talk them into giving her a second chance by doing a strip tease and then having a three way with them. This loop features burned in subtitles in both English and German.

    The third and final bonus loop (8:59) is a Danish International production featuring a young Harry Reems getting down and dirty with a buxom brunette (who kind of looks like Rene Bond) in a mirrored room that looks like it might be a discotheque. All three of the bonus loops feature an After Hours Cinema bug at the beginning and at the end which only lasts a few seconds.

    Trailers have also been included for Forced Entry (1:25), Butterflies (3:36) and A Touch Of Genie (2:03). The Forced Entry trailer looks like it's been constructed recently, who knows if a genuine theatrical trailer even exists for it. All three of these trailers are presented in anamorphic widescreen.

    The most important supplement on this release, however, comes in the form of the insert booklet which contains a six-page essay from writer/director Shaun Costello on the making of Forced Entry, his first feature film. He explains casting decisions, effects work, locations and more and it makes for seriously interesting reading.

    Forced Entry – The Final Word:

    Forced Entry isn't for all tastes - in fact, it's a pretty grim, ugly exploitative picture. That said, it's also very well made, contains some interesting social commentary and a fantastic performance from Harry Reems and it actually works quite well as a horror film if you're not adverse to hardcore footage. After Hours Cinema has done a decent job on the presentation and the supplements are a nice touch as well.