• Horror (Elite Entertainment) DVD Review

    Released by: Elite Entertainment
    Released on: May 27th, 2003.
    Director: Dante Tomaselli
    Cast: The Amazing Kreskin, Vincent Lamberti, Danny Lopes, Lizzy Mahon, Christie Sanford
    Year: 2002
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    Horror - Movie Review:

    For Dante Tomaselli’s sophomore directorial effort, 2002’s Horror, the director of the indie cult hit Desecration takes us on a trip that, while it borrows from various sources throughout its seventy-seven minute running time, is as unique and original as they come without branching too far into surrealist territory as to put off those looking for a semi-traditional horror picture.

    As to the story? A group of inmates escapes from a drug rehabilitation center and heads off with a bag full of hallucinogens and substances that one of them received from a Reverend Salo Jr. (played by Vincent Lamberti). The good reverend, who might not actually be so good, has also promised them salvation should they meet with him afterwards.

    The group, led by Luck (Danny Lopes), heads off and ends up at an isolated farmhouse where we find Grace (Lizzy Mahon), Salo Jr.’s daughter, on a heavy diet of drugs that have been fed to her by her father and her strange mother. Grace has also been communicating with her grandfather, Reverend Salo Sr. (The Amazing Kreskin), who may or may not be recently deceased.

    When Grace is hit with the reality that her grandfather may be communicating with her from beyond the grave, something snaps and Luck ends up shooting her parents. From here on in, things take a sharp turn and the movie gets weirder and weirder, and then weirder still. And then there’s that goat that keeps appearing…

    Ok, right off the bat, I want to get one thing clear – I loved this movie. Sure, it leaves a lot up to the viewer to decide and some can argue, quite well I’d imagine, that the film doesn’t make any sense, but it sucked me right from the get go. The acting isn’t perfect by any stretch, but it’s much better than your average low budget horror film and Tomaselli makes excellent use of shadows and sets and mixes it all up with some great lighting and a lot of extremely sinister symbolism. It’s a movie you can get lost in, if you’re in the right frame of mind, and concern yourself more with the atmosphere and the ambience than the linear storytelling.

    A lot of detail has been put into this film that astute viewers should enjoy picking up on and it’s the little touches (like a cross being upright on the wall in one scene and that same cross being inverted on the wall when things take a turn for the worse) that make the movie not only interesting to watch, but actually scary. Spend some time with this one and it’ll get under your skin.

    Horror - DVD Review:

    Sadly, the transfer is the weakest part of this package. The 1.85.1 non-anamorphic presentation is riddled with video snow during the lighter scenes, particularly those that feature a lot of white. It proves to be quite distracting and is a constant throughout the features running time. If this issue were eliminated, the transfer would be quite solid. Budgetary restraints do show up a few times but these are minor issues at best. It’s also a shame that the disc wasn’t enhanced for 16x9 sets, but 2002 was a different era so let’s not be too harsh in hindsight.
    Horror has been remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 and it sounds very nice. No background hiss or distortion is present and dialogue is consistently clear and is never overshadowed by the sound effects, of which there are plenty. While the majority of the mix is up front, there are a few standout moments where all 5.1 channels are used and it really does serve to create a nice atmosphere. There are no alternate language options or subtitles offered here.

    There are quite a few nice surprises to be found on this release in terms of its extra features. First up is a full-length commentary with writer/director Dante Tomaselli, who actually clarifies quite a bit of the weirdness and inexplicable that permeates the film. It should go without saying that you need to watch the movie without the commentary on first, but for your second viewing, you may very well want to listen to what he has to say as while at times there is a bit too much dead air, there is a lot of good information here and it goes a long way to make sense of some of the more unusual aspects of the films story.

    Next up is a pair of trailers: one for Horror and one for Tomaselli’s earlier Desecration. There is also a never before seen short clip of Desecration included as well. This clip was put together to get funds raised to complete the film, and it’s kind of interesting to see and compare to the finished feature itself. There is also a selection of behind the scenes footage and interestingly enough, a twelve-minute clip of the Amazing Kreskin working his fellow cast members in preparation for his performance. It’s pretty interesting to see this guy work. I don’t know how he does it but he’s pretty convincing.

    Horror - The Final Word:

    Despite the nasty snow effects on the transfer, Horror is still well worth a look. It’s a unique and impressively creepy experience that won’t soon leave you.

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Gary Banks's Avatar
      Gary Banks -
      "...that the film doesn’t make any sense, but it sucked me right from the get go."

      Well, that explains why you liked it. I'd like a lot more films if they did that for me.

      Sorry, Ian. Couldn't resist.