This is the second release from Camp Motion Pictures that I've reviewed for the site (the first being Splatter Farm). As I'm sure you can surmise, Camp is a DVD distribution shingle that specializes in issuing handheld exploitation films onto the digital media market. They have compiled Special Editions for such z-grade classics as Woodchipper Massacre, Cannibal Campout and Ghoul School. These guys do their homework. All of their DVD's are stacked with extras, and the transfers are relatively spotless, considering the source. Now, I have seen my fair share of shot-on-video bloodbaths. Trust me when I tell you that I have licked the bottom of the barrel on more than one occasion. That's why I'm delighted to transmit my infatuation with Video Violence across the wires.
Steven operates an independent video store in a small town tucked away in the pancreas of America. He hasn't been there long. In fact, he packed up his wife and relocated from New York a few weeks before the events in Video Violence take place. He notices strange things about the people who frequent his rental joint. For starters, the only genres that his customers seem to be interested in are porn and horror. Every household owns a VCR (younger readers should know that this wasn't commonplace in 1987), and the local authority figures are imbecilic blockheads that scoff at suppositions of murder.
The fecal matter grazes the air-conditioning unit when a blank tape is left in the store's overnight dropbox. Out of curiosity, Steven's sole employee pops the video into a VCR. It appears to be an authentic snuff reel, the kind that Nic Cage would jerk off to while wearing a gimp mask. That's right. You can add Video Violence to a list of snuff-oriented flicks that includes Snuff, Hardcore, 8MM, Thesis and A Serbian Film. Unlike those titles, however, this low-budget production doesn't try to shock the skin off of your bones or play with your emotions. Writer/director Gary Cohen just wants to entertain you. If you ask me, he succeeded with flying colors. I never understood that figure of speech, but it describes Video Violence to a T.
Art Neill is believable as Steven. This might sound like bullshit, but he gives the best performance that I've ever seen in a shot-on-video splatter spectacle. He comes off as natural, which is something I can't say for the entire cast of Splatter Farm. Steven is likeable. Most viewers will relate to his plight, as we learn secrets when he does. I was confused for the bulk of the film's running time and so was he. Video Violence proves that you don't need money to write an intriguing script. You do need money to create convincing special effects, though.
I won't deduct too many points for the bogus gore. The crew worked with finite resources. In all likelihood, the pig viscera and prosthetic heads that moistened the camera lens made Lloyd Kaufman jealous. Any major complaints? Not really. The pacing is virgin-tight, the score is menacing (cool soundtrack, by the way) and the ending is beautifully macabre. I doubt that I'll cover Video Violence 2, but I recommend purchasing Camp's "double feature" DVD. Actually, strike that. Pick 'em up on VHS!
14 hours ago