Today, I'm appealing to a niche market. I'm appealing to...the SOV crowd. If you don't know what "SOV" stands for, then clearly, you are not a part of said crowd. This stuff is an acquired taste. Forgive me if I repeat something from a past review. It's just that a proper inspection of a film like 2012's Deatherman needs an avuncular advisory, an admonitory disclaimer of sorts. You either get it or you don't. That may sound pompous, but it's true. Before I dive into the plot details, let me commend writer/director Bob Keller for espousing a time-honored methodology. He eschewed digital video in favor of a trusty camcorder. Atta boy! If you're going to produce a throwback to cult classics such as Sledgehammer and Video Violence, do it right.
Deatherman centers around Dalton Law, star meteorologist at Channel 13 news. An intern invites him over for drinks, so naturally, he assumes that she wants to ride his lightning bolt (his turn of phrase, not mine). As it turns out, she is angling to be his successor. Ordinarily, she is level-headed, but wouldn't you know it? She forgot to take her pills! Long story short, the intern kills the weatherman and buries him in the middle of the woods. Unfortunately for our would-be haruspex of five-day forecasts, Dalton is resurrected by a spell of acid rain. That covers the first half hour, give or take. Deatherman clocks in at a whopping 55 minutes. So...yeah. It goes without saying that this no-budget creepshow has its fair share of infirmities.
Considering the medium, I allowed for certain hindrances. I expected the acting to be shaky, and I endured the substandard audio. The only foible I can't discount is the excessive padding. Select scenes drag on for several eternities. Perhaps Deatherman would have worked better as a short (a really short short). Despite the leaden pace, this was an enjoyable watch. Most campy horror comedies fail to make me laugh, but Keller has a bizarre sense of humor that pairs well with my off-kilter ulnar nerve. Yep, you'll have to Google that one. Don't give me grief. I appreciated the absurdist gags, especially the ambulatory stuffed animal. Where the fuck did that come from?
A lot of the jokes are "left field" material. That's cool with me, which isn't to say that every punch connects. Elsewhere, the special effects aren't particularly special. The gore is telegraphed, although I did smirk at the umbrella impalement. It's obvious that the cast and crew had fun piecing Deatherman together. More often than not, the heart of a shot-on-video oddity is what determines its replay value. Keller's pet project has heart in spades. For those interested, you can purchase Deatherman on VHS from Press Eject Video at THIS location. The tape is red! Colors are pretty. By the way, I wasn't cajoled into advertising this flick. I try to support the underground where I can. You should, too.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 11:13 PM