Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Video Murders (1988) extremely poor

The imdb writes that this movie is shot on 16mm. Maybe some shots are, but I think I'm starting to know enough about the movies to recognize when one is shot on video. Every light in this movie, from a spotlights in a night shot, to sunlight, to rear car lights in the day time, is accompanied by a blurry glare the washes out everything around it. The effect is of constant soft lighting. I believe a filter could and should have fixed this problem. The problems here are almost as bad as some of the lighting problems I had in my witchfinder video, which was pretty much shot in one take with very little done on my part to make the filming conditions better than they were.

Video Murders from the now defunct Trans World Entertainment

I'd say what's odd about this movie is that it's a mix of the cheep and unprofessional and the expensive. What is expensive in this movie? A huge car chase at the end that goes on for quite some times and probably involved the use of an entire town's police department and a squad cars. A helicopter is rented as well for the final sequence. All this action comes after the first three quarters of the movie that are strictly amateur in appearance. I'm talking stuff on the level with the Tempe and Video Outlaw releases of the 90's. When the killer is video taping his prey with a camcorder I joked to my sell, that's probably one of the cameras they are using to shoot the movie. That could in fact be the case.

Some of this stuff is funny to watch though. A new romantic type of band plays in a rock club and the ridiculous looking singers hand gesture and stage presence are remarkably similar to those of The Killers' Brandon Flowers. I'm not talking about cool-looking Adam Ant stuff here, trust me, this band was hideous. The female lead has the worst hair I've seen on a girl in the movies or in real life. It's well past waist length, but the bottom of it is knotted up in a sort of bun, so that hangs like a pendulum of sorts. This character actually hits on the killer at the rock show, but is rebuffed, yet she tries and tries to get him to like her. Understand that this wanted killer is a loser to the max. He is dressed like a vagrant, is dirty, and unpleasant. How are we supposed to sympathize with a woman so insanely desperate that she goes for this guy? I've never seen a female lead portrayed as so pathetic in a film nor have I ever seen a killer come of as such as loser. In a confession speech that he makes to his camera, we learn his motives for killing. He is angry at his mother for making him move out of the house and telling him to get a job. She told him everyone would love him, but his business went under. A video business of course.

Maybe the killer being a loser is a good touch, as I suppose it reflects the embarrassing back stories behind real life serial killers, but there is no way anyone can say that writing and dialogue in Video Murders is any good. Fortunately the microphones don't pick all of it up clearly, a problem with video as I know first hand.

Worst scene: In one scene the killer demands his victim dress up in a Sunday dress and a shabby wig. Why the wig? This woman already has more hair on her head than a woolly mammoth on it's whole body. Anyway the results are gross and resemble a man in drag. Whatever gets you off...

Best scene: (spoiler!) The killer shoots himself in the head on a bridge, after making a speech to the the television camera pointed from a helicopter hovering at bridge level over the water. This scene is professional as if it were from a different caliber of movie all together, which just makes this movie stranger.

Director Jim McCullough Sr. also brought us Mountaintop Motel Massacre which has a bit of a cult following and can be found on DVD. I've got a tape of that one and in one of my unwatched boxes and will bring you a review of it someday. Don't expect a DVD release of Video Murders anytime soon.


Anonymous NoSympathy said...

The font is TOOO small dude, please dont be shy and crank the size a bit :p otherwise great site!

12:02 PM  
Blogger warrenzone said...

that's true, I think I will change it up in the near future. new fonts, I mean..

4:54 PM  
Blogger Carnacki said...

I wonder if they were making the movie and half way through someone with money was conned into investing which allowed them to make a better movie from then on, but not enough money to redo the earlier scenes.

8:15 PM  

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