Written by: Giuseppe Rijitano on August 22nd, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: USA, November 13th 2009
Director: Andrew Allan
Writers: Andrew Allan (written by), Andy Lalino (written by)
Cast: Somali Rose, Christopher Sarlls, Stephen Biro, Kevin Anthony Brooks, Cyndi Crotts, Rob Elfstrom, Michael Kenneth Fahr, Mark Fisher, Rod Grant, Krista Grotte, Chris Jackson, Nicole Jackson, Jillian Kinsman
DVD released: August 31st, 2010
Approximate running time: 93 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Unearthed Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.99
Tristan (Chris Jackson) is having a bad night. Suffering from painful migraines he is woken from dreams of tearing a hole in his own head with his fingers by the sounds of his mother getting gangbanged in the front room by her boyfriend and his junkie buddies who proceed to beat up Tristan and throw him out into the street where he is subsequently mugged. Dossing on a park bench he encounters a beautiful woman, with a scar on her forehead, called Laney (Somali Rose) that invites him to meet ‘the Giftgiver’ Dr Karas (Rod Grant). Apparently Karas is a pioneering surgeon in the area of trepanning and claims he can cure Tristan’s migraines as well as bring him peace and enlightenment by drilling holes in his head. Karas has a stable of young men and women he has already treated, a too-good-to-be-true bunch of beautiful people that worship him like a cult leader and can all be identified by the matching scars on their forheads. Crippled with pain Tristan consents to the treatment which does indeed cure him but he soon comes to regret it when he starts having blackouts and memory lapses. It seems Dr Karas is creating an army of people he can control with the push of a button, but why?……….
Winner of Best Horror Feature at the 2009 Melbourne Independent Filmmakers Festival this indie-sci-fi/horror was directed by Andrew Allan, this being his first feature, and co-written by Allan and fellow newcomer Andy Lalino. Originally titled Zombotomy, that should tell you all you need to know about the film – touted as a blend of extreme gore and 70s-style science fiction. Unfortunately this is another of those flicks that depends on your tolerance for very low budget filmmaking. Be warned everything about this film screams amateur! That said I enjoyed it quite a bit. The acting isn’t terrible surprisingly with Chris Jackson acquitting himself quite well as the film’s main protagonist and Somali Rose coming across as quite a likable leading lady. Rod Grant as the villain chews up the scenery with his nefarious stare and drill attachment – did I mention Dr Karas is missing a hand and in it’s place he has a high powered drill which he uses for his surgeries? Nice! He basically comes across like the evil love child of Jon Cryer and John Barrowman. The worst offender acting-wise is Christopher Sarlls as Zane, one of the mad doc’s previous bungled experiments, after a protracted almost Harry-Lime-style build up we are presented with a crap actor in camo gear doing a bad impression of Christian Bale’s Batman, d’oh! The story is actually quite good despite it being something of a retread of numerous sci-fi mind control plots, with an entertaining final twist and many nods to the likes of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. It’s competently filmed apart from a tendency to overuse green, red and blue lighting effects. The gore effects are cheap and nasty with very fake looking scenes of head drilling and eye gouging that I felt just added to the indie charm of the whole experience. Oh and keep an eye out for a post-credits sequence and a cameo by legendary drive-in director William Grefe. If you’re feeling charitable give it a go folks and remember even David Cronenberg and Peter Jackson had to start somewhere!
The 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen picture looks fairly good despite some softening of the image (suffers in the dark scenes particularly), colors are strong and vivid for the most part with fair contrast levels. The stereo audio track is at times a bit shaky with some variable noticeable background noise but the dialog is clear throughout.
The official release will reportedly contain the following extras:
• Audio commentary by director Allan and producer Lalino • Audio commentary by Allan, cinematographer Wes Pratt and sound designer Eddie Sturgeon • Audio commentary by Grant, Koch and indie-horror funnyman Herb Kowalski • Behind-the-scenes featurette • Location tour • Bonus short film SPAVENTURE
However this DVD screener contained no extras so I can’t comment on them but then I also didn’t have to sit through them, every cloud and all that ;^)