BY: DAKOTA DAHL
I’ve got two wacky films to inform you about, coming straight out of Darkside Releasing’s new British Collection. Darkside specializes in indie content, which I’m all too eager to support, since horror is already so vastly overlooked by the mainstream, and usually dominated by a scant few names. So without further ado…
DAY OF THE STRANGER
Starring: Gary Baxter, Dale Sheppard, Maryam Forouhandeh
Writer: Thomas Lee Rutter, Mark Twain
Director: Thomas Lee Rutter
Carnie Film Production
Do you remember a sub-genre of film called an Acid Western from the late 60s and early 70s? Me neither, but from what I can gather, it was a presumably seamless blend of trip-out surrealism and gritty gunslinging. While I’m sadly an uncultured swine who isn’t familiar with the genre, I do love a good western, and appreciate a good guerilla filmshoot. DAY OF THE STRANGER is highly stylized, with film grain a plenty, mountains of monologues and a satisfying level of straight up murder. And of course, mind boggling sequences that are meant to remind of acid trips (or so I’m told…)
Following the bizarre, bounty hunting bungles of a stone-cold killer named Caine Farrowood. After letting one of his prey get the drop on him, Farrowood seemingly dies, only to wake up at home and perfectly fine. So it’s safe to say that the rest of the film is going to be weird. Enter The Stranger, Farrowood’s newest and most profitable bounty, who might also just be Satan. Mind games ensue.
The budget is on the sleeves here, with every gunshot seemingly added in digitally during post production. On the flipside, the costumes are actually pretty good, all things considered. The acting may be a little stilted, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that’s intentional to give the whole film that dreamlike quality. And the dialogue is so needlessly over the top, you can feel the ghost of Mark Twain (who’s writing is the basis for the film) twirling his mustache in approval.
If you remember Acid Westerns at all, this is definitely for you, but if you just like western nostalgia from more consumable creators like Morricone, this will rub your rhubarb as well. It may not be for everyone, but I really think you need to give it a watch to determine for yourself. I also recommend watching it just to see a return to the screen for Gary Shail (Shock Treatment, The Further Adventures of Oliver Twist) or to simply appreciate that this film took SIX YEARS to create with next to zero money.
Starring: Simon Berry, Alice Mulholland, Annabelle Rich
Writer/Director: Sam Mason-Bell
I feel a little ripped off by this title, since I thought it was going to be about a Millennial who kills people (instead of just the economy by not buying diamonds or eating breakfast or whatever.) What it actually turned out to be was a story about a dickhead real estate agent who actually kills millennials, which is pretty much the baby boomer wet dream, right? Still, it’s nice to see Generation Y not be portrayed as soulless maggots feasting on the corpse of the American Dream.
So the plot is that the agent, played by Simon Berry (Gore Theatre 2, Para-psych Trauma) murders various young people trying to buy their first home. He keeps one of them alive in his corpse room/the master bedroom, to witness his crimes, I think. It isn’t really clear. Also, it’s filmed in such a way that you get the impression you are supposed to empathize with the killer at times, since some of the characters are mildly annoying. I dunno, the theme and morals are a little muddled on this one.
There’s a lot of blood here, but that’s about it. The house, which everyone seems to get impressed by, is actually kind of dingy, so it distracts from any realism. The victims each get their own chapter before being dispatched, but almost zero of them are well acted, and even more poorly written. Even the killer isn’t interesting, which is a must for a low budget, indie horror. I know the statement could be that ageist old people are usually boring and barely sane, but in cinema, at least make their insanity/ignorance captivating. I get the impression that it may have been an anti-right wing propaganda piece, but the writing of some of the younger characters as cardboard cut-outs of generational stereotypes makes it seem like the movie hates both groups, so maybe it’s just a centrist stance.
If any or both of these interest you, buy them here!