Showing posts with label Dawn of the Dead. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dawn of the Dead. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

EFFECTS - A Twisted Tale of Stalkers, Smut, and Snuff

Out of print until 2005, let me say THANK GOD this film is back! It is one of the creepiest and most unnerving stories I’ve ever watched, and its originality and craftsmanship has made it legendary in the horror community. Created by some of George Romero’s friends and colleagues outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this film brings together many familiar faces of movies to come, including Tom Savini, Joe Pilato, and more.

The film is a voyeuristic mix of sexy and scary as you watch a snuff film being made under the guise of a horror film. It really is 2 movies in one; the first one is a low-budget movie about a woman with a sort of demon possession issue, or a crazy husband, or something like that, but who cares? The second one, DUPED, is much more interesting as it is being filmed behind the scenes without the stars ever knowing it exists. And maybe they never will...

EFFECTS revolves around the idea of watching people in their most intimate moments – from the sexy to the most frightening. It is part Peeping Tom, part Deadly Stalker. And which you feel like each moment depends on your level of trust in the characters – sometimes you are rooting for them, watching for more. Other times you want it to go away, stop, change or cut scenes, and the camera stays fixed and you are forced to watch what you don’t want to know. The film is constantly messing with you like a nun’s twisted idea of punishment for peeping in the girls’ locker room.

The movie stars Pilato (Day of the Dead) as Dom, a special effects guy working on a movie for director Lacey Bickel, played by John Harrison (Tales of the Darkside). Let’s pause on Harrison for a moment here: he looks like Dan Ackyroyd’s twin brother with an Elvis hairdo and no sense of humor. He brings an unbelievably twisted vibe to the character. Celeste, played by Susan Chapek, is between the these two, Dom being her new fling and Lacey being her old. She is icy, cold and sharp, but you want to root for her. Sure, go ahead and try!
Dark shadows with low light outlines combined with bright, penetrating colors make the visuals of the film very Italian, a little Dario Argento-like but without much of the bright-ass red blood (but there is still some!) Instead the 70’s d├ęcor and the great wardrobe provide the brightness of color during the sunny fall days, but when night falls the dark is as black as they come. The film uses shadows like John Carpenter later in HALLOWEEN, but more often and more effectively, making you feel creeped out AF.

So, a quick mention of mirrors. Yeah, mirrors are one of the oldest statements in film. There are tons in this movie but used as a plot device, since Lacey is using them to film in every room of the house in total secrecy. Who knows they are there, and who doesn’t? I know they are there, but I still caught myself thinking we had privacy with the characters in certain rooms. Plus, the mirrors are also helping feed the crew their steady stream of coke, and without that none of the movies would be happening at all. So thank god for that.

Let me tell you, this movie is great. It feels like it is all around you, in surround sound, IMAX, and 3D all at once. A coked-up jerk-off can come up right behind you and startle you as a joke, or someone could be behind you waiting with the razor that keeps making an appearance. SHIT it is creepy as hell, and although you keep looking for people to trust or people you think aren’t in on it, your options keep dwindling. It is by far one of the most nerve-wracking stories I have ever seen.

But the creepiest part of all: you have to watch the snuff film, fittingly placed dead center in the movie. You won’t want to, but you’ll be rewarded if you do!

Check out this movie and other freaky slashers on our YouTube channel: