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Critic Reviews for Shock-O-Rama
Audience Reviews for Shock-O-Rama
"You know, just once - just ONCE - I would like to be in a film that is not a complete and utter f***ing embarrassment! I'm not asking for Shakespeare, I'm not asking for Anton Chekhov, I'm not even asking for David fricking Mamet...I just once would like to be in a film that doesn't make me cringe at the thought of people actually watching it." A B-movie horror-comedy blast, at least for 2/3rds of the time. If you're acquainted with Misty Mundae movies, then you'll love her segment as Rebecca Raven, an underground movie star sick of being known more for her nudity than her acting. Playing a more belligerent version of herself (one hopes!) a tide of winking self-referential mockery comes flowing like a Bruce Campbell twitter feed. Seeking solitude, she escapes to an isolated country house that she bought on the cheap because the previous owner was involved in some demonic rituals - and, it turns out, is not what you'd call 100% dead. Meanwhile, the studio producer is in search of the next Rebecca Raven and screens two short films, so essentially Shock-O-Rama consists of three mini movies. Mecharachnia is occasionally funny (a pursuing police spaceship has the best lines) but way overlong for the material. Lonely Are The Brain gets back on the scoreboard with AJ Kahn growing suspicious about the neurological experiments she and other young women are participating in under the supervision of evasive sexy doctor Julian Wells. Your mileage may vary, but I had a fun time with this sendup which no doubt was greatly enhanced by familiarity with its participants.
After being ever-so elusive in the 80's and 90's, cult low-budget director/writer/effects guy Brett Piper (Drainiac, They Bite) hit the ground in the 2000's running, throwing out one movie after the next, one of which being the deliciously cheeky anthology Shock-O-Rama. The wrap-around story concerns Scream Queen Rebecca Raven (played by rising Scream/Nudie Queen Misty Mundae) who starts getting sick of all the same horror trash her studio keeps putting her in. Before she can make new demands, she is unexpectedly fired by her bosses and forced to take a much-needed vacation to a secluded house in the woods. With Raven gone, the sleazy execs begin their search for a newer, cheaper, and hotter Scream Queen (whose also willing to do nudity). They screen their first movie, Mecharachnia, about invading stop-motion aliens who attack a junkyard owner and his former girlfriend (hottest chick in the film, Caitlin Ross, who shamefully doesn't get naked). The second story comes from the wrap-around as Raven is attacked by an undead zombie that unexpectedly gets the tables turned on him. The third story concerns a house of hot chicks who are used in a sexy scientist's (super hot Julian Wells, who DOES get naked!) sleep deprivation experiments. The only problem is the experiments cause some of the girls to die in their sleep. This corny, but fun anthology brings out all of the quirky elements that director Piper is known for, namely his campy special effects, but not to mention a fun story and cast (regardless of how amateur and low-budget they seem). Not for everyone?s tastes, but unsuspecting viewers should research before going into a film like this before they do something stupid like give it bad ratings. Overall, Shock-O-Rama is a blast.
I love anthology films, because even if I don't care for the segment I'm watching, I know there's another one coming shortly that will hopefully be better. Plus, a well-made anthology film is like getting three or four or even five movies for the price and time-investment of one! So, whenever I discover a new anthology film, it usually goes to the top of the Stack of Stuff. My latest discovery is the low-budget indie film "Shock-O-Rama". When I sat down to watch it, I had low hopes--I associate most of the stars with low-budget softcore lesbian porn with horror themes, and I think Misty Mundae has appeared in more films I've assigned Zero-ratings to than any other single performer--but my expectations rose with a nifty, retro-style opening credits sequence... and as tales unfolded, I found myself enjoying an unexpected treat. "Shock-O-Rama" is a comedy-horror anthology film that consists of three stories that are kinda-sorta interwoven in a fashion that brings to mind great anthology pictures like "The House That Dripped Blood" or "Charade", and with a fun, light-hearted style that's reminicent of the equally great anthology picture "Creepshow". The movie starts out with "Zombie This!", the main story that binds the film together, as it unfolds around and inbetween the other elements in the package. In it, low-budget Scream Queen Rebecca Raven (Mundae) is fired by the slimey executives (Fine and Thomas) in charge of the studio that has produced all her movies so far over creative differences and a dispute involving Rebecca's cup-size and her refusal to get surgery to make increase it. She's burned out on garbage horror movies anyway, so Rebecca is happy to for the vacation and retreats to an isolated country house for peace and quiet. The traquility is shortlived, however, as Rebecca accidentially animates a zombie (Polcou) that comes after her, hungry for flesh. Meanwhile, back at the studio, the execs are realizing they don't have an actress to replace Rebecca in a film that starts shooting Monday--a pre-sold film at that! They watch a couple of movies from other studios, hoping to find the fresh talent (and breasts) to replace their former star. The films they watch are the other two stories featured, so "Shock-O-Rama" ultimately becomes an anthology film that features movies within a movie about a horor movie star for whom the horror becomes all too real. The rampant self-referentialism and mockery of the sorts of movies that Mundae and the target audience for them that it adds up to will either make you howl with laughter or become purple with rage, depending on your sense of humor. The first film the studio execs watch is "Mecharachnia", a goofy sci-fi thriller where a tiny, psychopathic space alien crashlands in a junkyard and proceeds to toroment its obnoxious proprietor (Monkiewicz) and his shrewish ex-girlfriend (Ross). They then check out "Lonely are the Brain", the segment that comes closest to delivering what I expect to see in a movie where Misty Mundae, Julian Wells, and A.J. Kahn have top billing. In it, a volunteer in a sleep study (Khan) comes to discover that creepy Dr. Carruthers (Wells) and her secretive research partner are is as dangerous in real life as they are in sexually charged nightmares about lethal lesbianism. The quality level across all three segments is pretty consistent, with a decent acting and fairly light-hearted scripting throughout. The special effects are as retro as the feel of the movie--with stop-action animation and model spaceship battles the likes of which we haven't seen since "Return of the Jedi". (I'm not saying the special effects are par with what ILM created, just that the methods are the same and that it's nice to see the old standbys in this day of CGI overkill.) Usually, in these reviews, I provide a rating for each segment, but that's not necessary here, because everything here rates a solid Six. "Zombie This!" is the strongest of the three stories on both the acting and writing front, but the movies-within-the-movie are almost equally fun. The only real complaint I have about the film is that "Mecharachnia" could have done with a little more polish, both script- and editing-wise. It needed to be tightened up, as the bickering between the junkyard owner and his girlfriend get redundent (so much so that it feels as if both takes of an insult exchange were included when the director should have chosen the best one) and the running battles between Man and Space Invader feel sluggish because of repeative establishing shots, build-ups that needed to be trimmed. However, these minor flaws are more than made up for by the zany humor and real moments of terror in "Zombie This!". Although Mundae's co-star in that segment--Duane Polcou, who vasilates easily from scary to funny; wait until you see the "zombie jig" that got me laughing so hard I paused the DVD so as to not miss the action that followed--Misty Mundae's performance is what really makes the segment stand out. I saw that Mundae might posses a glimmer of comedic talent in the awful "Mummy Raider" ([URL=http://www.rottentomatoes.com/vine/journal_view.php?journalid=245672&entryid=344053&view=public]review here[/URL] ), but in this film she shows that she actually might have the talent for far more than horror-themed lesbian nookie fests. She proves she has range, comedic timing, and a healthy dose of charm and charisma that shines very bright when she has a good script to work with. (Up until now, the only "Seduction Cinema" regular that I thought had any dramatic talent--or even enough presence to succeed outside of low-budget skin flicks--was Julian Wells. Now, I need to add Misty Mundae to that list. I hope to see more of her in movies like this (even if she keeps her clothes on). "Shock-O-Rama" is a fun anthology flick that's equal parts tribute to old-school horror movies like those Amicus and American-International used to produce, and send-up of modern low-budget horror/skin flicks. Lovers of both kinds of films should get a kick out of this one. (The only dissapointed viewers will be those who, as Rebecca Raven would say, live in their parents' basements and watch with the remote in one hand and their pecker in other.) Shock-O-Rama Starring: Misty Mundae, Rob Monkiewicz, Caitlin Ross, David Fine, A.J. Kahn, Julian Wells, Duane Polcou, Michael Thomas, and Sylvainne Chebance Director: Brett Piper
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