. Adam & Eve.
that it was a box office bomb, it’s interesting just how
many imitators, offshoots and cash-ins Grindhouse
was spawned – from movies like Machete
and Hobo with a Shotgun
to numerous DVD double-bills, trailer
collections and box sets using the Grindhouse name and visuals
as a selling point. Clearly, while not for the mainstream, the
retro sleaze experience is one that has a solid market.
It’s unsurprising, therefore, that there have been a couple
of porno pastiches of the concept. Thankfully not basing their
stories of Death Proof or Planet Terror,
these X-rated tales have instead taken to visuals and the flavour
of movies made at a time when hardcore was also at its creative
peak. How successful are they at capturing that feel? Well, not
very. But much like the film that inspired it, Grindhouse
XXX is a mixed bag.
Topped off with the ‘coming attractions’ film reel,
film leader and scratches that every pseudo grindhouse filmmaker
(me included) has been obliged to use, this interestingly packaged*
double bill offers up two films, approximately 70 minutes a piece,
as well as a rather ridiculous and amusing fake trailer for Easter,
in which a psychotic Easter Bunny ploughs through assorted victims.
It’s crude stuff, but is more fun that Eli Roth’s
The opening film, sadly, is pretty poor. Student Assassin
stars Tegan Presley as…erm… Tegan Presley, who tools
up with a laughably huge collection of weapons when her cop girlfriend
(Nina Mercedez) is kidnapped by a drug lord (Derrick Pierce),
and sets out on a rescue / revenge mission. This had potential,
but Presley has the acting ability of a lag (a problem when she
is called on to emote) and director David Lord crams the whole
story into about five minutes, the rest of the film being pretty
generic sex scenes. Okay, it’s porn – you expect a
lot of sex. But if you’ve gone to the effort of providing
a narrative structure, rather than simply offering up Gonzo vignettes,
then I expect you to follow through. In the end, tattoos aside,
this feels like something from hardcore’s lowest ebb in
the second half of the 1980s. And to make things worse, the video
has been given that same post-production colour treatment that
you find in the likes of Mega Piranha as an attempt
to make the film look less cheap. It doesn’t work. It’s
a shame, because the few minutes of action are handled with a
degree of skill.
the second film in the double bill improves things considerably.
Andre Madness' Massacre at Pine Lake is a Friday
13th inspired slasher, with an escaped serial killer
offing camp counsellors in the time-honoured tradition. Headed
by Alexis Ford, these are the most unlikely bunch of counsellors
you’ll ever see, and are horny enough to evoke the ire of
any self-respecting Eighties horror villain.
The film takes a surprisingly long time to get to the first sex
scene, and only has three porno sequences in the whole thing –
there’s actually more plot than porn here. Unfortunately,
it also takes quite a long time to get down to anything else,
with lengthy scenes of the soon-to-be-victims tidying up and gardening,
like it’s some sort of minimalist farming drama. Once our
villain arrives on the scene though, there are some passably effective
moments of horror before – spoiler alert for any readers
who haven’t seen horror films before – our heroine
dispatches him with a witty one-liner.
It’s not up to the standard of Camp Cuddly Pines
Powertool Massacre, another porno slasher spoof from
a few years ago, but Massacre at Pine Lake is
an amusing distraction for genre fans.
Wrapped up with behind-the-scenes docos for both films, blooper
reels, interviews, trailers and a commentary track, there’s
no faulting this as a package. I just wish more effort had been
made with Student Assassin. But then again, I
could say the same about Grindhouse and Death
* The box for Grindhouse XXX is a landscape format
double sized affair, holding two boxed DVDs side by side. It’s
impressive, but a bit of a bugger when it comes to shelf space!
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