August 20th, 2009

CHAOS (2005) ** ½

I was reading somewhere about the Last House on the Left remake (that just came out on DVD this week) where they mentioned this movie Chaos; saying that it was more or less an unofficial remake.  I had never heard of it before, which is weird because it co-starred Sylvester Stallone’s son, Sage.  Considering the original Last House is one of my favorite horror films of all time (as well as my unhealthy obsession with Rocky 5, Sage’s big screen debut), I figured I owed it to myself to check it out.  I immediately put this bad boy straight to the top of my Netflix Queue.


While the flick was in the mail though, I started reading up on Chaos.  The things I read about it piqued my interest even more.  For example, Roger Ebert gave it No Stars and got into a war of words with the filmmakers over its shocking violence.  Since Ebert openly condemned I Spit on Your Grave, I took this as a good sign.  Now that I finally watched Chaos though, I have to say I have mixed feelings about the whole deal.


If you’ve seen Last House, you’ve basically seen this flick.  What separates this film from Last House is a certain level of professionalism.  Chaos’ director David DeFalco is not necessarily a bad director (he also made The Back Lot Murders, which was sorta fun) but he is no Wes Craven.  While DeFalco makes the scenes of the repulsive villains raping and tormenting the teenage girls appropriately brutal (more on that later), everything else in the film is boring and banal.  The flick is also lacking any suspense whatsoever.  The villains just attack the girls repeatedly over and over again.  There is no build-up, it just kinda happens.  Last House on the other hand is filled to the brim with moments of gut-wrenching suspense which makes the grossout moments that much more powerful.  Shocking your audience is easy.  Keeping them in suspense is hard.  Chaos doesn’t even bother with the latter.


Another thing about Chaos that pissed a lot of people off was the ending.  I won’t give it away.  I’ll just say that it’s basically one big Fuck You to the audience.  I don’t think people appreciated that one bit.  I didn’t. 


Yet another point of contention among reviewers (and audiences) and the filmmakers was the need to have a disclaimer at the beginning of the film that states that the movie is meant to be “educational”.  Yeah, if Chaos is educational, then I guess so is Faces of Death.  Seriously though, there is nothing to be gleaned from this movie other than 1) Don’t go to raves in the middle of the woods and 2) Don’t try to buy Ecstasy from Sage Stallone.


I will say that two of the attack scenes feature some of the most uncompromisingly sick shit you’ve seen in a horror film.  In one scene, a girl gets her nipple cut off and fed to her until she pukes before being repeatedly stabbed then having her corpse violated by not one but two degenerates.  The other scene involves a girl being hogtied then having a large knife inserted into her rectum then jimmied back and forth until her anus and vagina become one big bloody hole.


Like I said:  sick shit.  Disturbing and disgusting shit.  Still, it’s effective sick, disturbing, and disgusting shit.  Too bad the rest of the movie isn’t nearly as effective.


Chaos is not for everybody.  If you are easily sickened and offended, do not see it.  If on the other hand, you are a horror movie buff who wants to experience a depraved piece of demented filmmaking, check it out.


In the early 90’s there were a lot of quirky low budget comedies involving gays or lesbians going on an offbeat adventure.  Very few of these movies are any good.  Bound and Gagged:  A Love Story is not one of them.


Ginger Lynn Allen stars as a chick who is married to the abusive Chris Mulkey.  When he learns that she is having an affair with a lesbian (Elizabeth Saltarrelli), he flips out.  Big Time.  Even though her hubby is a walking time bomb, Ginger still gives up her Sapphic ways and goes back to him.  This pisses off her lesbo lover so much that she resorts to kidnapping Ginger and takes her to a lesbian deprogrammer (Karen Black) to make her like girls again.


Bound and Gagged is one of those movies that tries to be hip and edgy but it just comes off as being desperate and irritating.  (There is a guy who tries to commit suicide while dressed in a Santa suit, if that gives you an idea of what we’re dealing with here.)  Although the bulk of the movie is flat and joyless, there is one (count ‘em, ONE) funny scene where a guy gropes Ginger and her lesbian lover rescues her by running over his hand with a car.  Naturally, she runs over the WRONG HAND and Ginger makes her back the car up and crush the hand that touched her goodies.  If the rest of the film had successfully maintained this level of black comedy, Bound and Gagged:  A Love Story may have actually been worth a damn.


The movie does have a couple scenes of Ginger getting naked and having R rated sex.  I don’t know if this is a good thing or not.  I mean sure, we get to see her naked and everything, but if I really wanted to see her get down and dirty, I’d just put on Between the Cheeks and watch her do her XXX rated thang. 


Ginger gives an OK performance I guess.  She’s hot but she’s not much of an actress.  Again, if I want to watch her “act”, I’ll put on Ginger’s Party.  This was the only movie Saltarrelli ever did and it’s easy to see why.  She’s thoroughly annoying and has the face of a catcher’s mitt to boot.  Mulkey is typically intense and while his character is excruciatingly abrasive, he nevertheless gives the best performance of the film.  He also gets the best line of the movie when he tells Ginger, “You are seriously fucking with my mental health!”