EVIL is Always the Quiet Ones. “Forced Entry” reviewed! (Dark Force Entertainment / Blu-ray)

“Forced Entry” on Blu-ray Available from Amazon.com and MVDShop.com

On the outside, Carl is a mild-mannered and a bit of a simpleton who works as a mechanic at the corner gas station.  On the inside, Carl’s an unstable, sociopathic rapist and murderer with chauvinistic patriarchal tendencies.  His grisly exploits rock the small New Jersey town but as life continues on so does Carl’s misguided perception that the women who cross his path want him.  As a mechanic and a rapist, Carl continues in getting his hands dirty even when the exceptionally beautiful housewife, Nancy Ulman, drops off her husband’s car for repairs.  With Nancy’s husband out of town, Carl creates an unfounded fantasy of being the one and only that can please her right.  As his obsession swells, Carl’s pushed over the edge into a no-turning back captive scenario by holding Nancy bound and hostage in her own home as he attempts irrationally and violently his case for bestowing his flawless companionship to her. 

Throughout nearly the entire history of cinema, the adult industry has remade blockbuster film titles into triple X spoofs.  “Beverly Hills Cox,” “The Penetrator,” “Clockwork Orgy,” and “Forrest Hump” are a few titles that come to mind.  But have you ever heard of a porn remade into an actual movie?  Of course, there’ve been a few biopics surrounding controversial cog players of the adult industry machine, such as with mainstream biopics that expose the lives of starlet Linda Lovelace of “Deep Throat” with Amanda Seyfried as the titular character and the notoriety of porn filmmakers Artie and Jim Mitchell in Showtime’s “Rated-X,” starring real life brothers Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez.  Never in my existence on this tectonic plate shifting Earth have I’ve ever bear witness to a porn being remade into a film marketed on retail shelves to the general public.  That’s the backstory behind Jim Sotos’s 1976 debut feature “Forced Entry” based off Shaun Costello’s 1973 stag film of the same name and starred that “Deep Throat” connection with Harry Reems as well as Reems costars Jutta David (“Sensuous Vixens”), Nina Fawcett, and Laura Cannon (“The Altar of Lust”).  Also known more uncommonly as “Mr. Death” and “Rape in the Suburbs to more commonly as“The Last Victim,” Henry Scarpelli adapted the script out of the X-rated context but kept much of the aggressive themes, changing the gas station attendant from a Vietnam shell-shocked maniac to delusional maniac stemmed from abusive mother issues.  Sotos and Scarpelli also serve as producers under the Kodiak Film production company. 

“Forced Entry” stars a then fresh faced Tanya Roberts.  The late “A View to a Kill” Bond girl and “The Beastmaster” actress received her start as the slightly frustrated, but overall pleasant, housewife Nancy Ulman who must fight for her life when Carl, under the wonderfully wild and violent guise of “Heated Vengeance’s” Ron Max, breaks into her home to fulfill his ferocious fictious fantasy.  The contrast Nancy and Carl is extremely key to “Forced Entry’s” modest success as the story plays out in both perspectives with more lean on Carl with a far more interesting mindset, internalizing monologues of desires and anger.  While Tanya Roberts is hardly stimulating on screen as routine wife and mother, concerned a little on her husband’s sudden indifferent behavior, she exhibits a stark normalcy that makes Carl’s actions flagrantly deviant with the anticipation that Nancy will be too submissive or afraid to fight back.  Ron Max is no David Hess but instills a disturbing, looney bin creeper who, most frighteningly of all, could be your neighborhood grease monkey mechanic.  Like Roberts, another yet-to-be-famous actress has her brief moments of screen time as Carl’s hitchhiker victim.  “Robocop” films’ Nancy Allen finds herself riding shotgun with a serial murder-rapist even before going face-to-face with the telekinetic prom queen, “Carrie,” in a blink and you’ll miss her thumb lifting and chitchat-disparaging segment to give Carl more depraved depth.  Billy Longo (“Bloodrage”), Michael Tucci (“Blow”), Vasco Valladeres (“Bad”), Robin Leslie, Frank Verroca, Brian Freilino and Michele Miles.

Color me easily impressed by the novelty of the basis of a porn plot being transposed into a more accessible outlet for audiences.  Pushing that novelty aside, “Forced Entry’s” plot is simply stitched together to make Carl this really bad guy by fashioning situations that indulge his impulses – a stranded woman motorist out in the middle of nowhere, a female hitchhiker talking back to him in his own car, a girl with high cut shorts pumping gas station air into her bike.  Though often disjointed in the story’s framework and for some reason, Carl’s face is initially pointlessly concealed for the broken down motorist attack, helpless moments like these, plus the crazed internal monologuing rationalizing his actions, pushes Carl’s chances of being stopped next to nil with audiences.  How will a happy homemaker, trapped in her own home, be able to survive crazy Carl?  That’s where the story really begins with the first moment he laid eyes on Nancy and as he rolls out the imaginary carpet of playing house with her, we begin to see how attached he becomes to the idea as he strays away form his normal off-the-cuff methods that has served him well until this point.  Much of the shock value comes from the climatic finale that determines Carl and Nancy’s fate with a slow-motion shot full of cacophonous screaming to bring a definitive effect to an unexpected turn of events.  “Forced Entry” is more Spinell “Maniac” than it is Hess “Last House on the Left” but not as well-known and has unformulaic structure that strolls too comfortably between the lines of shocking consternation.

Dark Force Entertainment and MVD Visual distributes this notable unconventional remake onto another Blu-ray home video, but this new and improved version of the film that includes nearly additional ten minutes of footage into the original 73-minute director cuts of the previous 2019 Dark Force Entertainment prints under the Code Red label. This longer version adds back in more of the sexually graphic material and is 1.85:1, anamorphic widescreen, presented in a 2K scanned transfer with a 1080p output from the original 35mm negative material of the US theatrical release. Granted, some of that footage, such as the snatching of the bike girl, is nearly impossible to discern much beyond an unrefined image. The coloring throughout is inconsistent and unstable with clear fluctuations in hue flickers and a few scenes early in the film suffer from conspicuous wear damage. However, I suspect this transfer to be the best of the best to date and is not all a waste of viewing space with much of the image holding up strong. The single audio option is an English LCPM 2.0 mono is not the cleanest with clearly noticeable crackle and static throughout and overtop a muted dialogue track. Tommy Vig’s (“Terror Circus”) score nabs more support than the others in the audio output. Special features include the full-length 88-minute VHS minute version from standard definition video so don’t expect the highest resolution if you’re looking for more sordid footage in an essentially quantity over quality version. The blue snapper case does have a limited edition stark black and yellow/orange cardboard slipcover. The new scan runs at 83 minutes in length in the region free and rated R Blu-ray (updated from the original PG rating when reexamined by the ratings board…go figure). Not just another rape-revenge notched into the controversial subgenre’s hole riddled belt, “Forced Entry” agitates suspicion in the most harmless of unsuspecting, quiet-natured nobodies as it only takes one to be the filthiest troublemaker hidden right under our trusting, naïve noses.

“Forced Entry” on Blu-ray Available from Amazon.com and MVDShop.com

Earn Your Evil Badge at Fat Camp! “Camp Massacre” review!

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Ten overly obese contestants compete on a boot camp type reality show to lose the extra pounds and have a chance at winning one million dollars in prize money. With intense health-crazed coaches, a strict unconventional exercise regiment, and a low-carb diet on the menu, things couldn’t be worse for the over weight competitors until people started to disappear and end up being murdered. Shedding the weight was literately the case as one-by-one a contestant’s eviscerated remains were discovered. Now the competition’s stakes have intensified and death is lurking around every corner. And we all thought fat shaming was worst that could happen to the weight challenged…
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“Camp Massacre,” “Massacre Camp,” “Summer Camp Massacre,” Klown Kamp Massacre.” No matter how you jumble up these specific words, a generic title is still a generic title and the title “Camp Massacre” puts a pre-viewing damper on a long night of film watching along with a cover splayed with a former porn starlet and Charlie Sheen ex-“goddess” Bree Olson, semi-retired wrestler Al Snow, and, well, some unknown hot brunette chick with a bloodied chainsaw who doesn’t appear to be a part of the cast. Going into “Camp Massacre” knowing that this title considers itself a horror-comedy had helped push myself into popping in the disc and pressing the play button or else this title might still be collecting cobwebs on the nightstand.
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The opening scene introduces the viewers to two young and attractive women and one large, unattractive woman in a hotel room discussing plans on what they’ll do tonight on a foreign island land which is undisclosed to us – looked like Key West, honestly. One of the women pondering going out on a night on the town is Bree Olson and before you know, Olson is fully and gratuitously nude in a sensual, extended shower scene and you all know what happens if you show your skin too soon in a horror movie! This ambiguously set and gratuitously shot segment proceeds into the main title and credits that slide right into the meat of the film that seemingly almost has nothing to do with the opener. The introductory scene barely hangs on even with the finale connection, but this thin connection creates an out of place awkward sequence that stands out like a sore thumb.
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Connectivity and longevity of story remembrance sums up co-directors Daniel Emery Taylor and Jim O’Rear’s experience in filmmaking. The two filmmakers also produce and star in this collaborated effort to bring comedy and horror to a Biggest Loser reality show parody and to homage their love for certain horror icons. The hot topic of obesity is currently in a state of widespread prevalence making “Camp Massacre” relevant to the world’s personal and social problems that the media hops on, but the real question is did directors Taylor and O’Rear succeed in making a good comedic and horrifying quasi-film out of movie about obesity? That conclusion is all in the eye of the beholder and all in the interpretation of the viewer.
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Is “Camp Massacre” a horror film? Yes. Is “Camp Massacre” a comedy movie? Yes. Is “Camp Massacre” a good horror-comedy? On a scale from one to ten, with ten being the highest – a three. Let me explain; the killer is written as a chubby villain with a “Six Pack, Abs” red apron and a Kentucky Fried Chicken family bucket on his head for a mask. If the killer’s looks intended to be a hoot, then there was a monumental failure. The killer’s arsenal is a collection of obviously off-colored prop knives and machetes that could be considered costume jewelry or packaged costume outfit accessories for party goers. The death effects are a bag of cheap tricks which are not sold convincingly and don’t bring the blood in which “Massacre” implies. The one single element going for “Camp Massacre” being a horror film – or even within the standards of a comedy – is the amount of nudity. Bree Olson, Megan Hunt, Amy Boyatt, and even Taylor’s wife, Ami Taylor, succumb to the conventions of a campy horror film and reveal the goods for the world to bear-witness. My only question is, where was Ava Cronin’s nude scene?
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As far as the comedy side of this horror-comedy, “Camp Massacre” delivers on some levels mostly hanging around on a slapstick and immaturity elements. Daniel Emery Taylor’s character Greg paired with T.J. Moreschi’s Andy couldn’t ask for a better coupling as a budding duo who compliment each other’s wits with different character personalities. Add in a self absorbed narcissist body guard (who on the DVD cover looks like a coach with a whistle and clipboard) character named Ritz played by the bulky wrestler Al Snow and you’ll get a chuckle or two out of this feature. Ritz delivers quirky quips like “everything is good on top of a Ritz” during the scenes right moment. However, much of the comedy misses the mark and also just comes off as saying a lot of “fucks” in the dialogue which becomes stale after a first twenty. Simply put, the comedy is overly clichéd, but can still give you a half-assed tickling.
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I’m not overtly excited about “Camp Massacre’s” characters either. Greg, Andy, and Ritz are fine and I’m found the homosexual Jarrod and the hispanic Josue to be entertaining. The rest of the cast seemed a bit tired. Actor William S. Tolliver was either sitting or laying flat the whole movie which was probably due to his weight, but the character became old as Tolliver didn’t express much versatility for an immobile character. Darc Ness, played by Ernest Douglas Nichols, didn’t bring the Goth attitude I had hoped. The character mixed Goth and serenity blending the persona into a off-key concoction. Most of the cast have worked with Taylor and O’Rear and have become their own heavy set version of entourage. What the film needed was more Michael Myers portrayer Dick Warlock, but that’s neither here nor there.
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The MVDVisual DVD dons a 1.78:1 widescreen transfer that looks decent except for a bit of posterizing after the opening credits in the darker scenes. The Dolby Digital 2.0 mix does well channeling and prioritizing the dialogue, but some production issues weigh heavy on an uneven mic placements causing slight interference from scene to scene. For disc extras, there is solely the movie’s trailer. Overall, “Camp Massacre” doesn’t deserve to be completely passed over, but I wouldn’t expect instantaneous cult status or life changing acting nor an outer-body experience in filmmaking. Instead, take “Camp Massacre” for what it’s worth; a bunch of fat guys at boot camp being stalked by a bucket head killer with Al Snow and lots of nudity. Where can you go wrong with all that?

Sofia Vergara’s Big Evil Guns! Machete Kills poster!

To be honest with you, I was not a very big fan of Machete. Robert Rodriguez’s concept of a vengeful former Mexican Federale out for blood came off as a neat idea when previewed as a spoof trailer from Grindhouse. And having the hard-ridden look of Danny Trejo portray the character is a match made in hell! What was not to love when the news broke that Rodriquez would actually be writing and directing a feature film a few years later. Yet, I was let down and the sort of slap-stick, roughly edited film just didn’t hold the same thrill as the trailer had spun into me.

Machete must have done well enough to warrant a sequel that I will surely grant audience, but the new poster feature Sofia Vergara and her machine gun tits just screams bland, same old exploitation by Robert Rodriequez, feeling the same similarity with From Dusk till Dawn and the crotch gun worn by Tom Savini. Does Robert Rodriguez feel that privates are ultimately dangerous and should be considered hands off in the eyes of a good Catholic? See the poster below.

Sofia Vergara and her heavy artillery.

Sofia Vergara and her heavy artillery.

Machete Kills does sport a motley crew of a cast that includes fallen angels as Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson. Also appearing would be William Sadler, Cuba Gooding Jr, Amber Heard and Lady Gaga. But of course this would not be a Robert Rodriguez film without his usual cast of actors such as Michelle Rodriguez, Jessica Alba, Tom Savini, Antonio Banderas, and Electra and Elise Avellan. Machete Kills is slated for a September 13, 2013 release.