EVIL’s Madcap and Meshuga Rabbit Hole! “Frankie in Blunderland” reviewed! (Wild Eye Releasing / DVD)


Frankie is the epitome of underachiever living in small, scummy, suburban house with an antagonistic and obtruding houseguest, Tommy Spioch, indisposed to ever new living accommodations and a brash Katie, Frankie’s wife, who loathes every fiber in his body, but reaps the benefits of his income. Fed up with how the way things are, Frankie impulsively decides to do something about by trying to kill Spioch, but when Spioch kidnaps Katie, Frankie wusses out on his freedom from their oppressors and pines to find Katie by hitting the streets. Frankie encounters the strange and unusual as well as the macho confrontational characters along the way, involving a spider with human face, a homeless man with paradoxical wisdom, naked fairies, Mormon aliens, and a hideous marionette-like boy.

In the midst of writing this review, Lewis Carroll is probably rolling over six feet underneath his English gravestone with the bastardized fantasy-comedy variation of his classic literary tale of “Alice in Wonderland with the 2011 released film, “Frankie in Blunderland,” from director Caleb Emerson (“Die You Zombie Bastards!”). Emerson, who is also a frequent editor for “Tosh.0,” helms the pretzeled script written by the late Marta Estirado, who passed away before the official release of the film, but “Frankie in Blunderland” is the Spanish-born writer’s debut screenplay twisted with browbeating cinema anarchism while juxtaposing circumstantial life defeat with an adventitious urge to be better despite the odds. Shot mainly in the greater Los Angeles area of Echo Park and Eagle Rock, “Frankie in Blunderland” is an Emerson funded, low-budget project that courses the weird and unnatural, a pair of descriptors that aren’t so abnormal on and off the streets of Los Angeles.

After assisting his editor skills with “The Gruesome Death of Tommy Pistol,” which was starred, produced, written, and directed by Tommy Pistol himself, Emerson locked down Pistol, whose credited under his real name of Aramis Sartorio, to be the titular character, Frank Bellini. If you’ve been audience to any of Tommy Pistol’s *cough cough* porn, you’re well aware of the male performer’s more-than-professional uninhibited nature to do anything on screen. The same uninhibited nature transcends out of adult industry and into the off-Hollywood narrative as Satorio unloads a wide array of unbridled range that allows Satorio to not only be a despondently enfeebled and sheepish Frankie, but also extend to his self-assured Tommy Pistol persona on the latter half of the character arc. Thea Martin and Brett Hundley (“The Trek”) play Katie and Tommy Spioch respectively as the adverse versions of Frankie’s wife and best friend. Katie and Tommy sincerely embark on the utmost effort in making Frankie feel like a worthless wanker by belittling him continuously on every whim he allows Katie and Tommy to get away with while they also stir the lobotomizing love triangle with their own sidebar skirmishes and much like the Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland,” every character that shows up in “Frankie in Blunderland” is antagonistic to one and another in a bizarre battle royale of an irritational reality. The colorful characters continue with performances by David Reynolds (“House of 1000 Corpses”), John Karyus (“Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead”), Caleb Emerson, Gio Paloma (“Dawn of the Head”), John Christopher Morton (“Girls Against Boys”), Vincent Cusimano (“Blade the Iron Cross”), John Brookbank, Bryan Planer, Sadie Blades, and special appearances by “Slime City Massacre’s” Debbie Rochon as a human-spider and Evan Stone as a well-endowed fairy.

Like a full-feature skit from Eric Wareheim and Tim Heidecker, “Frankie in Blunderland” will activate your receptive inertia dampeners, slowing your comprehension down to the point of a snail’s speed on what exactly is going on with Frankie and his misadventures through an alternate reality of the real world all the while encountering the obscure and abnormal characters along the way, rekindling that trippy, if not hallucinogenic, sensation one gets when watching any other bizarre renditions more faithful to the Lewis Carroll’s classic but with more dry wit and blood. While I feign to know all the answers about the meaning behind Estirado’s outlandish script, I’m truly at a loss for words at understanding it, a feel much of the cast has also stated, and to interpret “Frankie in Blunderland” is to be a perceptive cinematic aficionado disconnected for reality, but from what themes I think I do perceive, Frankie reverses course on moral obligations for self-importance to become a quasi-anti-hero in bizarro world. For much of the film, Frankie is tormented, internally and externally, as he subsequently beats himself up over the abuse he meekly swallows from wife Katie and no-so-best friend Spioch and as act one continues to punish the mildly manner Frankie, there comes a point where Frankie is a glutton to own his maltreatment, learns to evolve from it, and becomes one with the disparaging masses in order to be part of the salt-in-the-wound collective that attempt to beat into submission or just downright destroy those unlike them, seen with characters like the loafer Mike West, the unsightly disjointed puppet boy, and a doughy-soft security guard named Peanutch, whereas a fem-bot, Maggie Robot, whose secretly a robot posing as a woman, can simulate into the natural order of the Blunderland society. When Frankie begins to thrash against and degrade these said characters is when he ascends beyond his suicidal thoughts and shoving aside his timid nice guy persona for more turbulent attitude toward life. If this speculation is anywhere near being accurate, then “Frankie in Blunderland” is a revolutionary view of unorthodox measures to rise up above despair in a day of stupidity enveloped by a ludicrous satire.

Perhaps not very extreme, but certainly raw, “Frankie in Blunderland” lands onto DVD under the Wild Eye Releasing sublabel, Raw and Extreme, and distributed by MVDVisual. The re-released Wild Eye Reelasing DVD is presented in a widescreen, 16:9 aspect ratio, housed with a new illustrated artwork liner that’s akin to the Ghana hand-drawn posters and, more than like, keeps with the first pressing’s lossy compressed image and spastic image jittering shifting between different levels of picture and detail degradation. The vapid coloring devours any story-telling vibrancy, leaving the scenes seemingly lifeless and aesthetically devoid, especially when Frankie has his loopy, unconscious discharge of repeated scenes and avant garde imagery after passing out thinking he killed Tommy Spioch. The visual effects are almost cut and paste crude, but add to the chaotic charm of Frankie’s living nightmare. The stereo dual channel audio mix is equally as lossy noticeably muffled by the compression, leaving also a faint and lingering hum through the 82 minute duration. The position of the dialogue remains even, if not behind, the ambient and soundtrack audiophiles and without any depth and range to compensate the lack of gusto, dialogue is lost in a lackluster limbo of lame and loitering linguistics. On a microbudget of this level, don’t expect in depth special features, but considering the content, I’m happily surprised of what’s available which includes a Caleb Emerson director’s commentary, cast and crew interviews with Aramis Sartorio, a peculiar interview with Thea Martin, and director Caleb Emerson, along with six teaserettes which are short clips from the film, and rounding out with Wild Eye Releasing trailers. “Frankie In Blunderland” is a labor of love for Marta Estirado and a sure fire way to kill a couple of brain cells in this degradingly funny demoralizing epic.

Purchase “Frankie in Blunderland” on DVD from Amazon!

Evil Revolts! “The Last House” review!

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Erotic escort Love falls for on the side boyfriend Ned, a regular client with who she’s madly in love and with who she doesn’t charge a dime for her services. When Love wants out of the escort business, her controlling pimp Sunny says otherwise by sending her and two other girls on Love’s final trick, an all night mansion party. When the girls arrive at the gated mansion, they’re greeted by three strange hosts: Cleb, Selma, and Hate. Each of the three girls partner up with each of the hosts and move forward to their separate rooms where the escorts fall victim to sadistic tendencies, but Hate has more in store for Love. Ned, concerned when Love didn’t call once all night, sets out on a rescue mission to track down Sunny and gain information in means necessary on the whereabouts of the girl who love struck him.
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“The Last House” is a 2011 mixed subgenre film directed by b-horror director Sean Cain that was originally released under the title “Breath of Hate” and was penned by first time writer Wes Laurie. The ambitious story plays out cordially with a talented cast of actors behind the camera, but the story, though larger than life for a b-horror flick, follows a non-linear path that builds and builds for a grand finale and while that sort of tension usually creates a good setup, the ending nearly fizzles, not generating enough pizzaz and spark worthy the wait of the last five minutes of the total 91 minute runtime. However, the Laurie script fascinates and entertains throughout because of character structure through the aforementioned non-linear layout and because of the physical and emotional outpouring portrayed by the actors such as Lauren Walsch, Timothy Muskatell, Jason Mewes, and, especially, Ezra Buzzington.
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“The Hills Have Eyes” remake actor Ezra Buzzington steals the entire movie as Hate, leader of the three sadistic maniacs, and Hate, in himself, is an interesting character who seeks to start revolutions against humanity through brains and brutality and maybe even something more. Buzzington embodies a “Die Hard with a Vengeance” Jeremy Iron’s type personality with a calm demeanor on one face and a ruthless side on the other, but he single handedly separates the character from the likes of any other and creates Hate, with the help of a Laurie twist ending, to be potentially a long time running franchise character. There is a fierce downside alongside Hate where his lackeys were served a overshadowed injustice. Monique Parent plays another sadist, Selma, and her time on screen didn’t add to the girth and felt unnecessary. The then 46-year-old actress, with more than 100 film credits to her name, looked absolutely stunning, sizzling with lust for her cougar age. That should be no surprise to fans of Parent who are mostly familiar with her previous work in a number of softcore porn films. Sadly, Parent has no nude scenes though the part strongly suggests it; “Evil Head’s” Joanna Angel and “Amateur Porn Star Killer 3’s” Regan Reece take the burden of skin diligently – thank you Joanna and Regan. The third sadist, Cleb, is portrayed by Jamaican native Ricardo Gray. Gray’s take made Cleb, frankly, my least favorite sadist as Gray went overboard with a character that could been a menacing psycho-sexual deviant to a half-witted, Jurassic role-playing pervert. If there was perhaps more of Cleb’s backstory, a better picture of this sadist’s mindset might have reversed the first unfavorable impression.
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Jason Mewes has always played the part of the funny guy character. The same stereotype description can be laid upon other actors of similar character such as Hollywood studs Jim Carrey, the late Robin Williams, or the cult favorite Bill Murray. Mewes, a strong supporter of independent work, has most famously, for most of his career, teamed up with writer-director-actor Kevin Smith and produced some of the most notably comedic material to ever be released for about around a decade starting near the mid-1990’s. Not many audiences, aside from fanatical Mewes fans, are aware that the same Jay, of “Jay and Silent Bob” films, has had quite a few horror credits. From John Gulager’s “Feast,” to David Arquette’s “The Tripper,” Jason Mewes doesn’t just do comedy, but what makes “The Last House” unique from the other independent horror films is that Mewes is cast in a serious horror film whereas “Feast” and “The Tripper” are horror-comedies that still tap into Mewes endless vein of laughs. Instead, “Dead Girl” actor Timothy Muskatell takes the reigns on the comedy as a pot smokey, womanizing lackey and Muskatell is born for that type of part. Porn star Timmy Pistol also delivers some goofy laughs in a brief cameo with Jason Mewes and also, fun fact, Tommy Pistol and Joanna Angel were both in “Evil Head!”
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Mewes, Buzzington, and even Parent are major, recognizable names in the movie industry, big enough that even audiences so attached to Hollywood stardom would still be familiar with them. Two of the names mentioned headlining “The Last House” are accompanied by one more name that isn’t familiar to mainstream audiences, but any knowledgeable horror enthusiast would surely recognize. “Sleepaway Camp” actress Felissa Rose is that third headlining name and, unfortunately, shouldn’t have been exploited. Rose’s on screen appearance runs a total of around two minutes as the mansion realtor, but her presence falls from the face of “The Last House’s” universe after her single scene. Her iconic name alone will draw in the horror masses, but when she filmed the minor role, Rose was near popping at 9-months pregnant and she didn’t have one single story merit line or action.
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Distributed by Wild Eye Releasing, “The Last House” picture quality looks amazing presented in a detailed widescreen format. The audio quality comes and goes; at some points during outside scenes the ambience or the soundtrack plays at a whisper. When in more confined scenes, the tracks blare with some crackle. However, none of these will impact watchability nor take away from the film itself. “The Last House” aka “Breath of Hate” will make a deep gash into the independent horror scene and Wild Eye Releasing will help deliver Hate into your home entertainment on November 24th.