Evil Lusts, Stimulates, and Impregnates! “The Black Room” review!


Paul and Jennifer Hemdale snag a great deal on their dream home withstanding an ugly past considering the previous homeowner who disappeared without a trace and a woman ending up badly burned. Despite the stigma surrounding the house, the Hemdales vow to turn their first home into a marital love nest, but every instance in which one of them is ready to break in the new home underneath the sheets, the other falls flaccid, as if something is keeping them from making love. Beneath the first floor, in the darkest part of the basement, there lies a locked black room with ritualistic pagan writing sprawled inside every wall, floor, and ceiling surface and an demonic incubus, lying in wait for the perfect opportunity to reinstate a master plan to take over the world. When Paul becomes a host for the incubus, the body count rises when repairmen, friends, and family come calling to their home and Jennifer must discover what’s causing her husband to act like a perverted jerk before she too falls into the incubus’s malevolent grip.

“The Black Room” mixes dark demon humor with perversions in a butt-cheeky horror comedy written and directed by Rolfe Kanelsky, whose credits in “Nightmare Man” and “Emmanuelle 2000: Emmanuelle’s Intimate Encounters” have sure to have aided in the director’s seamlessness in blending an erotic tone with an aggressive horror element. Kanelsky’s cavalier approach to the 2016 film, “The Black Room,” hints at the Sam Raimi approach with the unexpected and the bizarre mischief of the demon and a violin heavy folk-artsy soundtrack style with jump scare after jump scare techniques, but without going full blown with “The Three Stooges” antics as Raimi is well-known to implement. Instead, Kanelsky’s far more subtle and isn’t afraid to be verbally pun awful, even during more positionally vulnerable scenes involving actresses. Whereas most horror films uses horror as an exploitative tool or an ultimate means to be hacked to pieces, “The Black Room” transforms nudity, and sex, into a running joke much like a Troma production would gravitate to, with “Tromeo and Juliet” being a prime example, and then punch the joke into hyper drive by either being overly gory or ridiculously impractical.

In all honesty, “The Black Room” is the second Cleopatra Entertainment title reviewed at Its Bloggin’ Evil, with the first being a clunky deal-with-the-Devil thriller entitled “Devil’s Domain” by director Jared Cohn, but Cleopatra’s latest entry into the demonic hierarchy enrolls more star power to provide legitimacy in the horror realm by casting horror hall of famed actress and “Insidious” series star Lin Shaye as the snarky previous house owner with a dwelling secret and as well as “Species” series and “Ghost of Mars” actress Natasha Henstridge as the lovely Jennifer Hemdale. Shaye’s dedication to any project, big or small, places the four-decade-careered actress as a beacon of hope for the indie project and Henstridge, still oozing that blonde bombshell of sexiness image, is the proverbial cherry on top. Shaye and Henstridge bare a heavy cast presence without having to bare much skin, but there’s a fair amount of nudity to behold from actresses Augie Duke (“The Badger Game”), Jill Evyn, Alex Rinehart, cheesy horror goddess and “Killjoy” actress Victoria De Mare, and a full frontal nude debut by Milena Gorum in her first credited film. When you’re done ogling over the female roster, a tall, baritone voiced Lukas Hassel illuminates as the sleazy parasitic host of an sex-crazed incubus, embracing every tall, dark, and handsome aficionado to dream of Paul Hemdale in a variety of gore-raunchy segments while maintaining a straight face about the filth that seeps from his character’s mouth. Rounding out this cast is a “Skarkansas Women’s Prison Massacre’s” Dominique Swain as the film’s third headliner on the Blu-ray cover and intro credits, one of my personal favorite supporting actors James Duval (“Cornered!”), Caleb Scott, Robert Donovan, and with genre favorite Tiffany Shepis.

While the story’s nuts and bolts of “The Black Room” consists of demons, possession, and world domination, lots of sex, sex talk, and sexual situations litter every scene. Yes, the demon is an incubus and by very definition of the term, a demon who makes sexual advances on women while they sleep, whole-heartedly defines the amusing premise. Maybe with Kanelsky’s background in softcore erotica, sex comes second hand and writing all the associations with the act is easier for the filmmaker who installs both main characters, Paul and Jennifer, with an insatiable sex drive from beginning to the end. Even with side characters untarnished by the incubus’s powers, such as the perverted water heater repairman, become a slave to the story’s grossly sexual tension. Now, I’m not complaining, but the continuous play on sex is odd without the slither of a moral growth. After all is said and done and the characters walk away from a deadly supernatural cluster-you-know-what, neither Paul and Jennifer progress, knowing nothing more from when they first started, and plateau to a level right from the start when first purchasing the dreadful dream home.

Cleopatra Entertainment and MVDVisual present “The Black Room” on a region free Blu-ray with 1080p on a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. Coloring is everything and the range of hues in “The Black Room” vividly crisp off the screen and the filter lighting smoothly goes unnoticed when sudden changes from natural to red flare up. For most of the 91 minute runtime, a clean image plays out a levelness throughout, but film grain presents itself in last moments of said titular room and the digital effects are gaussian soft that it’s penalizing. The English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix has a compressed audio that’s not up the spec when considering Cleopatra is a major record label. The dialogue is clean and prevalent, but sorely soft at times with ranges between ambient, soundtrack, and dialogue fluxing more on the lower volume totem poll rather than being beefy and in charge. Audio is passable, being free from damage and distortion, but a little more range would do this demon dance some justice. Bonus material includes commentary with director Rolfe Kanelsky, star Natasha Henstridge, supporting actor Augie Duke, and producer Esther Goodstein, a slew of extra and extended scenes, a severely anemic behind-the-scenes short, a brief blooper reel, slide show, storyboards, and the film’s trailer. When considering between the two demonically-charged Cleopatra Entertainment productions “Devil’s Domain” and “The Black Door,” there’s no contest as the latter is technically a much better film and a lot of fun to watch and sure to be every gore and sex-hound’s wet dream with titillating special effects, especially with an invisible entity seducing a sleeping Alex Reinhart with a major titty-twister, and a dark sense of humor of unholy pleasure.

“The Black Room” on Blu-ray!

Evil is Starving for Your Parts! “Model Hunger” review!

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Former pin-up model Virginia “Ginny” Smith lives a solitary life on the street of a quiet Buffalo, New York suburban neighborhood. Her modeling past was prosperous, posing erotically with curves similar to that of pin-up queen Bettie Page, up until a newer, thinner model named Chloe undermines Ginny’s magazine spread career. Feeling abandoned, physically tortured, and seeking revenge throughout the years, Ginny eats up the competition from thin, to the fake, and to the virginal…literally! Sal and his mentally instable wife Debbie move in next door to Ginny. Soon after, Debbie suspects that her elder neighbor might be up to no good as people go into Ginny’s house but never come out. Chalking up her suspicions to psychosis, Sal ignores Debbie’s accusations until he mysteriously perishes in a car accident. Now nothing can stop Debbie from investigating into Ginny’s cold blooded habits.
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“Model Hunger” is the long awaited directorial debut from long time scream queen and B-movie horror icon Debbie Rochon that publicly displays the dementedness clinging to the inner walls of her brain. Helming from off the screenplay penned by “Seed 2” producer James Morgart, Rochon quickly denotes the position of anti-supermodel figure, turning the thin, the snooty, and those who encourage that sort of behavior into nothing more than a gloppy stew of human chow. “Model Hunger” parodies the serious nature of young women whom go to extreme lengths of imitating the model beauties of today, but the film isn’t a clear-cut horror-comedy per say; instead, the genre of a bizarre cannibalism life style or social commentary revenge film might better suite the self-centering tone.
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The premise most definitely classifies as a film Debbie Rochon would personally headline; Rochon personalized “Model Hunger” to her taste, but this time, Rochon’s sister-in-horror, Lynn Lowry (George A. Romero’s “The Crazies”) headlines as the vengeful, cannibalistic Ginny Smith. Lowry puts the hot in psychotic with a Southern Belle twist, delivering a memorable performance as a cougar-gone-cannibal and her character scores much of the Morgart screenplay dialogue that is overwhelmingly philosophical and ranting compared to a more downplayed principal character in the film’s third horror star – the veteran Tiffany Shepis. Shepis is Debbie next door and though that sounds like a title of a boorish 70’s porn, Debbie struggles with being burned out from a psychosis state that results in plagues of nightmares and prescribed pills. Aside from maybe the pill popping, nothing about Debbie’s persona brings to mind a porn starlet.
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Contrary to a pair prominent female actresses who bring talent and experience from cult films such as “Tromeo and Juliet” and “Shivers” and a highlight of co-stars including the wonderful Michael Thurber (“The Sins of Dracula”), Brian Fortune (“Game of Thrones”), Carmine Capobianco (Psychos in Love) and “Chainsaw Sally’s” Suzi Lorraine casted ironically as a voluptuously large television host of “Suzi’s Secret,” the James Morgart script just couldn’t pull all the talent together. Points of unfocused storytelling noticeably stemmed from the first few scenes involving uncouth and dolled up cheerleaders practicing their routine, receiving their fundraiser packet, and going door-to-door soliciting. These segments run a natural course of supposedly setting up Lisa Dee (cheerleader Missy in the film) and Samantha Hoy (cheerleader Katie in the film) as the film’s leads. The squad practice could have been completely omitted and the story would have worked just the same without bamboozling the main players Lowry and Shepis. The script drags to a slow drift during the second act by not proceeding with much character progression other than Ginny slaughtering snared victim-after-victim to fill her icebox of superficial-inspired characters.
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Honestly, the expectation of graphic violence had a sky high bar set upon the shoulders of Debbie Rochon’s inaugural film, but the special effects violence was unusually tame to a point, containing nothing too new and too extreme until near the finale that involves a naked Jehovah Witness and a medical grade scalpel. Aside from the lack of gross gratuity, the effects were borderline choppy; a prime example to consider would be the obvious rubber baseball bat, wielded by Ginny, that sprung forward and backward, like something out Looney Toon’s ACME company, when striking against an object, but “Model Hunger” was riddled, subtly throughout, with equipment flaws such as equipment shadows in scenes and a continuously shaky camera.
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Wild Eye Releasing’s unrated DVD is presented in a widescreen format with a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio mix. Aside from some awkward framing and a bitrate issue that causes a bit of blotchiness, the digital camera video looks good for the most part with an audio mix from “Friday the 13th” composer Harry Manfredini that’s well balanced. The director commentary, in the bonus features, is a highlight of the extras with Debbie Rochon letting you into her creative side of her film. The commentary is accompanied with deleted scenes, music video, an interview with Aurelio Voltaire, a Babette Bombshell short, trailers, and an Easter Egg! Overall, the underlining point is clear of reverse body-shaming in a very Hatfield versus McCoy scenario and Debbie Rochon, for her cherry-popping film, creates a solid horror entry that displays it’s quality scars and hiccups which the film, nor Rochon, apologizes for and that’s a filmmaker, and actress, I can get behind.

Buy Debbie Rochon’s first film “Model Hunger” at Amazon.com!