Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Slashers (2001)

Maurice Devereaux directed one of my favorite horror movies during the last years, End of the Line, the brilliant and violent movie set in a subway during the end of days. What I didn't know then was that I owned one of his first movies, the crazy one-shot movie Slashers! Yes, the amazing idea here was to create a splatter-movie, a full feature, with the illusion that it was one single take. Like Hitchcock's Rope, but with gore and set during a Japanese TV-show.

Slashers, the biggest TV-show in Japan, has an international special. Six participants from the US are welcome to be able to win 18 million dollars. The only thing they have to do is to stay alive being chased by three typical slasher-killers: Preacherman, Chainsaw Charlie and Doctor Ripper! They are in a big indoor arena, with several floors, basements, different environments and of course places to hide, have sex or just to attack the killers themselves. 

At first the six participants keep together, but soon the start to fight inside the group, and greed shows it's ugly, ugly face...

The big thing with this movie is the one-take-concept. When the participants first runs into the arena until the last one comes out at the end, the camera never stops. A Japanese cameraman is running together with the team, trying to film the gory murders and intrigues. Like Rope this is made with hidden cuts, for example when the camera pans fast or the camera man runs into someone by mistake. Because it's gonna resemble a horror movie the light is flickering all the time, and this is also a way to hide cuts. It works quite well, but of course some cuts are very visible. But I can understand that. The first version of the movie was two hours long, and I guess they wanted to cut it down - and it's hard to cut something that's gonna be one single take. It works fine though.

Acting? Yes. A lot. And over the top. Some people chews the scenery like madmen, and some just overacts a little bit. So overall I can't say that the acting impressed, and some of the dialogue where also very clumsy and should have worked better with a lot of editing before they started to shoot the movie. The slashers is the best actors, but the point with them is also to be very extreme and with forced oneliners to throw around in every scene.

What make Slashers so fantastic is the splatter. Everything is in one single take, and the effects are spectacular. You see people get cut in half, chop their own head of, get killed by chainsaw, getting sticks into their eyes and ears and a lot more. Everything with practical and VERY gory effects. The effects team must have worked very fast sometime, because when the camera turns away for a few seconds to film reation shots the (invisible) team switch bodyparts, people to lifesize dummies, insert hoses with blood and a lot more. Even if you don't like the acting, you will love the splatter.

Slashers is a big gimmick-movie. But it's very ambitious, has great effects and even if the budget was low there's some fun sets, a cool Japanese TV-studio with a full audience (even if some of them of course look like Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese and so on - I guess the amount of japanese extras isn't that big in Canada?) and it's never boring. With a camera on the move all the time, it's easy to forget bad dialogue and some even worser acting - because you know that someone will get killed in the most spectacular way the minute after.

It feels like a modern Grand Guignol, which could have been the title of this movie to. The Fangoria DVD is the only good DVD to get. It's out of print, but it's unrated and completely uncut, has tons of extras and is in the correct ratio. I hope someone else will release it again so you also can have some fun.

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