Directors: David R. Williams
& Mike Bohatch

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Turd Alert

FrightworldBefore the opening credits begin, Frightworld (2006) provides a long sequence that strives to be torture-porn but is just laughably bad. Apart from a few unusual editing tricks it shows no imagination for horror-storytelling of any kind.

The FX department must've been 100% divorced from any other component of the crew, as their talent rubs off on no one else, & their design efforts are undermined by everything else the film has got going against it.

Those few & unusual images have an "experimental cinema" feel, like maybe the grossest thing ever concocted by Ken Anger decades ago, but bloodier.

Some of the more stunning images were selected out for a "coming soon" advanced poster series, which implied a high-end film for horror design, but in the main there's more to be seen in the posters than in the flashes of imagery in the film. I've reproduced several of those posters with this article, as they're ever so much more thrilling than the film they advertise.

FrightworldIf you trimmed off nearly the entire film, taking out everything with cast members in it, & put the remnant "experimental" stuff together on a six- or eight-minute reel, you'd have a mesmerizing short film. But the so-called story & the non-acting & the lousy dialogue, & just everything else about Frightworld, ruins it.

The guy playing psychopath Verden Fell (Gary Marzolf) mostly looks like he's about to bust out laughing & delivers his overwritten lines like a ditzy drunkard who never saw the script before.

A babe (Kamillia Kataxenna Kova) is strung up to torture but at that very minute, a group of guys who look vaguely like a SWAT team are breaking into the warehouse.

As would never happen, the cops separate to run every-which-way through the building, each alone & so easy pickings for the psycho.

The last agent (Michael Ciesla) manages to blow Verden away with what seems to be a repeater shotgun, concluding with a supernatural sequence that pretty much informs us the necromatic psychopath will be back.

FrightworldFrankly the film should've ended here. The prelude's okay, & the credits that follow are very cool, but thereafter it's all just stuff & nonsense.

There will be no more of the FX department's artsy-farsty grotesques that were glimpsed during the first fifteen minutes, apart from one quick dream-sequence & the chainsaw-man costume for later scenes.

Whoever did those early surreal bits should really be hired by better filmmakers so as not to go so to waste. And too damned bad the aesthetic of surreal horror wasn't achievable for the film's greater length.

After the credits we get a lame history lesson about "Frightworld, America's Screampark," founded early in the 20th Century.

The old carnival of horror went bankrupt & had its exhibits set up in a warehouse before the owner committed suicide. All of which has blessed little to do with Verden Fell who haunts the warehouse.

FrightworldAlthough supposedly long in storage, all the exhibits, neatly arranged in the warehouse, look fresh-made by teenagers who hadn't a clue what vintage circus art might look like.

So they made it look partly like death-metal rock & roll, & mostly like a high school haunted house fundraiser at Halloween, with a few paintings of creepy clowns tacked on to tie it to the never-really-developed Carnival of Horrors idea.

A group of young people (twenty & thirty-somethings perhaps supposed to be teens) visit the warehouse for a party celebrating the purchase of the place by their friend Jack (Andrew Roth), the one forty-something teenager in the batch.

The film is padded out with porno sequences, which I suppose is the main appeal for some viewers therefore not necessarily padding, but it does seem to be used in lieu of any requirement for story or dialogue. The porn bits include a girl masturbating to fantasies of psycho clowns who look a lot like store-bought masks of the Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988).

FrightworldMore padding consists of couples' long walks through the dark warehouse with nothing happening, filmed too dark to see; or sitting around in displays for the Carnival of Horror having boring discussions.

The dialogue is so bad that it sometimes seems like a blessing some of it is too badly recorded to quite understand what they're blithering on about.

The timing is just dreadful & none of the characters are even marginally interesting, though one of them, Kat, was the final victim of the serial killer, saved from bondage-torture in the opening scene.

Kat's the important character (if any of 'em are important) but you'd never guess it until the final scene, as though the writer only decided at the last minute to make her presence significant.

At long dull intervals the cast is picked off one by one. Some of the gore gags aren't completely bad, but by & large, anything that has a human character in it fails.

FrightworldA fat guy (Dan Frank) in a nicely done bizarre mask & patchwork butcher's apron has a chainsaw. A key scene with the saw is so badly filmed you can't see anything but the cherry syrup.

[SPOILERS ALERT!] The second-to-last-girl-standing kills this particular psycho. Second-to-last-girl then gets killed in a boring "twist," & we're left with Kat, who is now the traditional last-girl-standing, who encounters the demonic spirit of Verdon Fell himself.

It's their happy reunion, as Kat was the captive in the opening sequence who was saved by the SWAT team or whoever they were. Verden Fell philosophizes with Kat about death & destruction & meaning in the satanic universe, in the most inane dialogue yet.

He then tries to kill her but a psychedelic light which is the goofy-lightshow-devil burns him up & instructs last-girl-standing to become the new psycho. [END SPOILER ALERT]

Add to all this a periodically obnoxious & way too loud death-metal soundtrack & you have yourself one of the lamest film experiences of the week. Just not worth the effort.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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