Shock-O-Rama (2005)

This one is generally considered to be B-Maestro Brett Piper‘s best film.  Certainly it is a lot of fun, even if somewhat weighted down by Shock-O-Rama (the film distributor)’s insistence on having lots of naked girls in their films.  But he gets enough of a budget on this one that his signature stop motion effects have a chance to shine in the second of the three stories.

This one is a classic anthology film, which begins with a wraparound sequence featuring Scream Queen “Misty Mundae” (Erin Brown).  In it she plays a Scream Queen with a name created by the studio, who gets fed up when, in their latest “epic”, the mad killer tries to murder her with…a weedwhacker.  She quits and goes off to spend some quiet time in the country.

Unaware, of course that there is a zombie lurking about the place.

The other two segments, however, are science-fictional rather than supernatural:  supposedly, they are two films that the studio head and his lackey watch while trying to find a replacement “Rebecca Raven”.

The first features Piper regular Rob Monkiewicz (I love that name.  It has to be real) as a deadbeat Junkyard owner who ends up in a fight to the finish with the aliens who’ve crashlanded their ship in his yard.  This is the movie that Alien Opponent should have been, a wild and funny little short with enough creativity for an entire film.  The “Mecharachnia” at the end – an absurd junkyard tripod death machine – is lovingly silly, and the opening sequence in space is beautifully done – even if he chose a deliberately unrealistic bright-colored outer space.  After all, it’s supposed to be a campy Sci Fi film.  No need to look realistic, right?

The third story, about a mysterious entity killing off a group of young women involved in a scientific dream study, is often criticized for being there mostly there to show off enough naked female flesh to make up for it being mostly absent in the first segments (except for a totally unnecessary bath Misty takes in the first story).  But it is also a chance for Brett to shine with a number of interesting and surreal worlds, some of which are wonderfully bizarre and unexpected (the best perhaps the suburban wife dream).  The final surprise revelation isn’t that much of a surprise, but Brett does make the central control room and its computers disgustingly organic and deliberately out of proportion, as if Dr. Seuss’ Doctor T teamed up with the Doctor Who‘s Zygons on a construction bid.

This is a film which makes no bones about what it is:  an hour and a half of concentrated fun, where it doesn’t have to be perfect, or as deep as an Ibsen play.  It just has to keep the audience happy enough to buy out all the popcorn left in the concession stand and watch it again.

It’s one of those things Brett mastered a long time ago, and which he certainly excels at here.

Heck, Erin’s “poor, innocent victim, not too different from the rest of us” speech alone is worth the price of admission.

So stock up the popcorn, fire up the chainsaw and watch this sucker!

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