This is a double feature that contains two films from low budget director Richard Griffin. Many fans of independent film may recognize some of his other efforts like Necroville (he co-directed) and Nun Of That. He has created a little buzz in the horror scene for awhile now and has received his fair share of praise and hate. Unlike many other independent filmmakers Griffin doesn't get lazy with the camera and actually makes some pretty ambitious films.
Beyond the Dunwich Horror
"IT HURTS LESS IN THE DARK"
The first film in this double feature is Beyond the Dunwich Horror. This is based off an HP Lovecraft tale and the film attempts to tell the story in a modern setting. Surely some people facepalm at the thought of a low budget HP Lovecraft retelling but Griffin actually has a surprisingly good film on his hands here. It's also very cool to see a few nods to the great Italian filmmakers and just Italian horror in general (all the way down to the soundtrack actually).
The film takes place on the island of Dunwich where Kenny is in pursuit to get his brother Andrew out of a psych ward. Upon arriving to the island Kenny is hit on by a woman who soon reveals herself as Marsha, a local reporter. It turns out picking up women isn't so easy and she is just after Kenny to help her get to the bottom of things in Dunwich (in other words, get her story). She targets Kenny because there has been a recent spike in murders in the area and there is a possibility that his brother might be put away for them.
There are many good things going on in this film. The main thing that sucked me into the story was the scene were Andrew is asleep and gets seduced by Nikki. This scene kind of works as a change of pace for the movie and really kicks things into gear in terms of getting the story across. Luckily the humor never leaves and there isn't a moment were the film takes itself too seriously. That being said some of the attempts at humor fall flat but for the most part they work, and on a sidenote, if there really is a band called Suicide Pudding I might just die of laughter.
The gore in this film is good when it comes into play and there is plenty of eye violence to go around, but for the most part the film builds off of humor and suspense. Though one of the scenes does get pretty nasty, I won't go into a large amount of detail but it starts with a man about to get it on with a woman, and another man is in the room, and it ends with one of the men very upset in the shower bleeding (real headscratcher, huh?).
Overall Beyond the Dunwich Horror is an excellent flick even with the flaws. If there is one thing that can be said about Griffin's films it would be that they all flow without flaw. He keeps you entertained from beginning to end and there is always plenty of positive things going on to outweigh the negative.
Pretty Dead Things
Who knew toothpicks could be so dangerous!!!
Pretty Dead Things was made a few years before Beyond the Dunwich Horror but in all honesty it is executed just as well, if not better. Don't get me wrong, both films have their pros and cons but this one definitely stuck with me a tad more. The film has a fairly simple plot that fuses two things together, vampires and porn. When thinking about it a solid portion of the vampire genre is driven by sex. The idea of vampires getting in the porno industry isn't too farfetched and it would most likely make getting blood a hell of alot easier.
The one thing that makes this film work so well is the humor. For the most part the funny moments here are more effective than the ones in Beyond the Dunwich Horror. Many of the gags here are reminiscent of something Troma would put out (speaking of Troma a familiar face from Poultrygeist is in this). For a low budget flick the acting is very good. Throughout the film you will see some familiar faces from the other film in the set and it is clear that Griffin knows who he likes to work with.
Overall Pretty Dead Things is one of the best vampire films I've seen in a long time. Not once during viewing this did I find myself saying "Damn this is low budget!". The minimal budget never shows and it is clear that plenty of hard work was put into the making of this. Both the films in this set put Griffin's talent on display and they are some of his best films to date. It will be interesting to see what he puts out in the future and as long as the quality is up to par with these two flicks I'll be riding along for the long haul.
Both of the movies have a commentary track.