2001 - 17+ for violence - 60 Mins.
|Director: Jerry O'Sullivan|
|Producer: Ron Bonk|
|Written By: Jerry O'Sullivan|
|Starring: Jeff Forsyth, Ron Bonk, Ed Mastin,
|Review by: James O'Ehley
The charmingly titled “Gut Pile” was part of a double bill I watched along with “Vampire Junction”. That “Vampire Junction” turned out to be the worst movie I have ever seen (no, really) probably made me more amenable to “Gut Pile”, which I watched afterwards.
So if I seem too positive about “Gut Pile”, then blame one Jess Franco, the director of “Vampire Junction” which, although it is reviewed elsewhere on this site, its sheer awfulness cannot be described in mere human words.
“Gut Pile” by itself is pretty bad. It is a sixty minute or so feature shot on badly mangled and grainy videotape shot by amateurs over a two-year period. Continuity errors abound, the most glaring being one major character’s beard which goes from being an obviously fake one to a mere 5 o’clock shadow and back and forth again in the time period of one evening.
However, “Gut Pile” is at least sort of watchable – something that cannot be said of “Vampire Junction”. But enough of me being traumatized by that movie (in my review I called it ‘so bad that it makes “Manos – the Hands of Fate” look like an Ingmar Bergman movie’ and no, I wasn’t exaggerating).
During a hunting trip a guy named Dan (Jeff Forsyth) accidentally shoots a stranger, another hunter. Instead of reporting the incident, Dan instead decides to bury the stranger out in the deserted woods. Considering that not one of the hunters in this movie wears any visible clothing like those orange coats one often sees them wearing it is surprising that this sort of thing doesn’t happen more often.
Being one of those tree hugging hippie-types who believe that it would only be sporting if the deer were also armed with dangerous assault rifles, I don’t really know a lot about hunting. However I do believe that Dan should perhaps consider dropping the sport. Besides killing fellow hunters (not a practice particularly frowned upon by the deer I suppose), Dan’s idea of hunting seems to consist of casually leaning against a tree like one sees those too-cool teenagers do in shopping malls chain-smoking endlessly while waiting for some unsuspecting deer to pass by (won’t they smell all that cigarette smoke)?
Anyway, we flash forward one year. Dan and his two buddies are back in the same woods for their annual hunting trip. The buried corpse of the stranger remains undiscovered, and it looks as if Dan is going to get away with it. Except . . .
Except well, this being a horror movie it would seem that the killed man’s angry spirit is floating around the woods as a POV camera shot directly cribbed from those used by Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead” movies. Add possessed trees and a tiny cabin and what you have is an “Evil Dead” rip-off . . . er sorry . . . homage. Why anyone would want to see a 60 minute long version of “Evil Dead” filmed on grainy hand-held video camera starring amateurs is anyone’s guess.
Compared to “Vampire Junction” (there I go again!) “Gut Pile” is actually not too bad. At least the movie knows its budget limitations and doesn’t try to do anything exotic on its shoestring budget like a mission to Mars or something which would really look ridiculous. All we have is five actors, a lonely cabin in the woods and some over-the-top gore.
What I found more entertaining and interesting are the two small features included as ‘extras’ on the DVD of “Gut Pile”. Clocking in at about 30 minutes’ running time each, “Stumped” (about a model who loses her hand in an accident, the hand comes back to life and together they go on a killing spree) and “I’ve Killed Before” (about a couple addicted to serial killing) are both worthwhile. Sure, the denouement in both shorts is forced and too clever for their own good, but as far as zero budget film-making go they’re not bad.
Particularly interesting is “Stumped”, directed by one Michael Legge whose no-budget movies include “Loons”, “Honey Glaze” and “Cutthroats” (most of them also reviewed on this site). Legge has definitely improved as film-maker. Not only is “Stumped” one of his technically most accomplished film, but he also seems able of containing his worst instincts as director in this short. It almost makes me want to see whatever new project he has in the pipeline. Note the ‘almost’ . . .