Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Step up, step up!! See the transformation of woman into hideous beast!!!

For those of you who may be too young to remember, there used to be a form of entertainment known as "The Sideshow". Called so because you found it off the main strip of the carnivals or fairs where they operated like some parasitic being. Here you found the things adults whispered about and kids clamored to see and share stories of with their friends. You saw strip shows, belly dancers and bawdy comedy acts.

Yet there was a darker side to these tents and trailers. You also found the freak shows and the weird little short films that presented things normal, rational people turned their face from. You could see Amazon princesses turn into howling beasts. People who could pop their eyes out of their heads. Folks who pierced their bodies with needles, nails and swords. Deformed babies floating in pickle jars. Headless bodies that moved as if alive.

You wanted to see it. You knew all your friends would want to see it too. Even though you felt a thrill of anticipation as you approached the tents with their shouting barkers extolling the wonders beyond the curtains behind them, there was always a sense of dread, of fear. Sure, it was all fake. But what if it wasn't? Would you see something that would forever change your way of facing reality? How would you handle it?

Thanks to the glory of political correctness, those things are gone, or commercialized into hipster traveling shows that command $40 a ticket. The days of cheap, seedy thrills are buried in the past.

Or are they?

Satan's Black Wedding, from the descriptions you may run across on the web or even on the DVD cover, may seem like just another low-budget piece of offal you'd avoid unless every other single DVD had been rented at the video store, and even then, maybe you'd just watch the traffic light change instead. Pick it up. Put it in your player and forget the upconverting. Just shut off the lights and wonder what you might be seeing for the next hour.

Satan's Black Wedding starts in with the full sideshow hook. A woman dressed in black roaming the countryside before descending into a dark chamber. The lighting is dim and oddly colored in reds. It's hard to see clearly what is happening, almost like watching with your hands over your face, or one of those dreams where something bad is happening but you can't open your eyes enough to see. There's a guy in a coffin with cheap plastic fangs. You want to laugh, and you might. Still, these people aren't laughing. They are dead serious. And that's when you start to feel slightly uncomfortable. If they are serious, then what are they willing to do next?

Slaughter, that's what. The woman who entered the chamber is suddenly in the comfort of her own bed, but there is no comfort there. She is having a seizure, and you are treated to visions of her face pulled into a horrible rictus grin as her muscles strain. She pulls out a razor and begins slashing her wrist, once, then twice and then over and over in a fit of mania. Yeah, that looks like red poster paint splashing the walls but this woman seems intent on seriously injuring herself. Meanwhile, the fellow with fangs watches her from the shadows and drools obscenely.

Welcome to the deranged world of Nick Millard (known in the credits of this film as Phillip Miller). Go on, search him on imdb.com. He's made a number of films and precious few of them are worth the time it takes to look away in embarrassment. Yet, when he decided it was time to attempt making a little money off horror movie drive-in fare, he made a mark on cinematic history. Okay, you have no idea who he is, and you may not know his films, but trust me when I say that there are folks out there who gurgle like happy babies at the thought of this movie and even more are fans of the whacked-out Criminally Insane. You are in the vintage weirdness aisle.

Satan's Black Wedding manages to capture something on film that I do not believe the director intended. It is honestly creepy. Not scary, but you have a constant sense of not knowing what is going to be thrown at you. You have moments that leave you shaking your head, like when the suicide victim's actor brother decides to stay in her house while he looks into her death and he finds himself in the still gore-drenched bedroom in which she died. There are people attacked by the undead sister. She is gnashing her dimestore plastic teeth, but she seems so intent that you start to wonder if she isn't off her rocker. And backing all of this is a soundtrack of a piano that does a drunken dance like a merry-go-round's calliope out of control. You are in someone else's bad dream, and you aren't getting out until they wake up.