Shock-O-Rama (2006)
By: Don Anelli on January 23, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
EI Independent (USA). Region 1, NTSC. 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 2.0 90 Minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: Brett Piper
Starring: Misty Mundae, Julian Wells, AJ Kahn, Caitlin Ross, Rob Monkiewicz, Erica Smith
Screenplay: Brett Piper
Country: USA
Tired of being in low-budget horror films, Rebecca Raven, (Misty Mundae) decides to take a break at a summer home, forcing studio bosses to find a replacement. From there, two separate stories are presented.

The first starts with a space ship crashing into a scrap-yard owned by Jedd Callahan, (Rob Monkiewicz) as his ex-girlfriend Linda, (Caitlin Ross) arrives to collect her payment. With the alien on the attack the two hole up together in the scrap-yard until a gigantic robot is unleashed upon them.

The other one features Dr. Carruthers (Julian Wells), who is conducting experiments on a group of sleep troubled sorority sisters with the help of a gigantic disembodied brain. Eventually the girls are forced to take a stand against the experiments, and the brain!

This film was so much fun it really surprised me. There are a lot of really humorous lines in here, from the rant at the beginning that takes on all comers of the business to the throwaway joke before a character enters a bathtub, there are a lot of great lines that do come off as funny. The cheesy effects, a nod to the FX creators of the past, make it equally fun. The main robot in the alien segment is a wonder of stop-motion, and it fits in rather than sticking out like a sore thumb. The other special effects aren't all that bad either. The zombie make-up looks great. The gray skin on the face, the welts, the scarred appearance and the slow, stumbling walk create an effective undead monster.

A couple of decent stalking scenes also give it a higher degree of suspense. The sequence in the bedroom is the best, being a great twist on a classic convention and really standing out as the film's best sequence. Rivaling it for sheer fun is the cabin sequence, as it features a ton of gore, chainsaw duelling, dismemberments, and a wild hallucination sequence that mixes together so many elements that it really takes a life of it's own.

The only thing that really seems off is the final segment, which is a little too dark for the rest of the film. The others are a light and cheesy, while it is a much more serious one with less jokes and corn-ball attitude. It's also the most sluggishly paced, feeling a little too padded out and full of scenes put there to increase running time. There's too much talking about possible scenarios without really doing anything about them. But other than these, Shock-O-Rama was really enjoyable.
Video
The 16x9 enhanced 1.78:1 transfer here is pretty good. Colours are quite clear, and there's very little grain, except in a few shots with mist. A really well-rounded transfer.
Audio
English DD stereo is the only option on here, but the one track isn't that terrible. You can hear the dialog quite clearly and nothing gets in the way of the music. It does what it is intended to do nicely.
Extra Features
There are a couple of really nice extra features on display. There's a feature commentary with Michael Raso and Brett Piper that is great for any budding film-maker looking to get some insight into the trials and tribulations of putting your vision on the screen. Filled with lots of insider details and stories about the business, but lacking the full-on overview of the movie, it's perfect for the independent director at heart but slightly disappointing for those looking for lots of on-set stories.

A short interview segment with Piper and Raso is a quick watch, explaining the genesis of the project, the struggle to get it on-screen and Piper's affection for his actors. Something to see once and then never again.

There's a thoroughly skippable behind-the-scenes segment that really offers nothing beyond showing the zombie make-up being applied and some quick unfunny bloopers.

Footage from the film's NYC Premier in 2006 is also there, and it's pretty hard to describe it. There's the sense that it's going to get better the longer it goes on, and some of the interviews and recollections are pleasing, and like the interviews, it's something that will probably be viewed only once.

A Q&A segment with Piper at the film's premier is easily the best feature, as he gives some articulate responses and comes across as an engaging personality. Despite some reviews that say ringers were present, none really gave that impression.

There's also the expected trailer reel featuring new and upcoming releases.
The Verdict
For fans of the EC Comics of the 50s this is worth picking up. The fact that it features so many entertaining and worthwhile scenes and ideas makes it an easy recommendation for just about any occasion or genre-fan, as there is something here to please everyone. The disc is pretty packed for this type of movie, although a lot of extras didn't need to be there.
Movie Score
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