Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Automation Transfusion. Out today. (****4/10)

Automation Transfusion is coming out today! No, don’t get too excited and leap up and leave your house yet, let me explain first! I assume most people have been, up until now, blissfully unaware of the impending release of this film. And with good reason - It isn’t exactly Pirates of the Caribbean 3. Although, in it’s own way, in it’s own niche, it’s a better movie. But it’s a niche that is awfully small. You see, there is a small but influential group of people who are into films like this one. I say influential, because this clique is just big enough, and definitely loyal enough, to make films like Automation Transfusion profitable. Profitable enough, in fact, that now studios like Alliance Films are in on the act. (Alliance released this one today).

The film genre is a little tough to pigeonhole. Some would call this a "splatter" film, or a "gorefest", or some such thing. Basically, it is a low budget horror movie that relies almost entirely on blood, guts and gore for the scares. Very often these movies are made by just-starting-out filmmakers who really want to shoot a scene where somebody chews off another guy’s head. At other times, a talented director can make something like this into a work that transcends the genre - like Peter Jackson (now famous for Lord of the Rings) when he did a movie called Dead Alive, which involved some seriously funny splatter scenes, most of them involving a lawn mower. These films almost always involve zombies of some kind, female frontal nudity, and buckets of blood. They also seem to always have a black-metal or death-punk soundtrack. I assume the film makers usually just put on the songs that they like. A REAL twist on this genre would be pretty easy to do - just put some Roy Acuff or Desmond Dekker songs on your soundtrack.

The idea here, more than anything else, is low-budget. There are going to be actors no one knows, horrible dialogue, questionable acting performances, and over-the-top sight gags. Automation Transfusion is no different - the most over-the-top sight gag in this film is a scene where a zombie punches through the belly of a pregnant woman, yanks out the fetus, and devours it in front of her. Peoples heads are ripped off - very often the spinal cord is attached, which seems medically unlikely, but provides some entertaining gags as well. (Also well done - the ripping off of the lower jaw of a topless girl. Very gross.) This is a movie (as are most in this genre) that really can’t be taken seriously. To actually enjoy this, you have to be someone who can find the humour in a zombie being beaten to death with the head attached to the spinal cord which he has just ripped out of a person. It takes a certain kind of twisted individual to be able to laugh at stuff like this.

And I am not that person. At least, not very often. I can enjoy this for what it is for a few minutes, and maybe have a chuckle or two, but I can rarely take a whole movie’s worth. And toward the end, I was decidedly sick of Automation Transfusion. Actors who are barely good enough to star in porn, yet not attractive enough to star in porn, tearing out chunks of each other’s flesh and feasting on intestines and organs can get tiresome. Mercifully, however, it’s a short movie. At just over an hour, it manages to end before it becomes too much to handle. There is nothing scary about Automation Transfusion, because once you go over-the-top, there is nothing left with which you can shock or startle people. But as far as this genre goes, it’s pretty solid. It’s no Dead Alive (which remains the benchmark of splatter-gore-gross-out horror), but it will do. If you’re into this stuff. You weirdo.

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