Saturday, 20 September 2014
Hell's Asylum (2002)
This ten pack's run of modestly entertaining films comes to a very definite end with this clumsily made effort from Full Moon Pictures. Full Moon's heyday was the early 90s, with direct to video franchises like Puppet Master, Trancers and Dollman. The age of DVD has been far less kind to them however, and they seem to be stuck in a spiral of making bad movies which make no money which mean they have no budget which means they make bad movies. As an exmaple: IMDB estimates this film's budget at $35,000. 1989's Puppet Master, meanwhile, had a budget eleven times greater - and that's not taking 13 years of inflation into account.
On the other hand, Full Moon had a hand in unleashing the Josh Kirby films on the world, so they kinda deserve whatever they get.
The premise of this film is that a shonky TV producer wants to film "Chill Challenge", a reality TV show in which five attractive young women must spend the night in a haunted house filled with hidden cameras. The women will be given tests that play on their fears, and those that manage to endure them will share in a $1 million payout at the end of the night.
We're then introduced to the five competitors: they're all one note archetypes who won't be given an ounce of character development, so don't bother to learn their names.
The show then begins with the producer giving a spiel about all the terrible things that happened in the "house" (which clearly isn't a residential home, since it has one of those green and white "Exit" signs over one of the doors). The film seems a little confused about whether he was just making all this up or not: some of his dialogue suggests he is, but one of the competitors seems to genuinely believe in ghosts and talks about the stories she's heard about the place. Quite possibly they made script changes while filming and didn't bother to get things consistent.
I say quite possibly because this is seriously low grade film making: the ghost/monster costumes of the - naturally very real - creatures haunting the house look like they came from a Halloween thrift shop, and the film tries to disguise the lack of any ability to actually stage a 'kill scene' by shaking the camera a lot and throwing around buckets of offal from a local butchers. It doesn't work.
What's the story behind the creatures haunting the house? The movie doesn't care and neither will you. In fact, since they're killing the idiot characters in the film, pretty much all of whom are obnoxious, you'll probably be cheering them on.
Well, you'll be cheering them on if you're dumb enough to keep watching, anyway. But frankly, you'd be better off turning the TV off and doing something else.