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    Ian Jane
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  • Shock-O-Rama

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    Released by: ei Cinema/Shock-O-Rama
    Released on: 9/5/2006
    Director: Brett Piper
    Cast: Misty Mundae, Erika Smith, Julian Wells, Caitlin Ross, Michael R. Thomas, A.J. Kahn
    Year: 2006
    Purchase From Amazon


    The Movie:

    Brett Piper sends up the kind of movies he and his fellow low budget directors have been churning out for years with Shock-O-Rama, and while the last thing we need these days is another quick and cheap self referential horror-comedy hybrid, this one actually works. It hits a few stumbling blocks here and there, but surprisingly enough, Shock-O-Rama has a clever enough script and a few performances that are decent enough to rise it above most of the similar crud that's been flooding the home video market for years now. It's also got a lot of hot, naked women.

    Rebecca Raven (the lovely doe-eyed Misty Mundae a.k.a. Erin Brown) is the reigning queen of the b-movie scene. The studio who has been pumping out her films for the last few years has made a mint off of her but as each of us knows, all good things must come to an end and soon enough, her contract comes up for renewal and the studio passes on her. She takes it in stride and decides to go get some rest and relaxation while her former employers do their damndest to scope out the 'next big thing.'

    What Raven doesn't realize is that the remote country village she's decided to run off to is inhabited by a flesh eating zombie - what the studio doesn't realize is that replacing Raven might be harder than they thought. Though they're able to sign a replacement for Raven easily enough, that replacement winds herself in jail just as their latest deadline approaches, putting them in a bit of a bind. In order to get a film, any film, out before that date hits they start drudging through what they've got available to them, be it a story about a farmer and his alien problems or a story about crazed sexual experiments conducted on a bevy of beautiful ladies.

    Piper and company wrap things up nicely and the movie plays off as sort of an Amicus inspired anthology film without the lush locations or production values that those classic British films were known for. Though this was made with a shoestring budget and at times that's painfully obvious, Piper makes his film work through a few clever twists and a good sense of humor that as at times both wicked and playful as well as satirical.

    Misty Mundae delivers a stand out performance here, handling the sexy along with the bitchy along with the scared and the intense all rather well. If you've seen her in Lucky McKee's Sick Girl for Showtime's Masters Of Horror you'll have noticed that she's gotten a lot better in recent years and is now no longer just another pretty face but a half way decent actress as well. Shock-O-Rama solidifies that, and she's starting to show some serious potential as of late and it'll be interesting to see if she stays in the realm of straight to video sexploitation and horror films or moves on to bigger things. She's supported here by a few other Seduction Cinema regulars, A. J. Kahn and Julian Wells, both of whom are also quite good in their roles when you take into account the context of what Piper is trying to do here.

    While Shock-0-Rama might not be to all tastes it is a funny and at times even suspenseful little film that delivers exactly what you'd expect it to - nudity and gore in fairly ample doses and a few good laughs along the way.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Shock-O-Rama was shot on glorious 16mm film and the image is presented on this DVD in an anamorphic 1.78.1 widescreen transfer that keeps the compositions looking good and the framing proper. A few scenes are a little hazy and a little soft but color reproduction is good and black levels stay fairly strong. Detail in both the foreground and the background is, aside from the aforementioned scenes, quite decent and while this transfer won't blow anyone's mind, it doesn't leave much to complain about either.

    The English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track is fine in that the dialogue comes through clearly enough. The score never over powers the performers and the sound effects have a nice clarity to them. Channel seperation is minimal but it does occur once in a while and when it does it adds some atmosphere to the movie.


    First up, in terms of extra features, is an audio commentary track in which director Brett Piper is joined by producer Michael Raso. The two talk in quite a bit of detail about how the project came together, why certain performers were cast in specific roles, and how a few of the effects pieces were handled. Throughout it all the two show a genuine enthusiasm for the project that does tend to get a bit infectious in that their sense of humor and honesty in the talk does give you more to take away from the movie than you would if you ignored the supplements. This is one of those occasions where knowing what went into making the film inherently makes the film more interesting.

    From there we've a nine minute behind the scenes featurette that contains some interesting production footage and few interviews with the cast and crew members that were shot while the movie was still being made. A five and a half minute clip from the film's New York City theatrical premiere is more or less disposable but the question and answer session in which Piper fields questions from fans is an interesting way to spend five minutes of your time. Rounding out the interviews is a fifteen minute video interview with Piper and Raso again. Most of what they cover here is at least touched on in the commentary track but a few snippets contain some original information and if commentaries aren't your bag this is a decent alternate option should you want to explore the origin of the movie a little further.

    Rounding out the extra features is the always reliable Shock-O-Rama/Retro-Shock-O-Rama trailer vault and eight pages of liner notes and production stills courtesy of Film Threat scribe Merle Bertrand.

    The Final Word:

    Shock-O-Rama is a fun, entertaining piece of b-movie trash that, despite some flaws, delivers blood, guts and boobs. EI's disc looks and sounds good and the extras are pretty decent to boot. Misy Mundae fans should enjoy this one!
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