Matty takes a look at the Jewel Shepard-starring Slasher.Com: a bawdy schlock pile-up currently stalking the shelves of your local supermarket.
Back in March 2014, hokey homemade horror flick The Hospital caused a minor furore when British supermarket Tesco removed its DVD from shelves, pulling it from sale a fortnight after release. Grotty, unpleasant, and unapologetically puerile, The Hospital incurred the wrath of the retail giant after a
pompous, self-appointed guardian of moral decency particularly sensitive customer objected to its mish-mash of tacky bloodletting and crude sexual violence. One nil, then, to The Hospital’s makers, as not only did their deliberately repugnant shocker achieve what it set out to do, but both they and the film’s British distributor garnered a boatload of free publicity once the story hit national press; and a lame, amateur hour cack-fest instantly became a must-see movie for genre aficionados.
And if there’s justice in the world, a similar sort of notoriety will befall Chip Gubera’s SLASHER.COM, which is currently nestled in Asda’s chart as an in-store exclusive (for the rock bottom price of five English pounds, no less). Admittedly, with little gore and a surprisingly slick technical veneer, Slasher.com lacks the raw, pseudo-snuff quality that enlivened the otherwise dreary Hospital. However, Slasher.com‘s gleefully grubby tone is even more perverse – so much so that I’d welcome some loon getting in a knot and lobbying Asda for a ban, just to get this twisted treat some much needed attention.
Wistfully calling to mind the kind of ambitious, straight-to-video cheapies that used to haunt Blockbuster’s scare section at the turn of the millennium (you know, stuff like Kolobos (1999) and HorrorVision (2001)), Slasher.com offsets an equally quirky mix of ideas and ambition against an impoverished budget. The type of picture that seems to throw everything at you, Gubera’s blend of kinky thriller, Don’t Answer the Phone (1980)-tinged scuzz n’ slash, backwoods carve ’em up, and smutty black comedy isn’t a smooth watch by any means. It is, though, tremendously entertaining.
Beginning with a brilliantly assembled sex murder there are several gear shifts within the first twenty minutes, as a stretch of expository bumf about more sex-laced killings – the work of a dating site-savvy serial killer – segues into the cutesy first date of the timid Jack (Ben Kaplan, a regular of Gubera’s having previously appeared in four of the helmer’s shorts), and the carefree Kristy (Morgan Carter).
Naturally, with the pair having met online, even the slouchiest armchair sleuth will be able to figure out where Slasher.com is going. And whatever your guess – whether it’s Jack or Kristy who’s behind the S&M slaughter – you’re pretty much right either way come the last reel. But as the would-be couple trudge deeper and deeper into Virginian woodland for an intimate weekend getaway (well, if you discount one character’s plan for violent murder, obviously), Gubera throws in a scintillating curveball: Jewel Shepard’s lascivious redneck matriarch, Momma.
Presiding over the sex-obsessed Myers clan (which also includes Rebecca Crowley’s shapely daughter, and hulking Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 (1990) alum R.A. Mihailoff), Shepard’s full throttle performance marks something of a comeback for the Return of the Living Dead (1985) star following the famously outspoken actress and writer’s battle with breast cancer.
And what a comeback it is!
Biting her lip and gyrating in a perpetual state of orgasmic ecstasy, the uproarious Shepard is sexy, yucky, and all kinds of weird as she spits barbed double entendres and – yep – masturbates with a swanky silver spoon.
And then feeds an unwitting Jack and Kristy mouthfuls of homemade casserole with it, unwashed.
And then lines the pair of ’em up as her depraved family’s latest erotic playthings, be they alive or dead.
Suffice to say, subtle the film ain’t. But with a bawdy schlock pile-up like Slasher.com, that’s half the fun.
EDIT: SLASHER.COM is out on UK DVD now via Gilt Edge Media, and is available through all the usual retailers.
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