I have just watched 27 minutes of this hour and half movie, and my bootleg copy has locked up. But I am THANKFUL. If you don’t know the back story this, it is so bad it’s funny. If you know the back story, it is so atrocious it’s hilarious!! DISCLAIMER: I am acting IN this piece of shit! PLUS Chris Mancini wrote and directed the inserts to try and save this. Let’s all talk out our PTSD.
Where to begin? First I should send a note to Stephen Rea who is the spine to what should have been a tense walk through an asylum. To say that he brought his “A” game is not helpful and clearly it was left on the floor, or off screen somewhere, because he (as a professional) is working a back story and subtext unto himself, but the foreign director seem to think that James Cameron cliches was the better choice to follow. So let us tip our hat and say a quiet prayer for the talent that was probably the ONE above the line item on the budget.
If you haven’t done so, listen to this archive episode 219 of CFN HERE or in the above player where I am a guest- and we regale ourselves with survivors guilt of having lived through the ordeal that was the weekend in Baton Rouge. You see, Chris Mancini’s original horror script was completely IGNORED by the Producer and Bulgarian director and they improvised a new story that is as hopeless as the predicament this movie got itself into. Only the title and for some reason the American character names remained. So the production company calls Chris to save the day by making it a COMEDY. So when Chris saw the footage, and after throwing up, he finds a way to try and make it work as a comedy by making it an MST3K/Office hybrid with wraparounds. Chris agreed to fix it In exchange for the rights back to his original script, which wasn’t actually used. Anyway, if you don’t know that upon landing upon this film, you would think that MST3K is magically overdubbing lame indie films from around the world.
Chris is right when he said that this is the ONLY movie in history that a studio has ruined TWICE!! Perhaps some tighter editing and a few exterior shots would have saved a minor product that would have made it’s nut back in foreign sales. But that would have been a mirror of XTRO II (please look for that) a sequel to an average killer alien bug movie, with Jan-Michael Vincent at the height of his boozing. All the footage is him placed leaning against a wall with a gun. If only they put a behind the scenes subplot explaining why none of the footage wasn’t working then it would have been a fascinating and enjoyable comedy too.
The problem here is one of commitment. Had the execs embraced the camp and comedy of the footage and run with that, then that would have been something unique and weird. If they clamped onto the less-than-tense, zombie/weirdness in the hallways of an Asylum, then maybe they could have yanked a trailer out of it that they could sell to foreign markets. But that boat sailed when the script was tossed over the shoulder of the Bulgarian director as they went with their “GUT INSTINCTS”
There are some very funny lines in this, and I forgot most of what I improvised on camera so it is a surprise to see it now. Mike Schmidt has the bulk of the killer lines as voice over editor who is looking at the footage. Of course, this is where the studio ruined the film for the second time: They removed half of Mike’s lines and trimmed some of Chris’ comedy scenes arbitrarily. One was supposed to be a casting session but you have no idea because the first half of the scene has mysteriously vanished.
But in the end, this makes me smile a wry smile. The budget could have been put towards so many scripts that mean something, and that so many young directors that should been given a chance, and so forth. I shake my head at how production companies manage to stay in business when the group think is so pedestrian and sophomoric. You may say this is sour grapes on my part, but don’t kid yourself, this shit is going on my reel!!