Adam Mason  



An interesting but flawed director of a rich variety of intense movies involving anything from extreme violence to supernatural or psychological horror. Even when he is borrowing often-used sub-genres, he tends to add his own edgy elements or plot twists, showing creativity and an auteur's voice. Unfortunately, his writing isn't as disciplined as it should be, often running with an idea without fully developing its boundaries and logical consequences, or letting loose with some over-the-top nastiness to the detriment of the characters. But his potential is evident. He only dabbles in the extreme and some of his movies are more straightforward psychological horror, thus showing versatility. Some examples of his movies not listed here include the really messy and almost trippy 'Dust' that involves a violent clash between insane city and country folk, and a modern interpretation of Jekyll & Hyde in 'Luster'.

Of Some Interest

Broken  
Starting off as tedious and sick Saw clone where women's survival skills are tested with razor blades in their stomachs, it soon veers into much more interesting territory: A disturbing psychological tale of a twisted man who keeps women as slaves in the forest, living off the land, while the women grapple with their fears and broken psyches. Full of dark potential, but the acting is mediocre, the women's behaviour is grossly stupid as they ignore opportunities over and over again, the psychology isn't explored as deep as I would have wished, and quite a bit of the gore and physical abuse feels technically unrealistic. It shows some potential for a while but in the end is a failed attempt at dark sadism.

Junkie  
Kind of Mason's version of Fear and Loathing, involving a lot of inner, blackly-humorous, surreal madness of a drug addict's mind, bookended by some drama and inner turmoil. Danny deludes himself in that he is kicking the habit, but he lives with his insane brother (Robert LaSardo sporting several layers of full-body tattoos) who doesn't allow him any peace of mind. The movie quickly makes it clear that a lot, if not all, of what we are seeing is in his mind, smartly avoiding making the movie about a twist in the plot, and focusing on his inner madness and psyche instead. He orders in sluts and drug dealers like they were pizza, except we are never really sure whether they are real or not. Matters quickly deteriorate from violence and sodomy to humorously nightmarish absurdity as his house fills with a zombie that his brother killed, an over-the-top sleazy father with his prostitute wife, a sister that torments him with guilt, and few other surprising visitors, while his warped mind seeks drugs even in the blood of a drug dealer. The biggest flaw is the movie's gleeful and over-the-top sleaze and madness that detract from the otherwise interesting mental exploration of the mind of an addict at the bottom rung of his life, but obviously the movie is aiming more for twisted entertainment over psychological realism.

Worthless

Devil's Chair, The  
The setting for this horror movie is a cliched abandoned insane asylum with a dark past involving a mad scientist, and there is a chair which may or may not involve a hellish dimension involving Hellraiser-lite machinery. A man who watched a girl be brutalized on the chair is currently locked up, only to be freed by a professor who wants to study the chair. They go back to the asylum and the chair, where horrors emerge and hell slowly takes over. The gore feels more graphic than it is thanks to the demented lead performance. Unfortunately, there is an annoying meta-narration that talks down to the audience and thinks its being clever by remarking about the horror cliches, and there are a few surreal twists that insult the audience by being completely nonsensical and manipulative. All of which sinks this movie, since a twist isn't clever if it lies to its audience and then changes everything we saw.

Pig  
Plotless hillbilly nastiness that just points the camera at an insane, giggling psycho and his antics with his inbred family at his trailer home in the woods. He babbles endlessly, bursts into sudden bouts of violence as he beats and cuts up his family of inbred, insane pregnant women and daughters, has some fun with urination, cannibalism and rape, and frequently washes himself in between. This the acting is so over-the-top that they are almost never believable. Uniquely, the movie is presented as one long take with much improvised insanity and a few hidden cuts when a gory special effect is needed, but seeing as this is just a lot of improvised overacting, it fels more like a gimmick than something truly impressive. A normal character might have helped a bit as a contrasting anchor. The unforgettable twist ending of this experiment catches you completely off-guard and makes you think for a bit, but after 90 minutes of extreme boredom, this tiny and mostly nonsensical provocation is just not enough.




2000- by The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre Table of Contents