Direct to video. Just typing that makes me shudder. Back in the early days of home video, distributors found a great way to beef up their catalogues and fatten their wallets. Buy tons of crap that before the days of VHS wouldn’t have stood a chance to see the light of day. Sure, there were some good ones, , some foreign genre classics came out through these bargain basement distributors, but lets face it, most were really bad. The distributors sold them for much lower then normal VHS prices (back in those days VHS tapes were around $90!), so mom & pop shops bought them by the truck load. During this time we saw the first consumer and pro-sumer video equipment available to the public. Back in those days many of the camcorders had to be plugged directly into a VHS player, having no deck on the camera body itself. It was then that film makers in the middle of nowhere with no budget realized they could make a movie, cheap. Of course this meant only getting distribution from crap houses known for shovelling cheap garbage to video stores. everywhere. Every now and then a true gem was released this way and got lost in the shuffle. Video Violence was not one of them.
Video Violence is about a married couple moving to a small town to open a video store. All the townies own VCRs, which at the time this film was made was unheard of, and have unsatiable desire for gore and violence. One day a home made tape of a real murder gets left at the video store and soon the couple learn that in this town, outsiders come in, but they don’t come out.
True, Video Violence isn’t a forgotten gem of epic proportions, but its not half bad either. I love the DIY nature of the film. Nothing makes me happier, when it comes to film, when a bunch of people get together make a film with meager means and recieve distribution. The film isn’t an exploitative schlockfest, no, these guys actually had a message. Violence corrupts and should be taken seriously and they showed this…by making a movie filed with violence and gore.What’s interesting here is the use of video cameras in the murders. They’re shot by some yokel and look just like home movies. The scene in Henry where he’s watching a video of a recent home invasion and murder that he committed comes to mind. All the kills in the film have that vibe to them. They’re nasty kills filled with sadism and torture. In fact this along with Henry could be the first intances of “torture porn,” in horror history. The acting in the film is okay, some actors better then others, and the script is a bit slow and predictable but I feel that there’s a little nugget of innovation and audacity in the film that make it worth watching for those with a good dose of low budget tolerence. The DVD also includes the sequal Video Violence part 2, but its so dreadful and weak, its not worth reviewing.
So if you enjoy DIY horror, especially from the 80′s, and you don’t mind shot on quarter inch video, check it out. Its not great, but its not terrible. I couldn’t find a trailer so you’ll have to settle for the box art.