The Killer Tales of Dr. Devil is about the closest thing to a snuff film one is likely to see on YouTube. Director Ashley Nicole’s short is a dark and grimy exercise in amateur grotesquerie.
The demented Dr. Devil (Christian Gonzalez) narrates the horror movie as he rather gleefully recalls how he was finally able to realize his Frankenstein-y mission to reanimate a dead body after several failed attempts. Unfortunately for Cindy (Ashley Nicole), a young woman whom Dr. Devil would often see passing by his home, she will provide the dead body that Dr. Devil will eventually use for his lunatic experiments.
Due to appropriately natural and harsh lighting, the just-under-6-minute film recalls some of those 1970s no-budget horror quickies that leave a person feeling slightly unclean. There is hardly a frame of footage in the movie that doesn’t include blood spatter. Gonzalez’s raspy Vincent Price-by-way-of-a-Fisher Price-voice-changing-machine oration speaks of using poor Cindy’s fingers as ornaments, and you can practically hear him licking his lips as he reminisces about removing the organs “that seemed interesting to me.” Yech!
“The demented Dr. Devil… reanimates a dead body after several failed attempts.”
Cindy’s suffering isn’t explicitly shown, i.e., we (thankfully) don’t see Dr. Devil severing her fingers or removing her intestines. As such, The Killer Tales of Dr. Devil can’t really be classified as “torture porn” in the way that, say, the Saw franchise can. Rather, I would allocate The Killer Tales of Dr. Devil as “suffering porn.” The amount of apparent relish that the evil, mad doctor derives from describing his slow and torturous murder of his victim is striking. We see poor Cindy bound and gagged, and we even witness her being stabbed to death, from her point of view!
I couldn’t help but wonder about the type of filmmaker that would be behind such a grisly exercise. I can only hope that the world might have a budding Wes Craven or Eli Roth on its hands and not someone whom it would need to be, well, “concerned” about. Nevertheless, Ashley Nicole has certainly done her homework on pieces of squirm-inducing horror, offering a work evocative of 1970s cheapies as well as more recent horror titles such as the Hostel franchise or Captivity.
The Killer Tales of Dr. Devil seems to me like the first draft of something bigger, better, and grosser that will be forthcoming. The fact that I am intrigued by what the young filmmaker might come up with next concerns me. Time to call my therapist!
"…the closest thing to a snuff film one is likely to see on YouTube."