B-MOVIE: THE SHOOTING OF FARMHOUSE MASSACRE Image

There are numerous upstart production companies operating in America’s heartland that are plying their efforts to gain entry into the entertainment industry. These are bare bones operations that survive by mostly cobbling together a consortium of like-minded and hopeful filmmakers. The platform most often used to propel their quest at a film career is the slasher movie, and this is for good reason. Not only is this the genre they are most comfortable working in, but when you have a film focusing on a deranged dirt farmer who kills residents in a trailer park, it is doubtful to be handicapped by a budget that is lower than the Blue Book value of a Ford Pinto.
It is understandable that at times these D-grade Tobe Hoopers might feel constrained by the creative corner they have been painted into with blood. Certainly there can only be so many ways you can stage a murderous stalker, only so many gallons of porcine plasma from the local abattoir you can spray on your high school buddies, before you begin to feel those pangs associated with artistic redundancy. That’s why I can understand what the gang from Other Side Cinema was feeling when they conceived this peek into the disturbing world of making disturbing movies.
“B-Movie” is a mockumentary purported to be akin to the now mandatory behind-the-scenes additions on mainstream DVD releases, but made with a wink-and-a-nod attitude. This could have been a truly inspired offering. As fertile as these films are in the form of risible material, and combining this with the inside knowledge of those behind the camera, there was a grand opportunity for true satire. Maybe an axe-handle version of Waiting for Guffman or Bowfinger could have happened. Instead what we end up with feels like the result of a case of Rolling Rock leading up to “Dude, you know what would be a riot?!” brand of inspiration.
Most of the film is either “director” Vito Anselmi, (Vito Trabucco) or “producer” Marcus Epstein, (Mark Terry) speaking to an off-camera interviewer about the creation of their fictitious film, “Farmhouse Massacre”, and this all fails entirely because of a simple error: These guys are not close to being as funny as they think they are. The whole time Vito is on camera, he has a twinkle in his eye as if he feels he has tapped into a new vein of comedy with this hook, while Mark looks and acts like a cross between Michael Richards and Adam Sandler, absent their timing, delivery, and humor.
You can’t help but sense they and the crew felt they were being outright hysterical, but the painful truth is neither of them generates a genuine witticism. This is a detriment given that one or the other is on screen for roughly 83.726 % of the running time. The interview sessions are interspersed with “footage” from the filming of the ersatz production, and woefully this does little to staunch the agony.
There is a pre-production meeting with a lawyer that is wince inducing as they wise-a*s through legal obstacles. Then Marcus attempts to bring two stuntwomen into the cast, but his demand for onscreen nudity leads them to pummel him. An attempt at a lesbian hot-tub scene causes one actress to storm off and they resort to a corpulent gaffer as a body-double. Late in the shoot, the two girls end up making out on a couch and the crew is left agog before breaking into applause. I wondered why there was so much emphasis made on the hilarity of this shot, so I re-watched this scene, and not for the reason you are thinking—the unbeautiful pair were so dispassionate with the affection that they were about as lurid as watching gourami. It turns out the one “character” was supposed to kill the other with a knife that was barely visible before the “actresses” began making out. The joke was lost as the execution was botched, but nobody seemed to mind—those chicks are doing it!
What is clear is that they hit upon a decent concept, but decided to go ahead and shoot, armed with the confidence that a script wasn’t all that important. They had the right idea to poke fun at themselves, but this troupe is so inept that you get the bizarre absurdity that the self-deprecation was cruel behavior. A little practice might earn them the title “amateurish”.
The film’s packaging is in itself revelatory where it says they “share their thoughts and insights in poinent (sic) interviews.” In that theme, I will suggest the movie suffers from an impoignancy problem.

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