Director Lee Gordon Demarbre
Cast: David Hess, Jesse Buck, Sasha Grey, Michael Berryman, Ray Sager, and Herschell Gordon Lewis
Shriek Show / Region 1 / Not Rated / 1.78:1 widescreen / ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 & Dolby Digital Stereo / 86 minutes
Disc Features: Commentary with Director Lee Gordon Demarbre / Sasha Grey’s Video Diaries / Behind-the-Scenes Featurette / Deleted & Alternate Scenes / Gag Reel / Production Stills / Promotional Trailer and More!
Smash Cut poses a serious challenge for a super horror fan like myself to review. It’s an obvious homage to the old Hershell Gordon Lewis movies like Blood Feast and The Gore Gore Girls. HGL has popped up more and more these days with new films by the schlock master himself and disappointing re-makes like 2001 Maniacs (Tim Sullivan) and Wizard of Gore (Jeremy Kasten). So when a new attempt comes along to re-live HGL’s work, it’s too bad this attempt falls short as well. Smash Cut doesn’t completely flat-line, nor does it go for the jugular. Here’s why…
The late David Hess (The Last House on the Left, Hitch-hike) is really the main reason to watch this film. He’s playing a low-budget horror movie director with motivation problems. When he gets into a car accident and his girlfriend is killed, he uses her corpse as a prop in his horror film. Motivation problem solved. This spirals into more killing, more prop making, and David Hess acting his heart out to bring life into a mediocre movie. Sure, there’s a few gory scenes here and there to keep things moving, and a shit-ton of nods to HGL, some of those coming off as painfully forced, but the real problem is the overall wasted potential of the movie.
On paper, a movie with David Hess, Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes, The Devil’s Rejects), and porn-star/actress Sasha Grey (Deep Throat This 44) should’ve been a slam dunk. The problem, the script tries to be funny without succeeding. For example, David Hess doing yoga? Come on, seriously? The old HGL movies weren’t trying to be funny, they were just so bad they were good. Smash Cut doesn’t capture this mood. The homage works in some instances and fails in others. Instead of giving us a helping heaping of the gory goods like HGL did, we mostly get monologues from David Hess and boring sleuthing scenes with reporter Sasha Gray (who keeps her clothes on throughout the duration) to fill in the feature time. HGL fans should rent this, because there are redeeming moments throughout the movie, don’t get me wrong, but it’s only enough to make it worth one viewing.
The behind-the-scenes featurette, gag reel, and Sasha Grey’s video diary each give the viewer a good perspective on how fun it was for the cast to make Smash Cut. Throw in the director’s commentary, and Shriek Show does a fine job giving this movie a solid DVD release. The audio is my only complaint, because at times it’s hard to hear the dialogue. The colors and visuals are of good quality for a lower budget movie. Final word, Smash Cut certainly isn’t a pile of shit. It reaches half of it’s goals. It’s better than those dreadful re-makes, so let that speak for itself. But for a huge fan of HGL, like myself, my expectations are always high. Rest in peace, David Hess.