Monday, October 19, 2009

"Stink Meat" Review

"Stink Meat" was a nightmare. Not the kind of nightmare you wake up from but, far worse, the kind you wake up to.

The set up is simple. A girl, played by Sonya Bender, wakes up chained to a chair. It could be the start of any number of horror scenarios, but then it gets weird. Waking up chained in a room with dead bodies isn't weird for a horror flick. Neither is it strange when the sounds of struggles attract the attention of a grotesquely masked captor. The strange part? This is a dinner party. And she's the guest of honor. Had she know that her meal would be a well-dressed dead couple, however, she might have declined the invitation.

Strings suspended from the ceiling hold open the chest cavities of the two victims while glistening green apples fill their mouths like two roast pigs. Her chains wrap up to the ceiling, through hooks, and down the walls behind her, where gray, grasping hands reach out from jagged cut holes. The girl, a typical pretty horror lass, is terrified and seemingly has no memory of where she is or what's going on. She too is daintily dressed, and the furnishings seem lavish, though hopelessly neglected. Somehow, even though she is in such a dehumanizing setting, her captor sees something human-or at least something different-in her.

But there is one aspect of this story that doesn't add up, didn't for me even when this disturbing short was over. The girl wakes up, realizes she's a captive, and starts freaking out. Then why is there already blood all around her mouth? Clearly someone has been feasting on the dead couple on the dining table, but the girl is chained. She can't even reach them to do all the damage that's been done.

I'm not suggesting for a second that this is a film error. The shot composition and quality are too good for such amateur mistakes from the film's director, Jeff Speed. What I am saying is that this seeming anachronism hints at a much deeper psychological level than just the surface of raw terror. If she's just waking up, where did the blood come from? Is she blocking the full extent of her ordeal? Is there a greater symbolism to the characters and their rolls? Not knowing made me pay closer attention to the details of a film that might otherwise have been carnage wrote.

"Stink Meat" is the kind of film SHOCKFEST audiences come to see. It's a definite do not miss. Shot in 70s style, director, Jeff Speed, hits a horror home run with his whole trio of retro inspired short films, "Stink Meat," "Il Bruto," and "Municipal Waste 'Sadistic Magician.'" Catch all three at SHOCKFEST Film Festival, November 7 at Cinespace in Hollywood. www. ShockFilmFest .com has all the details.

So, as I said, "Stink Meat" was a nightmare. But the worst part about this nightmare is, once you've already woken up there is no escape.

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