While most films covered in covered in Blood on a Budget are American, some of them, like Amerikan Holokaust and An American Ghost Story, feel it necessary to state their patriotism in their title. Ironically, these films don’t always depict our best friends to the south in the most favourable light. Read on!
BLOOD: Gore, gore, and more, from beginning to end
BUDGET: Around $1,000
Disillusioned by modern American life, Vietnam war veteran Michael Mashburn (Jules Sceiro) teams up with fellow ex-soldier Antwan Mercer (Bob Glazier) to rebel against society by kidnapping people (mostly women) to torture, rape, mutilate and murder them (though not necessarily in that order).
Presented as Mashburn’s personal tapes, this extreme found-footage horror film is reminiscent of Fred Vogel’s August Underground. The plot is clear for supposedly fragmented faux-home video footage, and there’s just enough context outside of the torture scenes as well as Mashburn’s own confessional segments to carry the story along. However, the film lacks the sense of realism and chaos in the aforementioned Fred Vogel film, thanks to clumsy dialogue and cheesy lines such as “I don’t need your plastic world.”
At least gore hounds won’t be disappointed, as there is ample dismembering, disembowelin, and disfigurement, coupled with sexual perversion, such as Mercer masturbating with fresh human organs. It’s a bloodbath, but unfortunately, a hammy one.
BLOOD: It’s a ghost story so little to none
BUDGET: Estimated at $10,000
Wannabe author Paul (Stephen Twardokus) moves into an allegedly haunted house with his partner Stella (Liesel Kopp) in the hope of writing a novel based on their experiences there. Luckily (or unluckily), poltergeist-style shenanigans abound almost immediately, including bumps in the night, things moving by themselves and drawers suddenly flung open. The disturbances drive Stella to move out, but Paul, wanting something bigger for the book, stays on. When the paranormal activity subsides, he challenges the spirits directly and winds up getting more than he bargained for.
It’s a shame that the cool camera tricks are eclipsed by the laughable body-covered-in-a-sheet convention to represent the ghost, and the heavy haunting doesn’t go down until the final third of the film. Add in a weak climax, and an American Ghost Story is an exercise in tedium.
Amerikan Holocaust is available on DVD through Icon Film Studios’ website. Also check out the filmmakers’ vlog The Sleaze Box for horror fan fun.
An American Ghost Story is readily available through many major retailers.
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