Written and directed by: Krist Rufty
Starring: Raine Brown, Trent Haaga, Don Prentiss & Ash Bowen
Reviewed by: Brett H.
“Soup is fucking on!”
Independent Entertainment sure knows how to pick ‘em. Following my reviews of slash fests such as Red River and Scultpure along with tasteless schlock ala Diary of a Sex Offender, I’m willing to bet this latest release, Psycho Holocaust goes balls out in nearly every department. Say what you will about these low budget affairs, Independent Entertainment has never failed in garnering a reaction from me every time I crack open the DVD’s case. If my prediction (and hopes) rings true, this review will attest to that. If not, well, it’ll be a first, that’s for sure.
As one grows further into adulthood, it seems to become harder and harder to find time to let loose, relax, and catch up with the ones that have stuck with you through thick and thin. Case in point is a group of 6 out of touch friends heading into the woods for one last go at having a carefree good time before Talina (Raine Brown) and her boyfriend have a baby. Hopes of them dawning new eras in their lives shines bright until an unfortunate walk into the woods leaves two of them dead and leads to the others searching to locate their lost friends. Which they do. Unfortunately for Talina and crew, not all of their pieces are in the same place at the same time...
Psycho Holocaust is a silly throwback to throwbacks, often recycling, parodying and referencing material probably twice removed from its original use. If you’re the type that is excited by seeing drive-in exploitation filth exploited and hyperbolized to even cheesier, more obscene levels, there is a decent chance you’ll leave the theatre (ok, your living room) feeling good, but not especially impressed. At times, the blatancy of the genre nods showcased in the frames of Psycho Holocaust will have any self respecting horror vets rolling their eyes at the ease of the references. Off the top of my head, I could rattle off well over a dozen examples ranging from incredibly obvious nods to John Carpenter and Dark Night of the Scarecrow to slightly more obscure notions in regards to Tom Savini, Cannibal Holocaust and Last House on Dead End Street. The double edged sword is while it’s oftentimes good enough to actually make you want to re-watch the movies it references, you’re probably more apt to want to tune out and check those out without finishing off the Holocaust at hand.
With all the cheap gore and nutty Trent Haaga acting, that’d be a shame, especially towards the end when guts really spill and I Spit on Your Grave style outrageousness gets teethy. See it to believe it, folks, I won’t spoil it here but it’s fucking nuts. Haaga leads a troupe of disgruntled Iraq war vet mountain men who lash out at every day America with murder and torture as payback for what the military subjected them to… it’s kind of like First Blood if John Rambo was the old lunatic in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. From there, it’s enter the grindhouse as every trick in the book is put on display in over the top fashion with backwoods slasher stereotypes oozing through the production, subsequently splashing your screen blood red. Your speakers will cry “fuck” and “cunt” whenever Haaga and his rapist pal, Carp (Don Prentiss) encounter a female, which brings forth terrible memories of Rob Zombie’s Halloween. I prayed to myself that the film wouldn’t end on the most easily perceptible homage/distraction cinematically possible, and of course, it did.
I’m probably being too hard on this cheapie that truly does have honest intentions and certain strong points, which is why I’m happy to say Independent Entertainment’s DVD looks as good as it possibly can, which is subsequently gritty and imperfect. The 16 x 9 transfer lacks polish due to the nature of the film and the audio levels are inconsistent in volume, but overall pretty clear. Features include a commentary track, behind the scenes featurette, interviews, outtakes and more, so fans looking for value will certainly find it with this disc. I didn’t hate Psycho Holocaust, far from it, and if I was 14 and it was 1999 all over again, I’d probably beam proudly that I got all the references like I actually knew something. In 2011, love letters to horror’s past shouldn’t smash you on the head like a mallet from Leatherface, but make you feel an eerie relation, something out of, say, A Virgin Among the Living Dead, which shares a momentary atmospheric similarity to a scene in Psycho Holocaust that may or may not have been intended. I do wonder if it was – and if I felt that way throughout the whole picture, I’d have given the film a little higher rating than to simply Rent it!
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