Don't let your past ruin your future.
Eric Seaver (writer/director Michael Kallio) looks like your average, everyday Joe. Eric works a day job transcribing autopsy reports, is in the middle of a screenplay and is engaged to a cute blonde named Jamie (Tracee Newberry). However, underneath Eric's exterior lies the heart of a brutal killer. Eric's past is littered with horror and pain, never more so as when he's at the hands of his abusively alcoholic stepfather (Gunner Hansen, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre's Leatherface). Eric's stepfather repeatedly beat his poor mother and often locked Eric in the closet. As the past gives way to the present, Eric continues his family's abuse by killing various abused women in an attempt to free them from their pain. As Eric wrestles with his deadly desires he finds himself in the company of a demon (Michael Robert Brandon) and an angel (Jeffery Stieger), two invisible manifestations of Eric's conscience. As Eric delves deeper and deeper into madness, he finds himself bound by blood…and killing within a Hatred of a Minute.
I suspect that the only reason Anchor Bay decided to pick up Hatred of a Minute (based on a poem by Edgar Allen Poe) was because it was produced by Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, Army of Darkness). Anchor Bay has had a long and lucrative career in re-releasing (and re-releasing, and re-releasing, and re-releasing yet again) director Sam Raimi's horror trilogy which starred Campbell, and I'm sure when they saw his name on the poster of Hatred of a Minute, it was assumed they had something special. Unfortunately, that's not the case—Hatred of a Minute is a very low-budget, amateurish movie that never rises above its Michigan based roots. While I certainly applaud Mike Kallio getting Hatred of a Minute finished by whatever means necessary, the film itself isn't anything overly special. Every aspects of the flick—including the sets, special effects (some blood and gore), and acting—is purely amateur in every sense of the word. After viewing it, I never got the feeling that I was watching a future master filmmaker at work; only someone who really, really wanted to get their movie made.
The storyline often seems a bit too familiar (nice guy by day, serial killer by night), and Kallio as the film's lead doesn't fit the bill as either an imposing or interesting character study. The fact is that the director should have stayed behind the camera and gotten someone else to play his mentally disturbed character. The rest of the cast—and it's obvious most haven't acted on film—is made up of largely unknown actors from the director's hometown. There are attempts at creativity, such as when Eric has flashbacks to his tumultuous childhood with his vile stepfather (played with relish by horror icon Gunner Hansen) and when his conscious arises in the form of a devil and an angel. But those instances feel few and far between. There are only so many monologues I can listen to of a character talking to himself about his past and present colliding until I begin to doze off. Both horror fans and dramatic fans will be a bit disappointed in Kallio's first effort. Then again, who knows what may be lurking in the director's future? James Cameron's directorial debut was the horrid Piranha II: The Spawning, so maybe there's hope after all.
Hatred of a Minute is presented in 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen. Not surprisingly, the picture is in only mediocre shape. Because this was a low budget shoot, the image often retains a very soft feel. There is some dirt and grain in the picture, as well as a few instances of haloing, though neither is too prevalent. While some of the footage looks better than others (and some was meant to look slightly crappy), overall this isn't a grade-A looking transfer. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo in English. If you're looking for a full, dynamic soundtrack, look elsewhere. If you're okay with an only so-so sound mix, this 2.0 Stereo track will suit you just fine. A small amount of hiss and distortion shows up from time to time, though this is to be expected due in part to the film's budget. However, there are some decent effects and dialogue in the film, making for a better presentation than I anticipated. No alternate soundtracks or subtitles are included on this disc.
Anchor Bay has loaded this disc up with some extra features. "Hating Every Minute" is a 17-minute documentary on the making of the film. Most of this feature includes behind-the-scenes video footage of the crew working and goofing off. Two commentaries are included, the first by writer/director Mike Kallio and producer Bruce "don't call me Ash" Campbell, and a second by Kallio and sound designer Joel H. Newport. Both tracks are filled with production, story, and casting information, though because of Campbell's involvement they're a bit wackier and light-hearted than expected. Under the "Trailer and Other Video Features" section are 17 minutes worth of anamorphic widescreen deleted scenes, five minutes worth of extended scenes, five minutes worth of alternate takes, eight minutes worth of outtakes, a 10 minute featurette on the world premiere of the film (shot on video tape) which includes Kallio and Campbell hamming it up both on and off stage at the theater, and of course a theatrical trailer for the film. Finally there is a decent sized still/poster gallery; lengthy bios on Kallio, Campbell, and Gunner Hansen; and the original screenplay (which can be accessed only through a computer).
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
• Commentary Track by Sound Designer Joel H. Newport and Writer/Director/Star Mike Kallio
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