Judge Paul Pritchard will never use power tools while naked again.
"Ma'am, I really wouldn't ask questions you don't want the answers to."
Six friends head out for a break in the woods before one of their number has a baby. As they arrive at their cabin, they become the target of a trio of psychotic Gulf war veterans. As the group splits up to explore their surroundings, they are attacked individually, before being subjected to horrific acts including rape, torture, and murder.
There's a simple litmus test one can take to ascertain whether Psycho Holocaust is the movie for you: if the idea of a man being anally raped by a lunatic with a strap-on handsaw sounds like a good thing, then you're in for a treat; all right-minded people should just look elsewhere for their entertainment. Make no mistake, Psycho Holocaust goes way beyond being a mere blood-and-guts horror movie. There is no humor here, no social commentary, and no discernable level of art; this is just sadistic for the sake of it, an exercise in brutality for brutalities sake.
Clearly influenced by the likes of Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and Meir Zarchi's I Spit On Your Grave, Psycho Holocaust initially plays as a homage to the golden age of American horror. Increasingly, though, it becomes clear this lacks the artistry of Hooper's work, or even the confused revenge motif of Zarchi's notorious shocker. Rather, Psycho Holocaust becomes an endurance test for the viewer with its relentless barrage of rape, torture, dismemberment, and penis severing. The decision to make the final girl character an expectant mother reeks of a calculated attempt at making the film as dark as possible. In fact, in many ways Psycho Holocaust feels like a product born from the deranged minds of several male teens attempting to capture the most depraved acts they can imagine. Plot and character is not something writer/director Krist Rufty is interested in; right from the off he sets up his film to shock, offend, and provoke. Unfortunately there's nothing beyond this to justify the film's existence. Even some of the most horrific films can be heaps of fun, if they also ask questions of the viewer; there is nothing of that here. All the film wants to do is revel in the violence it portrays, with a definite fixation on anal trauma. The camera isn't shy about getting up close and personal, either, meaning that very little is left to the viewer's imagination.
For what it's worth, the effects work is pretty good, especially considering the low budget. A sequence where one victim is scalped is well realized, while another that sees a man's innards spilling out is authentic enough to stimulate the gag reflex of less seasoned gore hounds. One other plus is the film's score, which instantly brings to mind the Italian giallo movies of the late Seventies and early Eighties.
There's really very little else I have to say on Psycho Holocaust. I'm certainly not against extreme onscreen violence, as has been proven in many of my reviews for DVD Verdict, but this film left me cold. I'm sure the promise of rape by handsaw will be enough to pique the interests of some, but trust me, there are far better horror movies out there. Don't waste your time with this.
Picture quality is generally quite poor and reminiscent of a home video. The soft, and occasionally noisy, image lacks much detail, while colors are muddy. Audio is also less than stellar, with dialogue frequently being drowned out by ambient sounds; this is despite the boom mic appearing in shot from time to time. The disc itself comes with a good selection of extras, including a commentary track and behind the scenes featurettes. It's questionable how many people will bother with these, bearing in mind that, had it not been for the fact I was reviewing the film, I doubt even I'd have even bothered watching it through—let alone watched any supplemental material.
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Scales of Justice
Studio: Independent Entertainment
Review content copyright © 2011 Paul Pritchard; Site design and review layout copyright © 2014 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.