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Case Number 07856: Small Claims Court

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Satan's Black Wedding

Criminally Insane
1975 // 62 Minutes // Rated R
Criminally Insane 2
1975 // 62 Minutes // Rated R
Satan's Black Wedding
1975 // 62 Minutes // Rated R
Released by Shock-O-Rama Cinema
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // October 21st, 2005

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson was almost moved to tears by these two Lifetime original movies.

The Charge

A double-shot of horror schlock.

The Case

Retro Shock-O-Rama has dug up a couple of short horror relics from the mid '70s and tied it together with a third, obscure film. All three features are bound together by their common director: Nick Phillips (a.k.a Nick Millard). Phillips made his way previously as a sexploitation director in the decade prior, and decided to explore another genre. Satan's Black Wedding and Criminally Insane represent Phillips's stab at the creep and gore factor.

• Satan's Black Wedding

Mark (Greg Braddock) is stunned to discover that his sister has been brutally murdered. As he surveys the crime scene and the blood-plastered bedroom walls, Mark suspects there is something more sinister afoot.

As he embarks on his investigation, he meets a woman sympathetic to his cause, as well as a wacky priest. Little does Mark know said priest happens to serve a darker master, and his search for the truth behind his sister's slaying is part of an evil plan to bring about the Antichrist.

Worse, Mark's sister is still fleet of foot, running around as a vampire, slurping the blood of innocents. What is her fate? And the fate of her brother? Will it be in fact an episode of disgusting incestuous Hellish love?

Satan's Black Wedding runs at a few minutes north of an hour, and during that runtime there were only a few moments when I didn't want to go outside and rake the lawn.

The flick has its moments, but it's so shoddily put together (edits are all over the place and the acting is supremely wooden), and the pacing is so stultifying (a tepid, unending love scene, from a sexploitation auteur no less!), that I have a hard time seeing why Satan's Black Wedding is labeled a "classic." Or maybe it isn't. I don't know, either way I didn't much care for it.

The effects are hilariously cheesy. The vampires run around with mouthfuls of plastic, pointed teeth that look like they'll dribble out from their gums at any moment. And when these ghouls sick their teeth into their victims, the blood that emanates forth may or not be in fact red latex paint.

What I liked? I dug the climax, as abrupt as it was, and while the gore was transparently low-tech, it was copious; Phillips obviously took pleasure in laying it on thick, and some of that fun seeped through the disc for me.

Bottom line: a helping or two of entertainment smothered mostly by poor execution and tedium.

• Criminally Insane

Priscilla Alden stars as Ethel, an overweight, schlumpy woman freshly released from the psychiatric ward. The doctor has given Ethel's grandmother explicit instructions to get the bulbous beauty on an immediate weight-loss program. Unfortunately, grandma chooses to put Ethel on a radical diet, locking the food pantry.

Ravenous and powered by her psychosis, Ethel knifes her grandmother in the back, steals the keys to the pantry, and goes hog-wild. But her appetite outruns her sanity, and Ethel takes off on a murder spree.

First she kills for food—grocery boys and the like—but then she starts getting her stab on to cover up her trail of bodies. Eventually she will have to face off with the law, but not before her mind goes completely bye-bye.

Again, here we have a short little film (62 minutes), but Criminally Insane is much better than Satan's Black Wedding. If either of the two films deserves the labeling of "cult classic" it's this one.

This flick is deserving of its title—it is absolutely crazy. The plot is paper-thin, reading something like "the fat girl gets pissed and starts killing people," but that's part of the charm, its minimalism.

As with its companion flick, the same crappy gore effects are in full force. Ethel weaves her mayhem in a variety of ways, from inflicting puncture wounds to bludgeoning with household objects, and the red stuff is all over the place. It's about the same consistency as the other film on this disc: frappe-like. But because Criminally Insane is so out there, the cheapness of the gore supplements the film better than the more straight-arrow Satan's Black Wedding.

This is just a fun, gruesome hour of weirdness.

• Criminally Insane 2

The less I say about this horrible movie the better.

Criminally Insane and Satan's Black Wedding have both been given brand new transfers from the original 35mm elements. That sounds real nice, but the films still don't look that great. The colors are horrible and much of the print is flawed. Sound is just as underwhelming, mixed into a hollow Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo.

Props to Retro Shock-O-Rama for tracking down Nick Phillips for some nice bonus content. He does commentary tracks for both Satan's Black Wedding and Criminally Insanxe, with prompting by Retro operative 42nd St. Pete. Phillips grants three additional interviews, one for each of the first two films, and a third Criminally Insane retrospective with Priscilla Alden. A batch of trailers top off this decent set of extras.

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Genre

• Horror

Scales of Justice, Criminally Insane

Judgment: 80

Perp Profile, Criminally Insane

Studio: Shock-O-Rama Cinema
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 62 Minutes
Release Year: 1975
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks, Criminally Insane

• Director's Commentary
• Interview with the Director
• Retrospective
• Trailers

Scales of Justice, Criminally Insane 2

Judgment: 40

Perp Profile, Criminally Insane 2

Studio: Shock-O-Rama Cinema
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 62 Minutes
Release Year: 1975
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks, Criminally Insane 2

• Interview with the Director
• Trailers

Scales of Justice, Satan's Black Wedding

Judgment: 60

Perp Profile, Satan's Black Wedding

Studio: Shock-O-Rama Cinema
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 62 Minutes
Release Year: 1975
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks, Satan's Black Wedding

• Director's Commentary
• Interview with the Director
• Trailers








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