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Slash--Down Home Bloodshed

 article about Current movie reviews
Poor Richard's Almanac never covered THIS sort of thing....

Slash

Rating **1/2
R
2002
Directed by Neal Sundstrom


Adam Woolf .... Young Mac
Danny Keogh .... Jethro
Milan Murray .... Karen
Guy Raphaely .... Ray
Wild Coast Film Pty. Ltd

DVD

This
one starts off with a bang - a sickle goes across screen viewer's
perspective and shatters the image with a breaking glass noise sound
effect.

Spanish only subtitles. Special features: trivia game, and trailers of Slash, Lawless Heart, and Purpose.

It's
an idyllic summer day, and you're a ten-year-old country boy, out
playing in the barn with your music box. Okay, so a REAL ten-year-old
country boy wouldn't be caught dead playing with a music box. But it
looks seriously creepy - a farmer with a huge sickle menacing some
livestock - so you can at least suspend some disbelief here. And it
also plays "Old MacDonald," which happens to be YOUR last name, so it's
okay.

Grandpa wheels in a big cart and takes it to the back of
the barn, where you know you're not supposed to go. And with good
reason - seems Grandpa's been pretty busy.

Busy KILLING, that is! Corpses! Corpses EVERYWHERE! And he's DRAINING THEIR BLOOD!

Isn't
this a keen little picture -- Little Timmy's whittling and enjoying his
new-fangled music box and Farmer John's busy sucking the blood out of
human corpses in the barn. Think there's a "Trespassers will be
Exsanguinated" sign on his property somewhere?

Fast forward
about twenty years to Ray, one of our first victims, and his girlfriend
off to a costume party. Ray naturally crashes the car.... by almost
hitting a cow in the middle of the road.

A COW in the road!
Sweet mercy, what's next? Where's the banjo player? Who's going to be
telling whom they've "got a purty mouth?"

Who's gonna be squealing, like a pig, by the end of the movie?

They just rewrote Deliverance as a horror flick. Can you believe it?

Ray
makes the most of being crashed in a cornfield and goes to drain the
lizard. Whilst draining he notices a scarecrow in the cornfield but
seems to miss the HUMAN SKULL underneath the scarecrow's hat. Ray and
his girlfriend are soon killed by a scythe, much like the one on top of
little MacDonald's music box. Hmmm.

And then a rock band takes its lead singer back to the farm.

Seriously.
That's what happens! The lead singer gets a sudden note from a fellow
in an ill-fitting suit that looks strangely like Jake Busey (forget it,
folks, it's NOT Jake Busey!) telling him that his mother has died and
the funeral is back on the old family farm. Keep an eye on this for the
next couple minutes it's actually very important to the rest of the
film.

Get a black guy on a farm in a horror flick and it can get
really nasty, as we discover when the band hits the farm. But even
nastier is our Jake Busey lookalike with the terminally country name of
Billy Bob, who appears carrying a chicken in one arm and covered from
head to toe in chicken blood. The reunion between father and son
MacDonald isn't much better.

Soon, our much-ballyhooed funeral
takes place, and a mystery woman shows up to scream about "harvests of
blood" and "the devil returning" and all the standard stock phrases
that horror schlock loves to scream when it's busily taking itself
seriously.

Our musicians suddenly begin dying off in various and
alarming ways, and strangely, our young MacDonald doesn't seem to mind
very much, taking on a role at the farm and beginning to enjoy it by
the looks of things. The deaths all come at the hands of our familiar
scythe-toting scarecrow lookalike - who's behind it all?

In
the midst of the killings, we learn about a little secret of the
MacDonald family farm - the "harvest of blood" we heard about before
isn't a metaphor. No it is in fact an actual agricultural technique.
They apply BLOOD to their field to make the vegetables grow better. And
it's not a little blood nor is it animal blood. It's HUMAN BLOOD.

Can
you believe this? Farmer John back in the beginning was bleeding people
dry so he could get bigger yams! These MacDonalds are pure nuts.

There's
a truly impressive scene where our last few survivors are trying to
escape from a grain threshing machine, and the MacDonalds besides. It's
surprisingly intense for a B-grade horror flick like this, and I'm
impressed with its addition.

The ending gets twisty on a scale
not so readily seen in B-grade horror, with more than a few strange
surprises. I won't give them all away, but suffice it to say, a lot of
people will give you a lot of surprises. There's a little music video
from the surviving musicians, whose group is, incidentally, called
"Slash". And this one's a pip, folks enjoy heartily.

And LAUGH. It's funny. You haven't heard any song so funny lately as the chorus on this unintentional laugh-riot.

So
really, Slash isn't a bad little piece. Sure, it's schlock. It's packed
to the gills with schlock. But the ending is quite a surprise.







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