The Polonia Brothers Strike Again
Robert I. Hedges | 08/31/2010
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD contains two Polonia Brothers masterworks, "Holla! If I Kill You" and "Peter Rottentail." It's a better value than buying the films independently, and is a representative introduction to the micro-budget films of Mark and John Polonia. I am a fan of small-budget independent films, and am actually very sympathetic to the plight of filmmakers trying to make films as cheaply as possible. I love the classic films of Ray Dennis Steckler and Ed Wood, for instance, but also like more obscure grade-Z wonders like the early J. R. Bookwalter films. If you want to see a more representative (and cheaper) series of films by Mark and John Polonia, I recommend the bargain-priced four DVD set titled "Galaxy of Terror" before buying this two movie set.
I actually bought this DVD for "Peter Rottentail," but watched "Holla! If I Kill You" first. Unlike some of their unintentionally hilarious but always dreadful films (e.g. "Preylien: Alien Predators," "The Dinosaur Chronicles," etc.,) "Holla!" sets out to be both funny and scary and succeeds at neither. You can make an interesting movie on a low budget, and while I didn't expect high art from the Brothers Polonia I didn't expect something this dreadful either.
The story follows a comedian, Hollaback (Mike Troy Smith, whose comedy act revolves around endlessly yelling the word "Holla!" at the bored audience,) who was once at the top of the game, but now can't get a laugh and is constantly booed offstage. He has the worst act in history, and he becomes jealous of more popular comedians like Michael Africa (Kareem Green.) These comics and the people surrounding them start being murdered, and despite the total lack of tension, the movie wants us to suspect Holla, even though Holla's creepy, clingy, stalking would-be girlfriend Rose (Mia Davis) is the only person in a position to actually commit the crimes, a point that gets painfully obvious at the end of the film, yet the filmmakers persist with the illusion of suspense.
The acting is beyond terrible (Davis is particularly dreadful as Rose,) the comedy material is almost unwatchable, and the murders are unscary and provide the unintentional comedy of the film. While I didn't expect much from this, I thought it might be amusing as a budding camp classic, but some bad movies are too bad to be good and this is definitely one of them. "Holla!" will make you scream for mercy.
What do you get when you put the Polonia Brothers, Executive Producer Ron Bonk, and an audibly flatulent magician's rabbit together and make a movie? Sadly this isn't a joke (well, I guess it is in a way,) but rather an introduction to "Peter Rottentail."
While "Peter Rottentail" is definitely better than "Holla! If I Kill You," it is still beyond bad, though it does have great title for a horror spoof. The film starts off with the world's worst magician (curiously, both these films detail the lives of performers who are terrible at their respective crafts) and his gassy carrot-eating friend being repeatedly booed by children at a birthday party. So distraught is he that he commits suicide, coming back as Peter Rottentail (John Polonia) to haunt those who mocked him. The plot is pretty thin: killer rabbit chases humans and kills them with laughable special effects. There were many grating things about this film, not the least of which was the soundtrack's endlessly repeated instrumental music. Perhaps the single most irritating part of the viewing experience, though, is the onomatopoeic "boing, boing, boing" sound effect repeated every single time the killer bunny hops. It was mildly amusing the first few hundred times, but then it wears out its welcome.
Typical of Polonia Brothers fashion, the acting is extremely poor, the dialogue is ridiculous, and the horror movie is not horrifying. At all. I do give them a credit for trying to enter the world of satire, which can be extremely difficult to do well. There are many filmmakers who have risen from obscurity and have become greats, there are many more who made low-budget films that were not well made in a conventional sense but which were so startlingly unique that they have a very loyal group of fans (such as the late, great Ray Dennis Steckler, or the dark and utterly bizarre Coleman Francis.) Perhaps the Polonia Brothers will one day be cult director heroes of some sort as well. "Peter Rottentail" is a laughably bad film that's part comedic spoof and part cleaver-wielding splatter film. It doesn't succeed at either, but it's better than most of the Polonia catalogue (not that that's an endorsement, mind you.)"