Bridget S. | Marlton, NJ | 02/04/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This whole collection is awful, don't waster your money. My husband and I love "b-horrors" but these collections are the worst of the worst. It looks like a junior-high film project at best and is literally shot in someone's basement. Plus unlike most other "B-horror" movies, it's just boring. Would not recommend even to "b-horror movie" lovers!"
Is it worthy?
HorrorFilms101 | Hollywood, CA | 06/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"So I was bored at work, and having just watched this entire 2 disk set, I decided to divulge some more information for those of you who are apathetically looking at this DVD. And first things first- Most of the films on this disk set are completely independent productions, carrying little experience by those behind the camera. However, I was impressed to find some technically sound achievements, plot twists, and effects. In any light, the talent seems to be split down the middle with 3 worthy movies and three questionable ones. So what can you expect to find in Mental Maniacs compared to quality productions?
Before I Die- This movie follows a "Writer," who must come up with three short stories before dawn; and that about covers the entire film. The rest really isn't worth mentioning, but I'll take a crack at it. The movie opens with a poorly shot, poorly lit, poorly set-up scenario as the "writer" endlessly talks to himself until he comes up with an idea for a story. In the first tale, a rather large lady (at least by Hollywood's standards) seems to be able to seduce a great amount of young men with poor acting skills. Yet, it's the lust of another poor acting man who really wants her, yet she's not interested in her own kind. Instead she sleeps with everyone else, while this poor guy endlessly stalks her and forces himself to wait for her to become "available." Yet his lust leads him into a miscalculated situation as he finds out that this lady isn't who he thought she was. The second story; "The Last Resort" implies when you should watch this film. It's about a couple who go on a retreat to a haunted resort. The plot is slow, acting is terrible, and was basically an attempt to tie together a beautiful shooting location with soft-core visuals. Too bad they didn't do the location justice. The third story involves a woman who's captured by some crazed killer, but if I have to be honest, I wasn't really paying attention by this point in the film. Overall you've got plenty of bare butt shots, very little acting skills, little gore, poor musical composition, and dialog that were written by an elementary school graduate. It probably ties for the worst film on the set.
Crawlspace- Needless to say I wasn't expecting much from this movie, but after watching it, I was blown away when compared to the first one. It lacks the style and luster of a professional production, but reminded me of Saw on a low budget scale. This movie follows some guy who ends up trapped in a crawlspace by a psycho killer. The killer claims to be the director of a reality show, that's truly about reality; with death being a very undeniable possibility. There are no actors, and no second chances. So the main character must then complete a number of diabolically sinister random tasks, and if he completes them all at the end of the third day he is set free. Needless to say that the plot is pretty fiery and the movie keeps a thrilling pace. There was definitely a great deal of unpredictable moments. The direction could use a little bit of work though, and I found some of the camera-work to be highly rudimentary. The overall tone of the piece came across really well in the dim lighting and grainy camera picture. Although the film didn't come across as a masterpiece, the writer behind the movie is a genius. The dialog is witty and thick with suspense. The verbal battles between characters are intense, and the events as they unfold really terrifying. The concepts behind the plot get thicker and more horrid as time moves on. The characters seem alive as they become more defined, grow and change over the course of the film. I didn't understand the ending fully, but it left my imagination run wild, and was definitely a thinker movie. Overall, I must say this renewed my interest in this set and this film alone made me feel like I got my money's worth. The acting was realistic, the music was correctly set to amplify mood, the gore was present and tasteful, and the dialog was fantastic.
Drawing Blood- So now I was in a good mood, but this movie set me back a giant step. The movie's basically about an escaped mental patient who takes refuge in this one guy's basement and the hunt for him by some detectives who wish they were on Law and Order. The movie ends up being 60% soft-core and 40% soap opera. The acting is staged and the dialog seems forced. There were a few interesting parts that held my attention maybe during 2% of the entire film. There was little else to the movie, except an interesting plot twist at the very end, but entirely predictable. One thing that sticks out in my mind is the few death scenes that encompass entirely unrealistic scenarios with even more unrealistic results. I don't know if they were trying to be funny or original, but either way, it killed the movie from my standpoint. Overall, I felt that the direction was poor, tough you got your fill of bare butts and corny death scenes. The acting was in dire need of a worthy script along with the entire plot in general, unless you need something to help you get to sleep at night. The SPFX artists should go back to school along with most of the crew. The music seemed to fail when the actors needed it most, and believe me, at times they needed it. But the faults were more in the script and direction rather than in talent.
Mayhem Motel- And once again I wasn't expecting much from this film. Especially after reading the back panel that says; "expect anything from vomiting, to spanking, to stabbing..." Ok then. So what's the movie about? It took me a while to figure it out, but the plot is actually pretty tight. We follow a number of characters as they stay at this whore-house and try to fulfill their disgusting fantasies with underpaid actresses acting as hookers. It was basically a perverse indy film outlining people with sexual disabilities. The reason I liked the plot was because at times, it was interesting to see how these people would be connected and just how their night would develop in the end. But I must say that most of the dialog between characters is similar to listening in on your drunken friends at 3 a.m. And a few scenes are exaggerated beyond all reason, which will cause a high degree of wear on your fast-foreword button. Overall, the movie was middle of the road. The acting was slightly above "obviously faking it," the direction seemed to work out, the plot held together for the most part, the music was somewhat interesting, and there was a good deal of tasteless nudity. The gore was undeveloped, at best. Most of the movie was pretty perverse with toilet humor, but if you like that kind of stuff, it'd be worth watching.
High Desert- I actually skipped "Matthew" to watch this one first. I was hoping that the thin plot would make give more time for the creators to develop other areas, like dialog and direction. And it seems like they did to a degree. The film is about a crazed biker, who goes on a murderous rampage against some local campers after loosing to one of them in a few billiard games. That's what all prideful crazed bikers do when they're bored right? So he decides to go murder them all, but one of his groupies has something to say about that and tries to talk him down. Needless to say, they eventually end up shooting each other as one fights for evil and the other for good. Believe it or not, the creators actually made the plot work and seem entirely believable. The dialog wasn't anything spectacular, but I think it worked well enough. The real power came in through the acting, which actually was mid-level. The film as a whole still moved somewhat sluggish at times, but there was a good amount of tension throughout. The scenes did seem forced, but after the last movie, I gave it the benefit of the doubt. The real score was in the plot twists that proved the creator's IQ was above 75. It was coherently edited, and I'd say worth watching. Overall you get a decent movie, with decent acting, decent direction, and decent sound. The dialog could use some work, but was at least understandable. The music was haphazardly placed, but it didn't bother me too much and I kept in mind that this is an independent film. The gore came across very well and it looks like they had a trained FX artist on board, as well as some trained camera-men. Needless to say, it's a movie I would consider watching again.
Matthew- Well, I saw that this was created late 80's and I figured it had to be pretty decent, because the technology was only available to people with money back then. So I start watching only to realize that this had to be a studio production. It was entirely Hollywood material. The story follows a young boy (Matthew) who kills his father and ends up having his arm severely wounded in the process. Years later he ends up with a hook-like utensil for a hand, and he becomes entirely fixated on his mother. It draws on the lines of Psycho where mother is God in the eyes of a child. So he becomes possessive and doesn't want any men getting close to his mother. But she doesn't understand, and soon meets her maker. Matthew runs away only to fall for a prostitute, in which he would kill impress her, and kill to keep her to himself; not to mention capture her as his personal female doll. It's truly a real, complicated plot that pans out like a Hitchcockian film. In fact, if this had been released in the 60's it would've been a classic. There was a lot of good camera movements, angles, lighting and so forth. The movie sometimes really sparks your imagination and the direction is superb. The acting is B-list (by today's standards), but what you'd expect from an 80's movie. The movie is very tasteful and there is no gore where it doesn't belong. The dialog is copious and believable, and no doubt came from a talented writer. It's really a shame that this movie has been hidden in the dark for so long. The only problem with it, is that it moves at the same pace as Psycho, which is great for the first time around, but boring the second time through. Overall, it sets the mood for a classic film. The acting, dialog, direction, and editing are all classic. The story is thick and twisted leaving parts unpredictable, while others treat you with suspense as they lead to future events. The music was composed and edited in by a pro and completely rivals other productions of the same time period. The gore was space, yet fitting, and very tasteful. This film made me feel like I got a steal of a deal.
So overall, here's what I figure from worst to best;
-Before I Die
You definitely will value the last two films, and those alone are worth the money. It was definitely an interesting compilation of low-talent, to high-talents, and low-budgets, to production-budgets. If you're a Psycho fan, a slasher movie fan, or just in the mood for a way to pass the time, this would be a great set to own. Just incase you were wondering.....