Mindwarping Unbelievable Incomprehensible Mess - YEAAAAH!!!!
frankenberry | Los Angeles, CA USA | 12/07/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Doris Wishman's ultra-rare horror flick A NIGHT TO DISMEMBER finally resurfaces after years of out-of-print obscurity. This was her final film and man is it a mess of epic proportions ---- a great mess, though! A woman is released from an asylum and murders start occurring --- is she responsible? God only knows! The ineptitude and incoherency is so intense that your mind will boggle --- a narrator tries to explain everything as the film progresses, but he just makes things even more nonsensical, blurting names left and right and babbling on about past incidents that make no sense whatsoever. He also explains characters' motivations because the actors can't project them themselves. The film appears to have been shot without sound so all the voices were dubbed in later (and they don't match) as well as some dubbed in hilarious sound effects. There's quite a bit of blood and over-the-top gore and nudity, too! Music cuts in and out randomly, editing is primitive, some shots are repeated for "emotional impact" and the whole thing is just a giant mess. And it's one of the best messes ever put on film!This new DVD from Elite is a welcome and very unexpected release --- but there was no hype, no promotion, no nuthin'. Come on, Elite, there should have been TV commercials and headline stories touting this DVD's release! Oh well. The poor film suffered the same fate on it's very rare VHS release years ago from MPI which probably only sold 10 copies. Anyway, how's the disc? Well, the film is presented letterboxed, but it appears to be faux widescreen (as Elite does on their Drive-in discs) and just mattes part of the image out for no reason except to be "widescreen". While some of it looks well-composed this way, other parts seem pretty tight (especially in the close-up gore scenes). Overall, still a very decent presentation and not something to get too upset about. There's a "trailer" which is really the original 'promo reel' used to sell the picture and contains some alternate and unused footage with different actors and a stupid on-screen narrator. It's not in the best of shape, but is interesting nonetheless. Best of all is a fun commentary track by Doris herself (!!!) and her cinematographer C. Davis Smith. Doris and "Chuck" have worked together and known each other for years so they rag on each other a lot. Doris keeps yelling at Chuck and Chuck keeps making fun of and spewing derisive comments about the film. It's all in "fun" and the two have a good time together. And it's great to hear Doris talk about her trademark elements such as the "walking feet" shots --- she shoots those just so that the editor will have something to use between shots if necessary. Wow! Doris also mentions that she would make another film if she could raise the dough --- please someone give this woman some MONEY!!!!!"
Rare Wishman film on DVD with a D.W. commentary!!!
Christopher J. Jarmick | Seattle, Wa. USA | 01/18/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My fave Doris Wishman films are Nudes on the Moon and Deadly Weapons. She's a tough New Yorker who loves to make movies and starting in the early 1960's she scraped a few dollars together, went into a nudist colony and started making movies. She's an extremely prolific film-maker of dozens of no-budget absolutely awful movies that a lot of us absolutely love. She's the exploitation queen and she wisely came up with some of the cleverest innovative ideas to make movies cheap cheap cheap. Over the years she improved as a film-maker.Doris' Night to Dismember was barely released in 1983 and then had a quiet video release and disappeared. It's a gory horror film and Doris doesn't particularly like horror films. The movie once upon a time probably made sense but 40 to 60 percent of the original negative was destroyed by a film-lab technician who was upset the company was going under and he was losing his job. He didn't have a beef with Wishman but her film got partially destroyed. So using alternate takes and some stock footage, Doris took over eight months reconstructing the film as best she could.The result is an incomprehensible mess of a gory horror film that features former porn star (not the singer) Samantha Fox in her first (and only) legitimate starring role. The film has some pretty effective low budget gore effects. In fact the film is very very gory with lots of axe murders. You get some of Doris' trademarks but not quite as many as with other films. While you get the occassional strange insert shot, there's not the long shots of ashtrays to cover up mistakes or allow for the dubbed actors to finish a line that are part of some of her other films. You will see a small staircase used several times in a row as if it was a much longer stair-case and you will see lots of shots of feet, and several repeat close-ups.The film was shot European style aka without sound and all dialogue music and effects were dubbed later. Actually the dubbing was done pretty well (for a Doris W. film anyway).What makes this DVD a real keeper though is the commentary with Doris and the cameraman who made 17 films with her throughout the 60's, 70's and early 1980's. Doris and her camereman tease and insult each other and in between talk a little bit about this and some other films Doris has made. If you're a Wishman fan buy this... if you aren't, be sure to rent it before buying it but I suspect if you're a fan of Ed Wood, Ray Dennis Steckler, Phil Tucker or Ron Ormond films you'll want to have a few Wishman films in your collection as well. Christopher Jarmick, is the author of The Glass Cocoon with Serena F. Holder a critically acclaimed, steamy suspense thriller."
Watch it for the commentary, it's priceless!
Alan Mora | Chicago, IL | 02/10/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the last films made by the late great Doris Wishman and it is probablly the most technically inept of all of her films. No one truly expects to see stunning cinematography from a Doris Wishman flick but the choppiness of this movie almost made me seasick! Doris explains, in the director's commentary on the disc, that this film was made entirely from out takes and footage from some of her previous films due to the fact that the original negatives were destroyed. There is little to no actual dialogue in this movie other than that of the narrator and, as is typical in a Wishman film, we see many shots of the sky, feet and other inanimate objects.
The commentary track on this DVD is PRICELESS. It is a rare occassion to actually hear Doris Wishman comment on her films but when you throw in "Chuck" (the man who operated the camera for 17 of Wishman's films) it makes for a highly entertaining segment. Doris hurls insults at Chuck left and right and he plays the "Dummy" very well. At first, the viewer might be thrown off by this and might perceive Doris as a real Witch with a capital B but after awhile you come to realize that this is all a game and that their entire relationship is based on teasing each other. I would recommend watching the movie with the commentary track on first in order to find out if the movie is truly your cup of tea or not. If nothing else, you'll hear some very entertaining one liners from the Queen of Exploitation and her trusty sidekick."