Thursday, 20 June 2013

August Underground Trilogy - Part 1

Its not often curiosity gets the better of me. I'm not a person to give in just because a film has a hype. Not many films get the same controversy as the August Underground Trilogy. When I first heard of it, I was skeptical given the way people described it. "no plot, lots of violence". It's pretty off-putting when even the most open minded horror fans describe it this way. I figured it must be pretty nasty, given the story that while Fred Vogel was travelling to Canada with copies of the films, they were seized and he was kept in a cell for 10 hours before they dropped the charges. On reading another person's review lately (you can read Dani Carnage's review HERE!) I thought sod it, got a copy and went for it.

August Underground: 

First things first, there is no plot. That is true, the film follows two killers. One behind the camera who we never see, only hear his sick giggles of enjoyment and excitement. The second killer played by Fred Vogel who also produced, wrote and directed the film is the star of the show and despite him playing a complete psychopath he's actually oddly likable in the same way as we all love Captain Spaulding in The Devil's Rejects. The film is highly degraded, like it was watched a lot, gives it that hush hush feeling about it. Like its been passed about by friends and collegues then discussed in hushed whispers. I love this! The authentic feeling that this is a well kept secret only the hardcore horror fans are privy to. Sound is pretty good. It's to be expected that the sound would be as distorted as the visuals but its actually quite clear. Now for the gory details, literally. Actually, August underground is not as shocking and gory as i'd come to expect. However, the effects are stunning. If I didn't know better I'd have questioned if it was in fact a truly authentic snuff.

Now I know I said this was absent of a true plot, the reason is it's supposed to be real. I'm yet to see a home movie with a well written story and strategically placed plot devices. This isn't Hollywood, this is raw underground with a shoe string budget. I wonder exactly how much was written in a professional script or if most of it was ad-libbed. The conversations seem natural. Clearly, Fred and his co-star are friends in real life. Their dynamics as a duo are spectacular. Just another thing to add to its realistic feel. There is also a lot of mundane shots, them being jokers in a store before turning on the customers by assaulting and humiliating them. Going to see bands play in local clubs, before being kicked out for fighting, just messing around together and with friends. While they can't seem to go anywhere without causing some sort of trouble they're pretty normal apart from the naked women and dead bodies in their basement.

To say I enjoyed this film would make me look pretty sick. There's no way a sane person can enjoy August Underground. Instead I feel impressed, I didn't "like" it but the film was so well done I have a great respect for all involved. Vogel definitely has talent. What I thought would just be a pure endurance film turned out to be a whole lot more. Dig deep enough you can see this may be missing the important factors like story and coherence but instead it's a character study through the eyes of a serial killer.

I am glad I was persuaded to give it a go. I had completely misjudged it, shame on me!!

Next up.... August Underground's Mordum.

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