Trifecta of Horror: American Mary (2012), Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006), Grave Encounters 2 (2012)

American Mary (2012)

Jen and Sylvia Soska, AKA the Twisted Twins, bring us a follow up to their 2009 exploitation flick, Dead Hooker in a Trunk, which couldn’t be any further from their freshman effort in terms of tone, pitch and quality. When we met them at the Monsterfest film festival this year, they said their intention was to create a horror movie that could be watched by people that don’t do horror; and they more or less succeed.

Mary Mason (Katherine Isabelle) is a financially struggling medical student who finds herself wading through a series of extra-curricular activities to pay the bills. Going from stripper to mob doctor before finally settling into the world of body modification, Mary never comes across as the victim, despite the trespasses she suffers against her person.

American Mary is, though it may seem odd to read, a beautiful film. Like The Skin I Live In, the framing of the film contrasts wonderfully with the horrors we witness. The Soskas’ direction raises it above what you come to expect from exploitation/horror films and we can’t wait to see what else they come up with.

Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006)

Two words: Troma Films. If you’ve seen anything from Lloyd Kauffman’s diseased stable, then you know what to expect. Tromaville’s Native American burial ground has been ploughed over to make way for a new fast food restaurant, and it’s deceased inhabitants are none too pleased about it. Billed as a musical horror, Poultrygeist is almost hypnotic with its low budget, copious amounts of gore and Muslim stereotypes that would make Sex and the City 2 blush.

The ‘musical’ numbers stir up memories of Little Shop of Horrors and Meet the Feebles, but are soon forgot about in the last third of the film. However, it’s very hard to care in a film that seems to happily urinate in the wind with regards to convention. When the undead rise, the bucket of blood is somewhat diluted, in a good way, by jokes that remind us of Peter Jackson’s Braindead, and it’s hard not to be swept along and giggle as a chicken zombie strips the flesh from its victim, acknowledging to a fellow fowl that it knows the skin is unhealthy for it.

Strap yourself in with your favourite bottle of liquor and you’ll be in for a blast.

Grave Encounters 2 (2012)

Grave Encounters was a slapdash affair of YouTube videos wrapped around a plot that was so full of holes it may as well have been used for fishing. So is there any reason to return Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital and it’s ghoulish inhabitants? Well, yes in a way.

Like Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, Grave Encounters 2 works on the conceit that the original is a cult horror film that some people believe really happened. Into the arena steps Alex (Richard Harmon), a film student who wants to expose the truth behind the filming of Grave Encounters.

Grave Encounters 2 is very much the same as the previous entry, but there’s just something about it that seems to work in way that didn’t before. The incessant running around corridors and shouting ‘what the fuck?!’ is all present and correct, but first time director John Poliquen keeps it all ticking along at a pace that keeps you genuinely entertained. It’s just a shame the script, written by the original writers/directors the Vicious Brothers, shoots itself in the foot with an ending that falls apart as soon as you pick at the threads.

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