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Video Violence +
Video Violence 2

casts: Steven Emory, Rachel Emory, Bart Sumner, William Toddie, and Paul Kaye

director: Gary P. Cohen

175 minutes (n/r) 1987
Camp Motion Pictures DVD Region 1 retail

RATING: 3/10
reviewed by Gary McMahon
Direct-to-video horror films really came into their own during a brief period in the 1980s, when it seemed that every home either owned a video or desired one. It was a cheap method of getting films made, and more importantly, getting them seen without the means of a cinema deal.

These two films were produced by the same team, directed by the same man, and star mostly the same cast (an obscure bunch of actors, most of whom barely even warrant a reference on the IMDb). They are both presented here in handsome packaging, and a nice array of extras - if you like this kind of thing.

Video Violence is rare in this small field in that it actually has a coherent plot. A hapless video store clerk finds an unidentifiable tape in the mail slot one morning when he arrives at work. With his boss, Art (Steven Emory), he sits down to watch the tape, assuming it's someone's homemade porn that got put in the wrong box.

The tape actually shows two men performing a murder. Art goes for the local sheriff (William Toddie) while his assistant locks himself in the store, in case the owners of the tape return to claim it. When he returns to his business, Art discovers that both the tape and his junior have vanished.

More killings follow, and Art and his wife Jackie (Rachel Emory) attempt to solve the mystery. Along the way (and I'm not really spoiling anything here; the film is too badly done to provide any genuine tension), they discover that their town is filled with amateur snuff filmmakers. The violence is quite extreme, the effects basic, and there's a nastiness underlying events that leaves a slightly bad taste. But everyone involved seems to think they're making a proper film, and the production benefits from that enthusiasm. One or two performances seem to belong in a better film, and the script is surprisingly coherent. In a charitable mood, I might even claim that this film predicts the recent torture porn craze, predating films like Hostel and Captive by two decades.

The flimsy sequel, Video Violence 2, doesn't seem to know what to do with itself, and settles for being an extreme horror version of Kentucky Fried Movie. Random scenes of violence are interspersed by the prattling of Howard (Bart Sumner) and Eli (the oddly named Uke), two of the original killers from the first film, gleefully hosting a public access television show. Where the original showed slight promise, this sequel is just silly. It's fun but silly, and again, a little bit too nasty for its own good.
NEXT

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