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The Bride Of Frank
cast: Frank Meyer, John Kolendriski, Eric Kaplan, Bruce Finkel, and Chick Carter

director: Escalpo Don Balde
(alias Steve Ballot)

87 minutes (18) 1996
Scream House DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 1/10
reviewed by Paul Higson
I followed my viewing of The Hollywood Strangler Meets The Skid Row Slasher with a second Scream House release, something made more recently, Escalpo Don Balde's debut feature The Bride Of Frank. Thank the heavens I only ruined one evening and not two days with this double bill of despicable crap. The Bride Of Frank is shot on video so the image was never going to be that clever, but it the colour is washed out by what appears to be copying across a generation or two before some hack job of a transference, and the quality could not be shoddier if I had gone for a pirated copy at a film fair. This detestable film takes a genuine street bum and makes him the star of a feature film. Unlike some of those bum war and wino wipe-out fight movies that have been disgusting sane people worldwide this film purports to respect its top billed street person but the truth is that this is no than the obnoxious abuse of a vulnerable man. He appears to be on the wagon but is slow-witted and brain addled. The staccato editing is because Frank is unable to memorise dialogue and is clearly fed most of lines one at a time. Sometimes he is unintelligible, but they rarely risk his mouth getting it right or being understood and he is subtitled through most of the film.

It is not exploitation at its nadir, for that you would have to go back to the bum fight films, but it comes close. There are plenty, cast and crew, willingly complicit in his degradation. Frank gives as good as he gets. He warns the people that wrong him that he is going to kill them and how he is going to kill them, apparently doing this since his mother told him that it made murder right. He has been given a job by his friendly but psychotic employers and wants a woman to go with it, or at least the tits, the only part of a woman he appears to be interested in. An advertisement placed in the paper by his friends brings a plethora of female comeliness, and one transsexual, most of who fail to leave the offices alive.

One respondent to the small ad phones him and treats him to a telephone sex routine t hat leads to one of the few outright laughs, though the terrible joke is yet another jab at Frank, corresponding her sexual nous to his slow-wittedness. She places a hand between her legs and admits to touching herself and asks him if he is doing the same. The camera cuts to Frank on the other end of the line as he tells her that he is, while poking himself in the forehead with a forefinger. Frank simply does not get it, and it is likely that the misunderstanding is genuine and too funny to waste. It is appalling and troubling. The dialogue is fast and furious, a stream of sulphuric invective and grim abuse. There is intelligence at home here but it is a knowledge that is debased. They should be dropping this DVD with the US Army friendly food packages in war torn landscapes as a portrait of the beautiful country that is liberating them. Scream House will likely delight in my repellence. They have collected this arse-load of releases for some unfathomable reason. Presumably because the films are stupid and cheap and Scream House thinks the UK audience is made up of enough sick morons to affect a profit on this unpleasant bilge. The Scream House releases make Shock Horror 2000 look slick while giving Troma an air of class. I am reminded of rushed rubbish like Disgusting Space Worms Eat Everyone, My Lovely Burnt Brother And His Squashed Head and Violent Shit, video dross that crept into the UK illegally but, ex post facto, have put a positive spin on the censorship of the 1980s and 1990s when it prevented crass rubbish like this hitting the shelves for a decade. What is to stop it now though? Me? If a sewage workers' Christmas party is right up your street and the tacky amateur no-value nonsense that came of the video-cam devolutionary age, then take your brain and its sling and your pocket money to this. Hopefully we are a nation than will just scratch our heads at the pointless prolongation of nastiness and learn quickly to turn our backs on more of the same. Painful.

This disc includes a more professionally put together 20 minute horror short called Cut, which aspires to be ironic. It is well mounted and performed and the uncredited director will likely go onto bigger things, unlike most that come through the Scream House gates, but the image quality, again, makes it look like it has been pirated. There are trailers for Catwalk Cannibals, China White Serpentine, Shatter Dead and Sixteen Tongues, all of which look like video shoots and most of with all the appearance of having been shot in a garage. I want nothing more to do with it. It doesn't deserve another word from me. Absolute shite! Name-check me on that, Scream House!
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