Friday, May 22
A.K.A. Scum of the Earth
Directed by S.F. Brownrigg
84 Minutes / Magnum Entertainment VHS (bootleg) /Cropped from 1.85:1 to full screen
A couple arrive at cabin retreat and not three minutes in the husband is axed to death sending his wife (Norma Moore) screaming into the woods. She comes upon a peculiar backwoods family and reluctantly stays having few options as night falls. The greasy man-of-the-house starts drinking and tensions begin flaring. But when the man's son shows up dead on their porch after trying to get help; the recent widow finds herself in perhaps even more peril than if she had braved the woods.
Yea, this is about 15% horror and 85% drama. Brownrigg wastes no time with the opening stinger, but soon smashes into a brickwall of patently stereotypical hicksploitation. Now, this wouldn't be bad at all, except the acting is surprisingly decent from everyone. This quality elevates the proceedings beyond the trappings of a traditional exploiter and ultimately dooms the viewer to draggy scenes of dramatic tension. It doesn't work, especially with the trite good ol' boy atmosphere, and the reveal of the killer feels pulled more from a soap than what this breed of flick should snap into. Brownrigg does a good job exceeding expectations in the wrong direction.
I noted this is a bootleg above, so here's the story. I purchased this tape off Amazon's Marketplace from a seller in good-standing who advertised it as "like new." Despite the big box being in amazing shape--the tape has to be a bootleg. The most obvious sign is the piss-poor inkjet label, but the cassette looks and feels like a blank tape in a four pack from Wal Mart. At the original '85 release of this Magnum VHS, cassettes were heavier in hand and seemed sturdier than nowadays. I e-mailed the seller and he swore up and down it was original, claiming it was a later release from Magnum when they were shutting down. Yeah right.
VHS Picture: 5/10
VHS Sound: 4/10