Monday, September 6

Should Read "One of the Luckiest Zombie Films in Decades" - BoGD

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Some living twenty-tweens face off against "zombified" twenty-tweens that defy the laws of decomposition by becoming Olympic track runners upon death...whoopie and such...I wonder how much I'll get paid if I gave this a good review...well, I guess that shipped has sailed...

I think I've touched on this before here, but there comes a time when every horror fan learns to give the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the genre's indie output. There's only so much of the domestic mainstream one can consume before they find themselves brave enough to dip their toes into the bloody undertow of productions that cost less than a Hollywood catering table. In the process, some trade-offs are usually incurred, and accepting them help the viewer develop a better critical view. While many casual moviegoers tend to balk at an entire feature if even one aspect rubs them the wrong way, the versed perspective one gains from daring to trend upon independent material, even gory trash, is a component of growth in becoming a passionate film fan.

That said, I've seen enough no-budget zombie outings from the last few years to appreciate Automaton Transfusion for what it is. Shot in just nine days for the starting price of a Nissan Maxima, Steven Miller should be commended for pulling together a coherent seventy-five feature regardless of genre. That doesn't mean it was necessarily a good idea to rush the task. Miller's film is indistinguishable from the glut of indies that flooded the landscape after DV along with pro editing software became cheap and feasible on your average PC. Sure, there is some splattery gore, but nothing inventive or exceeding what we've all seen in more enjoyable cheapies. This is where dumb luck arises and Automaton Transfusion appears to have a Midas touch far greater than any other film of its ilk that I can think of.

The film received this glowing review from Bloody Disgusting. Now, I'm unsure what Mr. Miska was smoking at the time, but could I have some? He deems it, which the back cover uses as a pull quote, "the Holy Grail of “true” independent horror films." So I'm guessing this feature stands with the likes of Night of the Living Dead, Halloween, The Evil Dead, and The Blair Witch Project? OOOkkkayyy. Regardless, that review left the horror public justifiably itching to see Automaton Transfusion. The trailer is also annoyingly high on itself. Automaton Transfusion is apparently this generation's horror film that defines the culture. I'm not saying indie horror shouldn't strive for greatness, but falsely selling to that extent will create a well-deserved backlash. Snake Oil Transfusion is more like it...

The two Bloody Disgusting quotes the DVD uses, along with calling it a "masterpiece [that] shockingly redefines the zombie genre", simply makes horror fans seem absolutely stupid to outsiders. When did we get so dumbed down to hail such slapdash, mundane jaunts with our beloved flesheaters so ridiculously high? I'm unsure if the late, great Chas Balun ever saw this flick, but it wouldn't be a stretch to say he would keep it sweet and say "fuck it." If I was to rattle off superior living dead indies; Colin, Plaga Zombie: Mutant Zone, Dance of the Dead, The Dead Hate the Living, Meat Market, and even the last two Return of the Living Dead installments are more deserving of an evening in.          

On top of this jerk off session, out of all the fresh genre product to arrive yearly, Dimension's new "Extreme" sublabel picked up Miller's debut for video distribution. Out of all the injustices horror has faced in recent years, this is perhaps the most egregious. Forget Trick 'r Treat being shelved and unceremoniously cast off onto disc, Paranormal Activity not seeing the light of day until Mr. Spielberg came along, or the aforementioned Colin still languishing in North American distro limbo. The simple fact this much-ballyhooed wafer of undead nothingness received the privilege of sitting on Best Buy, Wal Mart, and Blockbuster shelves nationwide seems almost criminal.

But these aren't the only gripes. Either by boneheaded design or one hell of a mistake, Automaton Transfusion's DVD transfer is plagued with image ghosting. The entire feature has an off-putting choppy appearance to any on-screen or camera movement. It's like an incredibly bad PAL-to-NTSC standards conversion. Unwatchable. The faked 2.35:1 scope transfer also isn't anamorphically enhanced for widescreen displays, despite the back cover stating so, making the feature look all the more cheap. So that makes the feature and disc not worth the two bucks I paid at a yard sale. I had no idea why the guy was selling it, but now I know full well...     


5 comments:

sleep said...

I fast forwarded through most of this one. A terrible movie, and not even good-terrible.

Bloody Disgusting is a joke. Over the past few years, it's gone from readable to downright awful. I know the guy running it wants to make a living but his shilling for certain movies and film companies is so transparent, it's ridiculous. I stopped reading after the he spent months hyping yet another Rob Zombie movie, only to reluctantly give it a negative review, without trying to badmouth it too much. That whole site doesn't have a shred of credibility left, sadly.

Soiled Sinema said...

I fully agree with sleep in regards to Bloody Disgusting and your review of Automaton Transfusion. This was without a shred of a doubt, the final nail in the zombie films coffin for me. I can't stomach any more DIY undead films without flashing back to this sordid affair.

-mAQ

Starmummy said...

I bought this at my company's annual book/dvd sale for $1. Haven't watched it yet though it sounds like I should have saved my dollar.

The Film Connoisseur said...

Wow, thank the movie gods I skipped this one. The poster looks cool, but that happens a lot with films like this, they make a great poster to make you fall for it.

And that Bloodydisgusting review must have come from a friend of the filmmakers or something no doubt.

Thanks for taking one for the team!

Cory from SLAUGHTER FILM said...

My cousin gave this movie to me as an afterthought last Christmas last year as he giggled and said that it wasn't good. I copied it to a dvd-r and sold it, but now that you've reviewed it i am suddenly interested in it's terrible.

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