HACK JOB is an independent horror anthology that is upfront and we are told what to expect in the theme song “Welcome to the movie thank you for watching it. We can’t promise a plot, but there’s a lot of Gore and Tits. Here is the rough outline it goes something like this. James and Mike get one hell of a script. That script has three stories that you will not want to miss.” Afterwards the song continues with synopses of the three stories. Most notable are the lines “We hope to offend. We love controversy. There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” If nothing else James Balsamo serves up some brutal honesty and a fun send up of the indy horror scene. The vignettes are as follows.
Tomb of the SS:
A group finds a long lost tomb and the Nazis want what is inside. The expedition leader betrayed the protagonist’s (for want of a better word) father and then betrays the protagonist as well. All to Nazis. Naziploitation….check. Luckily enough a Soviet soldier who crash landed nearby comes in to save the day. Other highlights include cars driving on the freeway in the background of the isolated dig site in…Mumbai…
Earth is on the Menu:
An alien falls to earth in a typical space rock and begins possessing the people it comes across until a final showdown during a battle of the bands. Dave Brockie shows up as Oderus Urungus playing “Defendor” who comes to earth to…um defend it… from the space blob monster.
Long, drawn out and mostly incomprehensible the segment The Mark plays out like a bad kung fu movie. Someone is given “the mark” whatever that is-one of the films overall strengths is a total lack of explanation-to hunt down and kill TV evangelists that are neck deep in crime.
What the film lacks in plot development it makes up for in pacing-except perhaps for The Mark. It moves along at a good clip from disjointed scene to disjointed scene and any questions concerning the line of narrative are quickly forgotten by what is happening on screen.
James Balsamo’s HACK JOB is a horror comedy that has its tongue firmly planted in cheek. It plays
well as a low budget deconstruction of independent horror and is fairly well put together despite all attempts otherwise. The vast difference in picture quality and sound mixing scene to scene enhance the effect of its riffing on indie flicks. The subtitles and their wildly varying fonts and use as non sequitur make for some fun times.
The effects are-of course- practical effects and surprisingly cheap and effective. The level of competence shown by them and some clever camera work belie the talent at work in HACK JOB. It is quite effective as a deconstruction of independent horror. I find it odd that it went a satirical direction but I am also pleased. A dead serious attempt would probably fall flat on its face.
The cameos are mostly highlights. The Eugene Levy (?!) and Debbie Rochon cameos were experiments in time wasting. Talk about pointless. But where these two were bad the Lloyd Kaufman and Oderus Urungus cameos were amazing. Lloyd plays himself in the wraparound and it looks like it might have been shot at the Troma offices. James and Mike show him the script that Satan gave them and needless to say he loves it. He is also Rabbi Lloyd in the segment The Mark. Dave Brockie had me in tears as Oderus playing Defendor as he bitches about the aliens fishing line supports in Earth is on the Menu.
Check it out. Don’t go in expecting something serious or shocking though. Go in expecting some humor, some heart, good music and some boobs. You won’t be too disappointed. If you expect a straightforward independent horror flick that takes itself seriously you will probably be disappointed.