Traveling In A Fried-Out Combi: The Loved Ones (2009)

I’m more than a bit shocked that THE LOVED ONES was as slow in arriving on US shores than it was.  The film opens at a quick clip establishing the main characters deftly and with great ease.  Brent is a haunted high schooler whose loses his father in a car crash while he is driving.  He finds his solace in heavy metal, weed and Holly.  Holly is is his bombshell girlfriend.  She is kind and caring and is gentle with Brent.  Lola was rejected when she asks Brent to the prom.  Jamie is Brent’s best friend and Mia is the goth princess that Jamie asks to prom.  

THE LOVED ONES delivers some severe “What the fuck was that?” moments.  Some of these include the injured dog, picking up a road-kill cat, and the panic that Daddy may have killed Lola’s date…and those are just the early and tame ones.  There are plenty more involving a trapdoor full of gorks, boiling water lobotomies and the like.  This thing goes truly off the rails–in a good way.  The relationship between Lola and her father is strangely enough, extremely touching for a few seconds as he presents Lola with her prom shoes and dress.  It soon devolves to creepy and weird when he leers at her in a tortured manner as she tries it on.  

The dinner scene is well played.  It looks like a homage to the dark comedy Sawyer family dinners shown in the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE flicks.  It’s Lola, Daddy, and a lobotomized woman called Bright Eyes.  In order to prevent Brent from ruining a perfectly good date, Lola injects Brent’s voice box with bleach rendering him mute.  This helps her and Daddy by giving them peace and quite while they heap pain and indignity upon Brent.  It should come as no surprise that the Stone family is so well versed in torture when it is revealed that Brent is the latest in a long line of frogs.  The real incestual prince is Daddy-he is the king of Lola’s heart.  The rest of the frogs are kept lobotomized in the basement.

The music shifts from good time rock to heavy metal to discordian cacophonies.  It also includes amazing uses of poppy bubblegum tunes which set the viewer up for a severe cognitive dissonance at the most opportune times.  The acting is top notch.  Robin McLeavy and John Brumpton carrying the lion’s share as Lola and Daddy.  Xavier Samuel does very well as the mute Brent.  The supporting cast handle their parts capably as well.  The film is well shot and the music timing is spot on.  Sean Byrne has put together something special here.

It is with no ill will that I say the following: No one should’ve ever given you Aussies cameras.  What has been unleashed on the world cannot be restrained from MAD MAX to FAIR GAME to WOLF CREEK and now THE LOVED ONES.  Lola is a badass cross between Mick Taylor and the fuckin’ Terminator.  You all need your heads checked.  And so do you dear reader if you don’t check out THE LOVED ONES.  It will leave you reeling between laughter, shock and revulsion.

Rock Out With Your Cock Out: Sweatshop (2009)

SWEATSHOP is a gem I stumbled upon when I ordered COLD SWEAT.  I like weird themes so I thought how about Sweaty Saturday Slaughter double feature?  Anyway my brain works like that.  That being sometimes, barely or ooohhh SHINY!  Anywhooo… I’ve always had an affection for rock and roll horror flicks.  Raves are a natural progression from the rock shows.  I didn’t realize that we’d get so much music with this one and it falls squarely into that category.

I had no idea what to expect from this flick.  I ordered it cold with a small bit of apprehension due to the look of the mask that was worn by the giant gork on the cover.  It was a bit like the Repo! The Genetic Opera mask and lets just say that is not a favorable connection for me.  The killer also had a giant fucking monstrosity of a hammer.  Eight foot tall gork + seven foot tall hammer = what?  A surprisingly good time.

Charlie (Ashley Kay) and her friends are setting up a rave (not sure if those still happen?) in an old and abandoned industrial building.  Not sure what kind of building, there were a lot of pipes, chains and metal in general.  I suspect it made some pretty good sparks when it was up and running though.  There is junk and dirt and grime all over this place.  I don’t know if the set designer put this together or not, but I would totally have believed it to have been a building found in such a state.  The dark corners and absence of light really work in the movie and do not distract.  It provides an apt setting.

This rave “enterprise” has sent an advance crew in to check the building out.  Also this building happens to be inhabited by a giant lumbering gork with a giant evil hammer and his harem of fucked up bitches.  I guess it isn’t too big a shock that the two scouts never heard from again…oh yeah except we get some early full frontal from a tattooed young hottie running for help from her attackers.  In a way I guess the help spared her from something more depraved.

As the rest of the crew rolls in they begin to booze it up as they set up.  The acting isn’t great by any stretch but it is not so bad that it is distracting.  Everyone seems to play to their character’s extreme whether it is angst, arrogance, anger, or apathy.  Wade (Brent Himes), the redneck, and Scottyboy (Peyton Wetzel), the mohawk sporting punk are brothers and add a good amount of comedy relief to an otherwise unrelenting and brutal film.

Did I mention the girls?  Oh my, this movie is wall to wall with chicks that look like suicide girls.  Lolli is fucking amazing and we get to see her dance in an extended scene that isn’t overly long.  I really enjoy that this flick let the music and dancing take time.  It works really well.  I mentioned the early full frontal.  We also get to see Lolli seduce farm boy Wade and she gets fucked in the kissing booth as a bit of revenge.  Flick scores high on slasher T & A scale.

The gore is phenomenal. It all seems to be practical gags with no CGI.  The blood flows freely and the body parts fly.  The hammer is insane.  People are torn apart and turned into piles of shapeless goo.  It’s relentless. The Beast (Jeremy Sumrall) as the gork is credited crushes and tears people apart with no mercy. There are plenty of kills and the ghoulish girls that accompany the beast provide some serious creepy moments.  I love that there is no explanation at all.  No whit about what or who he is, why he’s there…nothing. He’s a beast in his cave and that’s it.

Check this thing out.  This is an independent flick with some serious heart.  I would have put it under the Independent Spirit heading, but this thing is a true rock and roll spatter fest!  Its a must see. The ending is wide open and I would love to see a sequel.