Friday, November 19, 2010

S&Man (2006)

Director: J.T. Petty

Starring: Erik Marcisak, Fred Vogel, Bill Zebub, Debbie D

More info: IMDb

Plot: Exploring the parallels between film making and voyeurism, director J.T. Petty aims his camera at the world of underground horror films, interviewing scream queens and scholars and finding one auteur whose snuff series seems all too convincing. This thought-provoking documentary constantly compels viewers to question whether the grisly images they're watching are the real deal or elaborate fakes -- and whether Petty himself has ulterior motives.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? Nope.

Here's something different. It claims to be a documentary. Well, it carries on like one. There are interviews with film makers of low budget, underground horror films that focus on torture and real life horror (think home videos a serial killer would make for himself and for no one else but to be discovered after they're caught). These types of films typically have little narrative or none at all. Over the years of collecting an obscene amount of movies of all kinds, I have at least one and I haven't seen them...yet.

In short, you're along for the ride with Vogel (creator/director of the first of these, AUGUST UNDERGROUND (2001)), Zebub and other film makers including Marcisak who makes a series of films called S&Man (there are 18 volumes according to the film). Marcisak gets more special attention than the others. His movies consist of him videotaping (ala peeping tom) a young woman, stalking, kidnapping, torturing and eventually killing her - all on video. When he's asked by Petty to speak to any of the "actresses" he's filmed, Marcisak says he'll pass on Petty's number to the actresses who will contact him if they wish. Now I'm wondering if Marcisak being in a character or if he's for real. My friend suspected he killed them but I don't know...

I first became suspect when the name of this movie (again, we're lead to believe this is a documentary) is the same name as Marcisak's film series, S&Man (pronounced "sandman"). Why is that? It turns out this is fake. The interviews with Zebub, Vogel, etc are legit (except for Marcisak) and there are clips from their real movies. Everything else is bullshit. This is no documentary but a movie pretending to be one with some made up shit tossed into the mix for the sake of entertainment. On that level it's kind of neat. Look at the credits on IMDb and you'll see who's real and who's not. Bullshit aside, I'm glad I saw it because I did get something out of it from a horror sub-genre I had only heard about which compelled me to watch a movie I've had for a few years but never got around to...AUGUST UNDERGROUND (2001).

Btw, that vibraphone music you hear in the trailer? Get used to it 'cause it's the only cue of music in the entire picture and it's used ad nauseum. Surprisingly it didn't piss me off.

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