Human Cattle

“We herd sheep, we drive cattle, we lead people” is a phrase attributed to General George Patton, but what about cattle of the upright, bipedal variety?

Human Cattle is the brainchild/co-creation of Rabiddog Films and our pals, The Butcher Shop FX Studio (for an interesting listen, check out our interview with Carlos Henriques, The Butcher Shop’s practical effects creator).

According to Human Cattle’s synopsis, “The Amazon is a beautiful place to visit but you wouldn’t want to die there,” which assumes the conclusion that there’s a place that exists you’d actually want to die (maybe in bed…at 100?)

And further, “Three sexy teenagers take a fun-filled trip out to the Amazon for an exciting getaway filled with seductive pleasures and forbidden desires. Failing to hear the canoe tour guide’s warnings…”

Human Cattle stars Zane Watson, an IFBB bodybuilder whose motto is, “My body is not a work of art. My body reflects the art of work,” statements which are at least half-true were they applied to the authors of the Really Awful Movies site (we’ll let you guess which statement).

This one also co-stars Mitch Markowitz as well. Markowtiz is the brainchild of Hilarious House of Frightenstein, a plucky Canadian Vincent Price-starrer which became an unlikely, long-running smash Canadian TV show.

Human Cattle has got bazookas and a little person with a shotgun. If that’s not an appetizer enticement for the main, we don’t know what is.

 

Terrifier

Terrifier is a video nasty throwback: a lurid, squalid, and brutal affair. It’s even gorier than the last uber-violent killer clown movie we’ve seen, the wonderful Irish horror, Stitches (a movie with an unfurled ocular assault that made its way into our book, Death by Umbrella, though it was actually the killer umbrella in Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 that inspired the title).

Terrifier’s clown is a leaner, meaner, emaciated, commedia del’arte Captain Spaulding. And man is he terrific. David Howard Thornton thoroughly and completely embodies Art the Clown, easily one of the most uniquely, and yes, “terrifying” horror antagonists to come down the pike in a long, long time. His birdlike fidgeting and prominent gums make for a revolting and memorable spectacle.

A lone survivor is recounting Art’s exploits on some sleazy investigative journalism show. Then we’re on on the streets and back alleys of Anytown, USA on Halloween. It’s dark, largely abandoned, and its mise en scène recalls the desolate Brooklyn boulevards of Bill Lustig’s Maniac.

Two young women are being accosted by a clown, who follows them into a pizza parlor after slashing the tires on their car. Since they’re both inebriated, one of the girls calls their sister to come pick them up. Then, their hell night ends up in a creepy warehouse that’s being fumigated by pest contractors who for reasons unexplained, don’t bother to wear protective masks (but that’s another story entirely).

The rest is dour nighttime stalk-and-slash, and there are some terrific and truly surprising set pieces, including a truly vicious kill can only be described as “too brutal by half” (no spoilers here). Some sinister stuff indeed.

However, Terrifier somewhat unravels by failing to follow the “less is more” ethos when it comes to showcasing the killer. When there’s an antagonist this fearsome and foreboding, his impact is diminished by keeping the camera on him for so long. It’s something John Carpenter understood in the first Halloween, but what David Gordon Green fails to grasp in the new one. Here, there is just too much Art, almost Art for Art’s sake.

While the rest of the film doesn’t entirely coalesce around him, there’s enough marrow on this bone to more than satisfy gorehounds.

***1/2 (out of 5)