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When cult-favorite horror filmmaker JT Petty ventures into the dark world
of underground horror, things don t exactly go as planned. As he examines the comparison between filmmaking and voyeurism within the horror genre, he uncovers a collective of filmmakers, deviants, and self-professed possible murderers. The most notorious underground film series he
discovers is called S&MAN, produced by the unassuming and creepy
Eric Rost. The more Petty digs into his subject, the more Eric withdraws, claiming a desire to protect his "creative vision." But Petty begins to suspect that the real reason may be that Eric's "actors" are in fact "victims," placing the filmmaker in dangerous territory and making S&MAN the most unsettling horror experience in years.
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S&Man draws the horror film aficionado in by splicing together various out takes and interviews including with various film makers including the infamous August Underground players. It humanizes the producers of these kinds of snuff films rather than demonizing them. We see them peddling their "art" at underground festivals and selling their cheesy cinematic explorations to an even more deranged group of people... the viewers. In doing so this film makes you keenly aware you are among the dweebs buying this stuff. After all, you're here aren't you, and you're still watching? We meet a ragtag motley cast of characters who are involved in the making, acting, directing, producing and purchasing the kinds of films most people cannot stomach. Some are a bit more pathetic than others but for the most part they are a lovable bunch. It was great to hear from the Scream Queens of horror and the splicing of a psychologist perspective regarding cameras perspective is a nice touch. Out of all the characters we meet in this "documentary," however, perhaps the least interesting and worst filmmaker of all us in fact, a real serial killer. His films are the least colorful and flamboyant, precisely because real death and murder is nowhere need as sensational as we have come to expect as viewers. It's not until the end that our suspicions are confirmed and the nauseating feeling of befriending a deranged lunatic has already sunk his teeth into our psyche. I found this to be a very interesting movie on a whole host of levels. Not the least of which was the question: When you watch enough death, carnage, and mayhem for entertainment, does real death loose its power? What's more real? For the Sandman, his victims know the answer first hand. Cool movie.
This one actually had me hoodwinked! I read the Amazon blurb carefully and convinced myself that it was, in fact, a narrative feature about a horror director who gets caught up in something dark and sinister while looking into the (fascinating to me) world of underground horror. Something like Shock Value.
So I watch the movie for about forty minutes and then the truth begins to sink in...this really is just a documentary.
Let's just set the record straight. I HATE Bill Zebub. Yeah, in the same way you hate that painful hangnail you just can't stop playing with. Surely there shall come a day when I allow the darker elements of myself to watch Bad Acid, but until then I try to keep myself as far away from the man as possible.
And yet I found myself enjoying him most of all. And he was among some pretty esteemed company. Fred Vogel and Christy "Crusty" White. Wow! Yeah, sure, the whole thing was transparently just a behind-the-scenes project for Toe Tag, going all mersh, but still, I liked it enough to merit a four star, which is as much as any documentary this side of Titicut Follies can expect to get from me.
And then I realized that this wasn't real at all.
That Eric Rost guy. Total make pretend. And oooh, it all took a dark turn after I realized that...
You have to love this movie. You just have to.
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of making movies like this. Equally as bad is that I myself
watched it. My curiousity got the better of me.Read more