Plot: A low budget horror movie crew is hard at work on a shoot, making a movie under the direction of Lacey (John Harrison), an eccentric filmmaker. While there’s not much money involved, the crew bonds over a passion for the creative process, not to mention ample alcohol and cocaine. Some tensions creep in from time to time, but so do some friendships and even a spark of romance. Dominic (Joe Pilato) finds himself quite drawn to actress/gaffer Celeste (Susan Chapek), even starting to fall for her once the two start to get to know each other. One night after some drugs and booze, Lacey tells some of the crew about a strange film he was sent and soon, the film is loaded and the group watches on. On the screen is a woman, barely dressed and tied to a chair, when a man enters the shot wearing an executioner’s hood. He abuses the woman, slashing her with a blade and eventually slitting her throat. Lacey insists afterward that the film is a fake, but perhaps his interest in such content isn’t a passing fancy…
Entertainment Value: Despite the involvement of some genre veterans, Effects is a movie that pretty much vanished for decades. After some troublesome test screenings, Effects faded off and would remain hidden for years, taking almost two decades to even get a home video release. While the movie is not what most will expect when they hear about horror, Tom Savini, and snuff, Effects is an interesting take on horror and those who create or consume it. This is a meta driven concept, as it deals with the ideas behind horror and movies in general. I can see why this would be a tough sell to some viewers, especially to those in search of more traditional horror cinema. The movie has a slow pace and takes about half the duration to kick into gear, as the first half is not exactly a thrill ride. But once the snuff movie is shown, Effects ramps up and the final half is a dark, effective experience. I think it helps to know what you’re going into also, so you don’t expect a slasher movie or splatter film. If nothing else, I think most genre fans would be interested just given the film’s troubled past, as it has that curio allure around it. The movie has some issues, but I think Effects is an interesting, experimental type take on the horror genre.
An early shower scene includes some bare ass and quick peeks at other naked flesh, while the snuff movie segment has some grainy, hard to see jugs on showcase. So not much nakedness, but some is better than none, right? Despite the involvement of Tom Savini, Effects doesn’t have much blood involved. I did like the “movie within a movie” scenes that showed some effects work in progress, plus it was fun to watch someone slash up a fake leg and all. There’s bits of bloodshed toward the finale, but nothing overly graphic or splashy. You know I love the gore, but honestly as the movie even explains, sometimes less is indeed more. The dialogue is passable, with some memorable lines here and there. The writing is solid, but rarely ventures into the madcap type stuff we score for here. The filmmaker casually asking a woman if she’d like to have sex and her reaction were quite priceless, however. As far as the craziness, the finale takes a nice, dark turn, but overall this one is pretty grounded. Just some quirky dialogue and Tom Savini beaten up by a girl, but not a ton of insane moments.
Overall Insanity: 2/10