Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bloodbath in the House of Knives (2010)

Directed by Ted Moehring
Starring Anne Reiss, Joseph Michael, Monica Moehring and Lloyd Kaufman

"Check out my new gloves. I just got 'em. What do you think?"

While not only having one of the best movies titles of all time, Bloodbath in the House of Knives also happens to faithfully pay homage to the Giallo film with both the unique stylistic flourishes of the curious Italian horror/mystery genre that in English translates to "yellow" due to the fact that the style, which originated in book form, was generally printed with yellow covers (looky here). But let's not get bogged down with lernin'; on with the show!

The film begins with a comely lass coming home to drink some milk. While enjoying her calcium rich beverage, she notices that her back door is wide open. As she stands there trying to figure out what's up, a black clad stranger comes behind her and slits her throat.

He then proceeds to stab her vagina for an excruciatingly long time, which harkens back to the Italian film peculiarity of featuring some of the most violent and offensive violations of female genitalia ever to witness celluloid; but you don't want to see that.

After that charming opener, we are in main character Ivy's (Anne Reiss) bedroom when she receives a creepy, exhaustively detailed, and slightly effeminate answering machine (do they still make those?) message from someone who knows her name warning her that "soon we will be together", which unnerves poor Ivy.

Ivy's sister Violet (Monica Moehring) comes over and is all like "stop your whining, let's get Audi 5000" and they take off to a magic-type live show where they meet Ivy's father just as the main act, a hypnosis exhibition, is beginning. The hypnotist brings an audience member up and does his jibber-jabber on him. The long and short of it is, hypnotized dude goes bonkers and starts to choke Ivy's dad to death. Then he gets all shot up by a mysterious (and black glove wearing) audience member; but only after Ivy's dad himself is dead.

Now the coppers are all in this hizzle and questioning all involved, particularly the hypnotist(John Link) who vehemently denies having anything to do with the murder. And who wouldn't believe him?

When the lead detective on the case questions Ivy and Violet, we find out that the hypnotized guy was a friend of Ivy's family and had never shown any signs of violent tendencies prior to that event. But enough of that downer shit; let's do shots!

It turns out that the bar the ladies are grieving in is owned by a douchey thug named Nick who is blackmailing Ivy over secrets he has about her. I then asked myself why Ivy would go to a place where the owner is someone that has it out for her, but then I stopped thinking. Anyway, regarding all this, Ivy has had it up to here:

After the whole Ivy/Nick thing is done, Ivy and Violet take off together, while their other friend, Penny (Brandy Lee), heads to her own place. Once there we get the old "Hey, this POV shot looks like the killer's - aren't those the same gloves?" false start (because it's only her boyfriend Eric (Zach Meitzler) with some new motorcycle gloves) thing. Gotcha!

Anyways, homegirl goes to take a bath and Eric microwaves up some 'roni and gets stabbed from behind; dying with the words I would probably utter upon my own (completely figurative) stabbing death: "Oh shit."

Well, black gloved killer (who is now wearing a smiling Greek theatre mask) smothers Penny with the shower curtain until she passes out.

Penny wakes up in what looks like a basement; wrists tied to the ceiling. As you might imagine, some very vile things (which have absolutely nothing to do with kabobs, a table of knives, or another creepy, exhaustively detailed, and slightly effeminate message) proceed to happen to Penny. But let's think of happier times, shall we?

From this point on, Ivy's friend's and family continue to meet their demise at the hands of this menacing killer while at the same time the murderer continues getting closer to Ivy herself. Who is this madman, and why is he (or she) killing everyone that Ivy cares for? Well, you're just going to have to find that stuff out yourself. In the meantime, watch the trailer.

Ultimately, if what you like about Giallos include lingering shots of inanimate objects, story-lines so needlessly convoluted that the convolution becomes the entertainment, brutal and unflinching violence, or characters so emotionally detached from what is happening that it rivals that of the archetypal 80's movie parent, then Bloodbath in the House of Knives is for you!

Go to Oldies or MVD to get yourself hooked up with this and other great films from Alpha Home Video.

- Jeremy Vaca

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