Friday, June 18, 2010

Horror Movie Review: Manhater


Starring: Emelle, Alessandra Assaf, John Freedom Henry, Brendan Connor, and Ariel X

Directed by: Anthony Doublin

Written by: Philip R. Calderone

Production Company: Canyon Falls Productions

Awards: Winner, Best Original Soundtrack 2010 Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema

I, admittedly, have a special love for low-budget, indy horror productions. Without the money for big time effects, or stars, or equipment, or locations, these movies are true examples of innovative movie making. Not how "innovative is often used, describing a new breakthrough in using technology by pouring a whole bunch of money into the best equipment and the best users of that equipment. Innovative in its most difficult context. Forward thinking movie making without the best resources. How to make a small scale movie in a big-budget movie world...So it was my pleasure to sit down and watch Manhater.
Manhater is about women abused and mistreated by men. Vonda (played by Emelle) has been in a series of bad relationships with the latest loser being Bruce (played by John Freedom Henry). Vonda seeks help from New Age spiritualist Eileen (played by Alessandra Assaf). Under Eileen's recommendation, Vonda takes a potion which should help her get past her depression and anger, to help her move on with her life. What the potion does is release...Enyo (played by Ariel X).

Enyo does what she can to help Vonda get rid of the pain of her killing her past loves.

But Vonda becomes the leading suspect in the growing number of murders and her life becomes more painful as she witnesses Enyo's brutality while slipping into dreamlike trances.

I shan't paint a pristine picture Manhater. It is a B-Movie with all its limitations. Yes, some of the shots are poorly lighted. Yes, the film is a bit grainy. No, the special effects aren't George Lucas quality. No, there's not an Academy Award winner in the acting lot...can we move past that and talk about what this film does have? Thank you...

Manhater gives us a compelling story whose fantasy is based on the too true fact, possible fact, seeiming fact that all women have some asshole in her past who made her feel like crap and who draws out violent reactions in these women. And some women, like poor Vonda, have a lot of assholes in their past.

The script is a tight story without loose ends and inconsistencies. Without those distractions often found in horror movies, we're left to be engrossed in the plot. How are these disparate characters with their own agendas or interests in the events going to resolve this conflict? Will Eric the cop (played by Brendan Connor) be able to do his job without putting Vonda in jail? Will Bruce find a way to save himself from Enyo? What does Eileen have to do with Enyo? Will Vonda be able to stop Enyo and stay out of jail...and avoid another run in with Bruce?

What ablut the three B's essential to a good B-Movie? Boobs, Blood, and Bwa-ha-ha?

In her role as Enyo, Ariel X spends half the movie walking around nude save for white body paint. There's other flesh colored breasts, including Ariel X's without white paint, to be found.

Enyo also gives us plenty of blood as well. She slices up Vonda's former loves with her long, black nails flinging blood all over the rooms where she gets her justice.

But Manhater doesn't leave much room for humor, but that's not required in a script of this seriousness.

Now, Manhater coould easily be mistaken for a pro-feminist, anti-male story, but it's not. The women are hardly shown as noble and perfect, and the men aren't all troglodytes. As with any good story, the characters are well rounded...even asshole Bruce has a moment of humanity and weakness, and bloodthirsty Enyo questions the prupose of her existence with doubt. The impressive characterization in Manhater is something often overlooked in favor for big budget effects and big name stars found in the summer hit movies.

Related Trailers

BTK Killer

Emelle also appeared in BTK Killer. After claiming a string of innocent victims in the 1960s and '70s, a serial murderer dubbed the BTK Killer -- for "bind, torture, kill" -- simply stopped his rampage and mysteriously disappeared. But when his handiwork resurfaced 30 years later, police were finally able to nab him. This grisly account of his high-profile carnage and capture is based on the true story of Dennis Rader, one of the most notorious slaughterers of all time.


Alessandra Assaf also appeared in Magus. In a mysterious world of magic, a hard-luck wizard named Felix finds himself facing the ultimate foe -- one who could spell doom for his secret society. The Magus is an evil wizard consumed with killing to strengthen his power. With this dark lord's nefarious mission of murder threatening the sorcerers' world, it's up to the unlikely Felix to uphold the Wizard's Code and save his society from destruction.

Day of the Dead 2: Contagium

John Freedom Henry also stars in Day of the Dead 2: Contagium. In 1968, in the Ravenside Military Hospital in a military facility in Pennsylvania, the army loses control of an experiment of a lethal bacteriologic weapon that changes the DNA and transforms human beings into zombies. A group of soldiers is sent to the hospital to eliminate the infected staff and interns but private DeLuca steals a test tube with the virus and hides it inside a vacuum flask. He is transformed into a zombie and killed but the vacuum flask falls in the grass. In the present days, a group of patients in the mental institution Ravenside Memorial Hospital finds the vacuum flask and later when one of them opens the vessel, the culture tube drops on the floor of a bathroom contaminating the group and their Dr. Donwynn.

Experiment in Torture

Brendan Connor also stars in Experiment in Torture. Lured by the smell of easy money, beautiful, exotic dancers agree to spend the weekend at the remote mountain getaway of a wealthy voyeur. Once there, the girls are drugged, tied up and slowly tortured to death with everything from a blowtorch to an electric drill by a killer who uses their bodies as a canvas for his sadistic, twisted art.


Ariel X also appeared in Slaughtered, directed by Anthony Doublin. Harold Parkinson has a snuff site on the web "Slaughtered Sheep". He hires young models never intending to pay them. Instead he murders them and uses their pictures on his website. Harold's victims are not happy about being brutally murdered and that Harold continues to add to their numbers. After several warnings, which the psychotic Harold ignores. His past victim's band together in order to stop Harold and prevent him from murdering more models, While exacting their own special brand of revenge.

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