Dec 9, 2010
For the first 6 years, ToeTag Pictures, now respectively ToeTag Inc., had been slowly establishing themselves as a dominating force in a genre practically unclaimed and never-to-be-taken-seriously: faux-snuff. What ToeTag did for found footage still represents a turning point in the way I perceive and anticipate violence, regardless of the attitudes of the crew. With a steady drum-roll, The Redsin Tower was finally released with incredible praise. Following August Underground Penance, The Redsin Tower was ToeTag's breaking free from the shackles, as to say, making a real film. My dreadful experience with such was highlighted in a review some years back and I completely lost faith in the ToeTag crew to produce anything that can't be redeemed by a bucket of blood, no matter how realistic or gritty said bucket might be. With my unsightly hair standing on end, I received a copy of ToeTag's latest film, Sella Turcica, and began to slowly digest the images vacuumed onto my screen. It's surely sad to say that the only thing ToeTag ever did correctly was film themselves being assholes with corn syrup.
The magic that ToeTag achieved in Murder-Set-Pieces is surely not reflected behind the camera. Sella Turcica, which is a depression in the skull having to do with the pituitary gland, is Fred Vogel's image of a "drama," a film so wrapped up inside its ghastly narcissism that it refuses to wield its horror badge until the final ten minutes. The plot revolves around a family's homecoming preparation to a returning soldier and son, Sgt. something-or-another. Bound to a wheelchair, the demise of his ability to walk is a mystery to both the family and the somber fellow whose handicap is his own. Greeting him is his mother, Camille Keaton (Rape "victim"), and his brother, sister, and sister-in-law. Oh, and also the Negro DJ/rapper who is sleeping with the young sister. This wacky cast of can't-be actors play thespian comedy as they bumble about tripping over lines and passing expressions which are better suited for ventriloquist dummies. The worst offender is I Spit on Your Grave's Camille Keaton, whose acting ability reveals itself to be limited exclusively to being chased, raped, repeat. Translating the synopsis while filtering out the bullshit is simply a favor I cannot bless the Pittsburgh based "filmmakers."
It's become glaringly obvious that the fans of ToeTag concentrate their behavior into a "cult" of sorts, almost like Juggalos but nowhere near the severity of brainwashing. As this hivemind would have it, no negative connotations may surround any film in the independent oeuvre of ToeTag, lest you be flamed with verbal threats of Fulci-worthy torture. Did I mention that the dog in the film is named Fulci? I wonder whose fandom has been plastered upon us. Sella Turcica is a film that has received incredible word-of-mouth and will sell at least several thousand copies, a dubious honor considering the film would better serve as a practical effects demo reel. The commendations from such high-profile horror sites should have been my warning to tread away as these are the same fans who claimed The Redsin Tower to be the horror marvel of 2006. It's not an unknown fact that Sella Turcica is a remake of Deathdream, regardless of what anyone tells you. The same war-horror story is traced with alterations but retains the same heart, but not quite as I'm sure Deathdream is the far superior film.
If you favor derivative familial functions than Sella Turcica might be your cup of tea, but if you're expecting a tale of tempestuous horror worthy of the Hitchcock inspired poster artwork you'll be sorely disappointed. Only in the finale does something of an event unfold. Suddenly the Sgt. stands up, spitting up blood and tissue matter all over his shirt and begins to smash, claw, bite, and break his family members in a vegetated fashion, as saying the twitchy movements and snarls of the undead son are the only bright aspects of the entire production. When this somewhat rousing scene of retribution is unleashed upon the annoying kinfolk, it's as if the stars aligned and a bit of light had shed upon the land. Had Fred Vogel decided to make a dedicated zombie film, perhaps I'd have kinder hostilities to spout but alas, he's settled for documenting interracial relationships while shoving the alternative lifestyles of his actors down your throat. Yes, we get it. You like tattoos and piercings as well as your fans. I only wish he'd audition people other than fans for his productions. When the calling for ToeTag is finally answered, what we get is rotten and expired. Not to say the film wasn't dead the first utterance that escaped Camille Keaton's mouth.
Posted by Soiled Sinema at 4:48 PM
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