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Askew Review 15

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(Brain Damage Films) Not Rated. Let me first write that I love low-budget horror movies! I have seen my share of Good, Bad, and Awful low-budget movies over the years. Oddly enough, 'The Tenement', a recent release from Brain Damage Films, includes moments of all three types.
     It begins with great promise; an old man stands outside starring at a multi-unit apartment building, presumably "The Tenement", a younger man in a black trench coat and long black hair approaches and asks what he's looking at? The elderly gent says he used to live in this building and that some buildings are inherently evil.
     Such begins what is supposed to be 4 stories about 4 different families who all lived in this evil building at different times. The story that starts the film is about a couple in a car on Lovers Lane who are attacked, and the girl is crucified and sacrificed in a bizarre ritual.
     The stories are completely disjointed. One appears to be filmed in a two story house and another in a vacation cabin, so I didn't quite understand how these stories were taking place in a tenement building located in the inner city, when they were obviously not in the building. I was totally confused by this and the stories themselves were pretty weak.
     However, I must add that this movie also contains two of the greatest horror movies scenes ever made. The first includes the previously mentioned crucifixion scene; which is better than all of that lame Passion of the Christ big budget bummer put together.
     The other scene is a spectacular moment in horror movie history; toward the end of the movie, a stripper (Syn DeVil) dancing in a club squeezes a crème-filled style doughnut covered with powdered sugar between her bare breasts and drops it in on the stage in front of a patron. In an effort to see this great scene again, my husband grabbed the remote control to rewind, but this particular screener did not offer any chapters and we were back at the beginning of the movie, which was a real bummer.
     The movie features Michael Gingold from Fangoria Magazine, so I have to admit I expected a little more. Several of the stories had promise but no pay off, and I won't ruin the ending for you since I myself didn't see anything past the doughnut scene as I tried to watch it again, but fell asleep.
     My last complaint is in one of the vignettes. There is a Psycho style mother and son relationship, and while the mother sounds old, she looks barely old enough to be the guy's mother. To top it off, we come to understand the son is the elderly man outside the building in the beginning, yet in his story with his mum he is sitting on a futon with a bookshelf of videos behind him-what's the deal with that? I can suspend disbelief with the best of them and I gave The Tenement every chance, but this DVD pushed it just a little too far. - Amy Bugbee



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