Studio 666 (2005)

Starring Jill Small, Kacia Brady, Amanda Carraway

Directed by Corby Timbrook

If spending 80 minutes of your life watching a bunch of characters you couldn’t give a spit about getting slaughtered by a bipolar ghost that is ever whining about how nobody really knew the real her during her mortal life sounds like a good time to you, then Studio 666 is a horror movie right up your alley. If not, join the club.

Studio 666 is one of those movies that’s bad for no particular reason other than it just is. The film as a whole just isn’t good at all. It isn’t scary, it isn’t suspenseful, and it isn’t the slightest bit interesting. It even fails to deliver on a basic slasher movie level. This is just a lame movie of unspectacular proportions.

Let me direct you to the summary on the back of the DVD, which sums up about 95% of the plot.

“Cassidy, the lead singer in a rock band, lives with her boyfriend and fellow band member Neal. Believing Neal doesn’t love her, Cassidy records her thoughts in a private journal before committing suicide.

Three months after her death the remaining four band members visit a psychic for answers about Cassidy’s death. During the session Cassidy’s spirit overtakes the psychic, revealing four tarot death cards.

During the subsequent recording session, Cassidy’s spirit takes over the body of Dora, the remaining band member. One by one, the male band members are murdered.

Will killing everyone close to her finally exorcise Cassidy’s pain?”

The answer is no. Didn’t do much for my pain either.

The first problem here, and it’s the film’s biggest problem, is the Cassidy character. Most of us have known at least one person like this chick in real life. She’s the type that is perpetually gloomy, always seems to be in a state of depression that feels more self-induced than a legitimate emotional problem, and behaves like a total drama queen for no particular reason. Those are traits you usually see in a horror movie victim, not the killer. This Cassidy is the whiniest supernatural slasher I’ve ever seen. She whines about how ineffectual her boyfriend was to her, she whines about how none of her friends really knew the real her, she whines that if only they read between the lines in her songbook they’d come to understand her inner self, and then she turns around and starts whining about how she can’t control her urge to kill all the people she’s constantly whining about. All this whine and no cheese in sight. The whole time I could never figure out exactly how the filmmakers wanted us to react to Cassidy. Her persona is all over the map and that map doesn’t lead to anyplace you want to go. If there’s any one thing that I learned from this film it’s that there clearly isn’t any Zoloft in the afterlife.

While there may not be any psychotropic drugs for use on the other side, there clearly must be massive amounts of Gamma radiation as evidence by Dora’s glowing green eyes that serve to remind everyone that an evil spirit is inside her. After becoming possessed, Dora puts on some sunglasses and lurks about the makeshift recording studio (you see some dinky audio equipment, a few instruments, and a couple of pieces of foam on the wall for soundproofing but it’s so obviously not a real recording studio) where she either does some more whining or exchanges surly comments with others before bludgeoning them to death or, in a few cases, ripping chunks of flesh out with her teeth. That part seems appropriate considering how much this movie bites.

The performances are about what you’d expect from a movie like this. Actually, for a shot on digital horror movie clearly made for pennies on the dollar, the acting is surprisingly passable, which is too bad because nothing coming out of their mouths is the slightest bit compelling. Much of the movie consists of these characters doing little more than waiting around engaging in dull conversations while not hearing one of their friends getting brutally murdered just a few doors down.

Then there’s the “Juggalo psychic”, as I called him, that they go to for the séance. Everything about this character is overwrought, and not in a good way. He wears this distorted mime make-up that makes him look like a character from an old European art film and he behaves not all that unlike Frank Gorshin’s Riddler. His annoying character feels like it came out of another movie, a worse one at that.

I couldn’t even accurately explain the ending to you if my life depended on it. Maybe it made sense and I just didn’t get it because by that point I was struggling to pay attention. The slasher portion that preceded it is so uninspired that it absolutely kills the movie dead.

For me the film’s only real highlight was the song during the opening credits. You’ll swear that you’re listening to Bob Segar performing death metal. It’s all downhill from there.

I couldn’t wrap things up without mentioning that Studio 666 comes to us by way of director Corby Timbrook, whose previous film was Tower of Blood, my review of which somehow remains one of the most popular on the site and almost certainly more popular than the film itself. I’m not sure which flick is the worse of the two. On the one hand, Tower of Blood was as pedestrian a slasher film as you’re likely to ever see and not even good at being that. If nothing else, Studio 666 at least appears to have slightly loftier ambitions than just the routine hack and slash, but it’s still just as flat and lousy in execution. Heck, I’ll just call it a tie.

0 ½ out of 5

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Jon Condit

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