Automaton Transfusion (DVD)
Reviewed by Nomad
Starring Garrett Jones, Juliet Reeves, William Howard Bowman
Directed by Steven C. Miller
Distributed by Dimension Extreme
There is a fine line between celebrating a genre and copying it. Men like Quentin Tarrantino tread those waters carefully, raising their play to practical high art, creating a film that is so much homage to the past films they love; they are at once ridiculous and highly enjoyable. Other men dream of making a film within their favored nitch and when given the chance, get lost in the trappings of past successes. These men fail to create a movie that echoes their voice, instead creating a sticky collage of their favorite locations and imagery slapped awkwardly together with dialogue you’d swear you’ve heard before. Fantastic that you want to make a killer horror film but when you offer nothing new, who do you serve?
These were my thoughts while watching Automaton Transfusion. The presentation of sets moaned with the ghosts of zombie films past. Running through them were one dimensional characters whose role it seemed was only to do just that; run. Giving credit where credit is due, the special makeup effects where nicely executed, though at times made zero sense beyond it would “look bad ass.” It’s not enough to salvage this trainwreck.
This was indeed a collection of the worst, most stereotypical moments from American Pie, acted by what seemed to be, at the very least, 20 somethings. The meat of the film raises more questions than oo’s and ahh’s, even for those of us who shut our brains down to enjoy the most hardcore of Troma’s library. Why do zombie hordes travel in bunches like wildebeest running from lions on Animal Planet? Why does the token black character seem to focus all his concern on the pudgy male sidekick? Where the hell do all the zombies go every time our heroes enter an evacuated set?
Images of 40 zombies running down a road together, making abrupt and unexplained turns down other city streets race through my head. Imagine you are crouched in a store eating chips as they run past and an hour later, run past again. Good times.
Finally, and this one I realize is nitpicky, but if you’ve got fast-moving zombies attacking in hordes, tearing their victims apart, how are those said victims getting up after? Yeesh. The mind boggles.
To add to the enigma that is Automaton Transfusion, the creators decided to throw in a plot at about the 85% mark and as you sat there wondering how they would resolve all this new information in what little time was left, the cryptic words “TO BE CONTINUED” erupt across the screen. Yea, sure. Not only do I not believe there will be sequels to this film, I don’t believe I care to continue my journey. Our adventure has come to an agonizing end. My brain can’t manage another moment of this Hot Topic Horror film. Lucky for me, I’ve got extras to cover. I am blessed.
"Trials and Tribulations: The Making of Automaton Transfusion" is a 25 minute featurette, consisting mostly of the film’s creators talking about how crazy and hard shooting was. We're allowed to watch real footage shot on the scene as old men flip out on the crew and the director spits seeds from his mouth onto his crew mate and then at the camera. Of course, this was intended to humanize the man but oddly, it made me want to turn the DVD off. I guess I didn’t get it.
Then came the deleted scenes -- Mayhem Montage, House Party, Director Dead and Producer Dead. Since I didn’t pay attention to the titles before I chose play all of them, I didn’t realize these snippets had even started. Blaring music is set to scenes of zombies eating people. You watch this and the rest of these quickie scenes and think that they couldn’t afford to delete any scenes. It’s all in there Spanky.
"Suffer or Sacrifice: A short film by director Steven C. Miller" is just that; a short film with more people running and bleeding.
There's also "Can You Hear Me Now", a music video helmed by Miller for the band Blinded Black and "Arsenaholic" a music video for the band Dancefloor Tragedy. If you weren’t sick enough of the formulaic scream-o you heard all through the film, here’s more! You’ll notice a band T-shirt is featured in the film and they are going to the band’s concert. There has to be a scam in there somewhere...
If you think I sat through director commentary, you are insane.
1 1/2 out of 5
1 out of 5
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