House With 100 Eyes, The (DVD)
Starring Jim Roof, Shannon Malone, Larissa Lynch
Directed by Jay Lee, Jim Roof
Distributed by Artsploitation Films
The most frightening thing about the windows of someone’s home is the uncertainty of what goes on inside them – regardless of what the public views from the outside, the acts and sentiments under that specific roof are indeed clandestine to an extent. Now I’m not advocating peeking in everyone’s windows like some kind of demented neighborhood watch, but it kind of makes you think – is the “perfect” couple hiding a secret life, and one that is a danger to others within its reach?
Rolled out like an unused body bag, co-directors Jay Lee and Jim Roof present the snuff-tastic exploits of wedded looneys Ed and Susan in The House With 100 Eyes – a glimpse into the ultra-violent world of deep-sixing someone while the camera records it all…or in this case, 100 cameras, all set to film their greatest creation to date…at least they hope so. Ed (Roof) and his bemused bride Susan (Malone) are lovers on the exterior, and absolute sadists at heart, and their passion for inhumane ministration upon their next potential victims merely acts as fodder for what they hope will be a memorable back-alleyed snuff-film career – June and Ward Cleaver they ain’t.
As the two interact with each other, your first impression is Susan is the all-purpose spouse: she cooks, she cleans, and she adulates at the mere sight of her husband, and Ed is a man who simply has his eyes on the prize: an execution movie that has got be just right, and things don’t always go as planned, giving the audience a reprieve from the strong violent activity with a few black comedic laughs (some will take a little more processing than others). After “securing” three young teens for their perverse production, the cameras roll into record-mode, and the dissection commences.
What we see next certainly isn’t any amount of slicing and dicing that hasn’t been showcased before in the torture-porn sub-genre, but the way it’s offered up is what makes this 75-minute film so memorable. Ed’s wit and ability to amuse himself while slicing off belly fat and feeding it to a victim is classic, and getting a raucous roll when he’s bashing a woman’s skull against the floor is sick and twisted, sure – but it’s the backbone of an entertaining savage consummation of duties, and there’s no better antidote to the hulking, silent killer than someone who can not only enjoy his work, but amuse himself in the process. The couple’s disagreement on filmmaking style is funny to watch, and the two collaborate to bring their brutish vision to light, but not before some serious ripples in the blood pool occur.
As far as negatives go, for such a short runtime, there is a bit of dialogue to wade through before things get heavy, but quite a chunk of it is infused with an ample measurement of subtle, dark levity. Also, some of the sound emissions are extremely grating to those with sensitive ears, with a ripping, tearing squelch overtaking the audio waves when certain camera angles are breached, lessening the enjoyment of a good old vivisection.
Overall, The House With 100 Eyes will appeal to those who like their twisted indignation wrought with some finespun wittiness, and both Roof and Malone’s performances carry the film through some plodding occasions. In closing, I’d best advise those nosy rubberneckers to simply carry on their everyday activities when debating whether or not to play the spy-game with those quiet neighbors of yours…walk on by, ladies and gentlemen…nothing to see there.