Sunday, December 3, 2006

Golden Age (2006)

A wonderful homage to the exploitation flicks that came out in the "golden age" of VHS, this film delivers in 30 minutes more torture, pain, blood and enjoyment than most horror movies deliver in 2 hours.

Burton (Cullen Carr) has had a really bad day, which turns into a even worse couple of months. It all begins when he is fired from his job. Before heading home to his wife, Burton stops off at a newly opened video store to pick up a few movies. It's 1986, and he's just bought a newfangled contraption called a VHS player. At the video store the saucy video clerk (Mindy Wester) hits on him, but Burton is just interested in getting home to his wife, Becky (Mia Frost). When he gets home, he finds her in bed with his best friend (Nick Crawford). Burton tells them both to fuck off before lighting fire to his home.

For the next couple of months, Burton drowns his sorrows at the local bar. He is further devastated when Becky comes to him to tell him she is pregnant with his child. Her tells her to leave him alone, but then changes his mind and goes out after her. On his way out, he bumps into a tough looking biker (Kyle Holman). Driving drunk, Burton is pulled over by a cop. In a fit of irrationality, he smashes a beer bottle in the cop's face before running away. He is picked up by the video store clerk, who takes him back to her place to make a phone call. She seduces him and drugs his drink. While having sex with her, she handcuffs him to the bed and he promptly passes out. When he awakes, he finds himself tied down in the middle of the woods with a large crowd, lead by the video store clerk, watching him. The biker he bumped into at the bar is also there. Burton sees the eviscerated Becky next to him, and his ex-best friend is on his other side, all cut up. The group is videotaping him as the biker, called The Poet, prepares to torture him. Burton manages to escape his bondage and takes off through the woods. The sadists continue videotaping his escape as he passes more and more tortured bodies. I don't want to give away the ending, but it is a doozy!

A fast-paced, well-delivered storyline with excellent acting from the entire cast, not to mention enough blood and nudity to satisfy, Golden Age definitely delivers. I loved its well-rounded storyline, especially the very end where everything comes together. Cullen Carr, as director, writer and lead actor, did a truly terrific job with this movie.

The small details throughout the movie are included by filmmaker/actor and horror/exploitation fan Carr for the enjoyment of other horror aficionados. For example, the video store clerk's bedroom is plastered with horror movie posters, including I Spit on Your Grave, Fright Night and a plethora of others. I was giggling with delight as I spied more and more...Also, at the end of the movie as Burton is running through the woods, we are treated to an homage of Cannibal Holocaust, as we see the iconic image of a girl shoved through a wooden pole.

It was also refreshing to see a man in peril instead of the customary "Final Girl." Instead of having to watch a girl with big boobs run around and scream, we get the emotionally hurting Burton, who is a much more fleshed out character than the standard woman-with-big-boobs-in-trouble cliche. Oh, and don't worry, you get to see plenty of T & A and gore throughout the rest of the movie. The opening scene features The Poet torturing a pretty young thing. After cutting her up, he rips out her tongue, strips her naked, places a hood on her head and hangs her.

I highly recommend this film, and it is perfectly described by Cullen Carr himself when he calls it "a love letter to the golden age of video and hate mail to all those who tarnished its gild." Within its excellent and horrifying storyline, it has a deeper question about exploitation/horror films we all watch.

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