Reviews

Bloody Video Horror That Made Me Puke On My Aunt Gertrude (1989)

Originally published in Bleeding Skull! A 1980s Trash-Horror Odyssey.

If you need a step-by-step guide on how to connect a VCR and a TV, you’ve come to the right place. Because that happens for a full two minutes in this movie.

The title is pure hyperbole. In my case, the “hook” worked. I watched Bloody Video Horror That Made Me Puke On My Aunt Gertrude. It was a SOV film with some horror (a dismemberment via handsaw occurs offscreen), a bit of puke (a hobo barfs on a clown’s shoes), and no sign of Aunt Gertrude. People struggled to make up lines on the spot. Teens with bad facial hair pretended to be adults. Interrogation scenes droned on without the benefit of a single edit. I was not happy about any of this.

Ramon is a clerk at Video Magic. He’s like a red-headed Ben Affleck, if Ben Affleck grew up in Staten Island and wore velvet workout pants. Joe is the owner of Video Magic. Vaseline from his hair drips onto Ramon’s detective magazine. Joe convinces Ramon to watch a porno named Candy Cunts In A Corner at his apartment. Once there, Ramon hooks up a VCR to a TV, but leaves before the porno starts. Joe presses play. Oh shit! Instead of Candy, Joe gets a snuff video, one that we saw being filmed earlier by Hassan. Hassan wears a large fake beard and talks like Peter Sellers in The Party. From there, Ramon becomes falsely accused, a man eats an apple, and the technique of placing two people against a wall and having them talk is fully explored.

When teenagers pick up a camera to make a trash-horror film, special things can happen. Things like Nathan Schiff’s Long Island Cannibal Massacre and Tim Ritter’s Day Of The Reaper. Schiff and Ritter’s lack of life experiences led them to create films that were disconnected from the world of adults. That’s what makes them so engaging and fresh. These films resulted from the unchecked creativity of the young minds that created them. Bloody Video goes the other way. It’s what happens when teenagers get obsessed with recreating their favorite scenes from films by Sam Raimi and Brian De Palma.

That’s not to say that no one was trying. There’s plenty of creativity behind the camera. Artsy shots through partially closed doors and underneath glass. Swooping, Evil Dead-style camera movements that appear to originate from on top of radio controlled cars. A Casio soundtrack that combines the classical stylings of A Clockwork Orange, the Western bop of Gunsmoke, and someone holding down a single note for thirty seconds. This is a home movie that most likely meant the world to the people who created it, but little to us in terms of entertainment. Everything takes too long, the in-jokes grate, and there’s no sense of organization. I was bored after twenty minutes. Still, kudos to these kids for convincing a girl with a purple mohawk to take off her clothes and stand in front of the camera.

From the Archives