"While you're here, you'll never suffer from a dull moment." - That's a quote from the new film...Amerikan Holokaust...which is, for the most part, true. Especially if you are in the mood for an uncomfortable ride into depravity. Shall we discuss?
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The film follows the deviant exploits of two Vietnam veterans who are disheartened with the world they live in and decide to act out their inner-most demented fantasies in order to "fuck" the world for treating them like disposable tools. A pretty ambitious premise, especially given the lack of budget and limited resources the filmmakers had in which to create the film. And yet, where the film stumbles technically, it more than makes up for with its sharp, calculating writing.
Amerikan Holokaust is the brainchild of dynamic duo, Chris Woods and John Miller. The exploitation wizards behind the popular YouTube show called The Sleaze Box, where they put together top 5 lists and explore the world of cult exploitation films. Woods handles directing duties while Miller produces and writes (with collaboration from Chris). These guys should be applauded for the brave effort set forth in creating this film. And if their feature debut is any indication of what they are capable of...I can't wait to see what's next!
The film is pretty much a gory found-footage grimier second cousin to The Devil's Rejects. Except without the dark humor and different locations. This is not a funny film. Not even in the slightest. The film hardly ever leaves the house, too. And while the film contains a plethora of human nudity, it's all pretty goddamn far from the hot and sexy stuff that you'll remember from your usual brand of exploitation fare. Make no mistake, Amerikan Holokaust is not for the squeamish. This isn't the kind of film that you can just view with a casual horror/exploitation-loving background. If you have trouble dealing with old dudes jerkin' their man-meat with disemboweled intestines and slave women eating their own feces, then you may wanna just stick to your safe PG-13 remakes. However, if you want something unflinching and cold-blooded...this may very well be your film.
Jules Sciero and Rue Goregrinder are the obvious stand-outs of the film. Jules plays Michael Mashburn ("Mash"), a disgruntled, well-mannered psychopath who is fed up with the world he lives in. Together with his former Lieutenant, "Twan" (an over-the-top Bob Glazier), they set upon a grizzly path of human torture and gory killing. Along the way they bring home an unfortunate woman of the night played by Goregrinder. Both Sciero and Goregrinder really deliver performances that you might see in more mainstream films so, it is a treat to see them deliver their lines with a sincere professionalism in a film like this. Particularly when "Mash" starts in on the speech regarding the first woman he's killed. Sciero speaks with a subtle confidence that really shows his talents as an actor. His performance is all the more harrowing when you realize that his character could be the old Vietnam veteran next door.
The gore and imagery shown in Amerikan Holokaust is truly disturbing. Normally, in films with tiny budgets, the gore sort of gets the shaft in favor of subtlety. SFX guru Marcus Koch really does his best to throw every last drop of blood in your face...and really well, too! There's a scene later on where "Twan" shows "Mash" what happened to his weewee after a night of unprotected pleasure with a whore and we get to see every last detail. The scene kind of caught me off guard and I seriously fell out of my chair. The shock value is on par with the second Human Centipede film...and I remember several people walking out of the theater when the "fun" really got going in that movie.
While the film sometimes suffers from a minuscule budget and rough acting, the heart of Amerikan Holocaust beats in the smaller intimate moments of inhuman self-revelations. As if to reveal the true monster within us all. It is a brutal reflection of society in many ways and does a fine task of employing some of America's colder realities in which to tell a story. It is especially all the scarier whenever our monsters are given motives in which to carry out their evil chores, like the characters written in this film. Hell, you might very well see some of these characters on the evening news. With a bigger budget and wider distribution...Amerikan Holokaust would be absolutely fucking dangerous.
Amerikan Holokaust is most certainly not for everyone. It teeters that transparent line of exploitation commentary and uncomfortable X-rated filmmaking for most of its running time so, it is a tough film to sit through. Especially for those that have never heard of an August Underground film. There were even scenes that I had trouble sitting through (the bathroom scene)...and I'm as desensitized as they come. Still, if you can get past all of that stuff...Amerikan Holokaust is a film by two exciting filmmakers who share the sincerest passion for their craft. It is not so much an exercise in exploitation as much as it is a twisted journey into the evil world that mankind has created. A scary taste of reality that will not be easily cleansed from your palette. Proceed with caution.
Thanks for reading,