Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Night To Dismember (1983)

Detective Tim O’Malley (the role of O’Malley is portrayed by an uncredited actor, and this guy should be thankful for his unknown identity here, because A Night To Dismember is a potential career killer) tries to piece together the mystery of a series of bizarre and brutal family murders. At first, O’Malley suspects Vicki Kent (Samantha Fox). Vicki was recently released from an insane asylum, and she has killed before, so Vicki does seem like the perfect suspect, but other members of the Kent family aren’t so innocent. Everyone displays signs of suspicious activity, as the story progresses. O’Malley must act quickly, because the bodies are piling up fast, and the crafty murderer is determined to finish off the entire Kent family once and for all.

Yeah, I will probably go on an endless rant here, because A Night To Dismember is one of the worst movies I have ever seen in my entire life. But to be fair, A Night To Dismember did suffer some serious production and distribution problems, so I’ll try to keep it short. It probably won’t work, because I can feel a long rant coming on, but I will try.

First of all, the narrating just kills this one. This was an incredibly stupid idea, and the narrating is one of the many weaknesses in this film. The O’Malley character narrates the entire film, and he actually describes some very basic actions/movements (answering the phone, opening doors, looking through a window, while a woman performs a striptease, etc.) Why was this truly necessary??? I don’t give a fuck about O’Malley looking through a window, or opening a door, or answering a telephone, because I can clearly see his every move, while I‘m watching the movie. Explaining the thoughts and personal feelings of the O’Malley character through narration is one thing, but having him describe simple movements was unbelievably stupid. And most of the characters don’t get a chance to talk throughout the film, because O’Malley’s narration interrupts everything. The characters do provide some dialogue in this one, but for the most part, you don’t hear them talk too much, because they’re speaking parts are overtaken by Detective Tim O’Malley’s narrating and some very shitty background music. Also, the narration absolutely kills ALL of the suspense in this film. Again, O’Malley describes EVERYTHING. He describes the kills in detail, and he describes the killer’s movements and actions before they prepare to deliver the final blow. This might have worked, if the narrating was used on a very limited basis, but this didn’t happen. You have to listen to Tim O’Malley describe everything that happens within the movie, and this can become so annoying after a while. James Earl Jones and Morgan Freeman have the perfect voices for narrating of any kind, but they wouldn’t have been able to save this one.

Low budget horror films usually don’t bother me, but the effects in this film looked so incredibly cheap and fake. It’s so obvious, and the atrocious makeup effects used in this film can’t be ignored. The violence, gore, and blood in this film are extremely laughable, and the killing scenes did bring some “Are you serious!” reactions out of me. The special effects in this film aren’t believable at all, the kills didn’t make me cringe, they didn’t gross me out, they didn’t force me to look away from the screen, and A Night To Dismember couldn’t scare a four year old, who watches Dora The Explorer and Barney on a regular basis.

And the acting in this film is just dreadful. NOBODY provides a believable performance in this film, and the acting really drags this one down. Apparently, Samantha Fox was noticeable porn actress during this time, and she might’ve had some talent in the world of porn (Fox is a member of the AVN Hall Of Fame), but Fox’s performance in this film was painful to watch. Fox was one of the main characters, and her performance wasn’t believable at all. Everything felt so forced and unrealistic, and I just couldn’t buy Fox as this crazy and bloodthirsty family member, who might go on a killing spree. And the uncredited actor, who portrays Detective Tim O’Malley didn’t bring anything special to the table. This film wants you to believe O’Malley as this smart and crafty detective, who can solve the murder mystery, but the O’Malley character just comes off as this clueless and creepy douchebag, who likes to watch women (who are suspects by the way) perform stripteases, while he stares through a window. The O’Malley character wasn’t a good detective. He just looks like a dumbass and a pervert most of the time, and the uncredited actor’s bland and painfully boring performance didn’t help anything at all. The rest of the cast was awful, and nobody showcased a convincing performance in this film. Everyone was so emotionless, and the cast sounded like they were reading their lines directly from cue cards.

The actors and actresses were pretty bad here, but the dubbed-over dialogue didn’t help anything. As I said before, A Night To Dismember was a victim of some production and distribution problems, and Doris Wishman (the director for this film. Wishman was also one of the producers) had to re-edit a lot of footage in this one. The dubbed-over dialogue in this film is just terrible, because the dialogue doesn’t sync up with the actors and actress as they speak on-screen, and you can clearly see this. The dubbed-over dialogue can cause some unintentionally funny moments, it makes this film feel so ridiculous, and the dubbed-over dialogue was another major problem for A Night To Dismember.

A Night To Dismember features a laundry list of problems, but the very end of this film just drove me nuts. They were going for a documentary style of filmmaking here. The O’Malley character tells the story of the killings in detail, and this film wants you to believe everything is real: The murders actually happened, and the killer is still on the lose. This is the illusion they were trying to sell to the audience. Well, this might’ve worked, but at the very end of the credits, A Night To Dismember reminds the audience “all characters and names are fictitious.” That’s right. A Night To Dismember tries to be a documentary style film, but they actually tell you everything isn’t real during the credits? As the credits begin to roll, they remind you to contact Detective Tim O’Malley, if you find any details and “all information will be kept confidential” when submitted. But they totally killed the illusion with the everything is “fictitious” stuff. You try to make a documentary style film, and then you remind the audience everything is fake at the very end? That doesn’t make sense at all.

Yes. I know. I’m watching a movie. You don’t have to remind me everything is fake, because this can totally kill the illusion for any film, and you destroy any credibility the “real” story might have had. “The fictitious” reminder brought a faceplam out of me, and A Night To Dismember did provide one of my more memorable “WTF!?!?“ moments, while watching a film, but not for good reasons, though.

Usually, on my normal scale of 0/10, I would give this film a zero, but this film did suffer some production problems, and A Night To Dismember was an incredible incoherent mess. I seriously couldn’t follow the story most of the time, and I actually had to rewind some parts of this movie, because I couldn’t grasp everything the first time around. Oh, and if you’re wondering, a complex and smart story didn’t cause this. The editing for this film is FUCKING TERRIBLE. Each scenes jumps from one to the next so quickly, and at times, the previous scene feels unfinished, because everything ends so abruptly. The sloppy transitions for each scene cause so much confusion, and for some odd reason, they felt the need to add in some random scenes of lighting storms. A Night To Dismember is a horrible train wreck, and I can’t give this film a normal score, because this film is hard to comprehend and hard to watch most of the time. This one lands on my rare list of unwatchables, because A Night To Dismember is just atrocious in every way. The acting is bad, the story is confusing and the plot really doesn’t make any sense at all, the effects are cheap and unbelievable, and the directing is very, very poor. A Night To Dismember doesn’t feature any redeemable qualities at all, and I really can‘t think of any positive highlights for this one.

A Night To Dismember provided a painful experience for me, but I chose to hold off on the zero rating for this film. This is an unwatchable film, but this colossal clusterfuck did suffer some production problems. A lot of already completed footage was destroyed, so Doris Wishman was forced to re-edit and re-shoot the good majority of this movie. A Night To Dismember doesn’t deserve a score as real film, and this was film was hard to follow and comprehend, so I’ll go with an N/A rating for this one, because this choppy and unclear disaster doesn’t deserve recognition as a competently made film. The lost footage really hurt this one, the final product was a total abomination, and I can’t give A Night To Dismember a real score. I just can’t. Although, I can’t imagine the original version of this film being any better than what I saw recently, because I didn‘t see signs of anything special in the renovated version. If someone forced me to make a choice between ramming a machete into my own gut, or watching this movie again, I would take the machete, easily.

Final Rating: N/A

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