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29th Jan 08
There's a mystical artifact known as 'The Spear of Fantasy' which is desperately desired by a Nazi cult led by an ex-SS officer Oppenheimer (Peter Rands) who will stop at nothing, killing everyone who stands in their way. Their intention is to use the Spear to bring the Third Reich back into the world.
Oppenheimer is joined in his quest by an animal rights campaigner (Dean Mather), who takes his love on them way too far. And then there is Loin (Shane Mather) who is hiding the spear and is looking to use it to obliterate all political correctness.
Back in December 2006 this reviewerís one star review of director Shane Matherís Excreamer saw the man himself contribute to our forum page. Mr. Mather was a little disgruntled that we hadnít got his movie. He appeared to be saying that he considered the reason behind the one star rating was down to this reviewer having an issue with low budget fare.
This was never the case at all. It was down to the fact that the movie was just shockingly constructive irrespective of budget. If anything the budget appeared to be his issue as he recently stated in an interview that he wished he had more money to make the film as he had envisaged. Nothing flowed, the script and direction were haphazard as was the editing and just donít get me started on that ill-judged rape scene!
So imagine my surprise when a preview copy of the directorís latest movie arrived to be reviewed. Had I grossly upset the other guys at EatmyBrains? Was this my punishment for saying I preferred Hostel: Part 2 to its predecessor?
As I always do prior to watching a movie I did some homework and surmised that I was going to be in for more of the same as Excreamer albeit at nearly twice the running time. I also felt oddly compelled to watch it as soon as possible and not just to get it out of the way, but also from the perspective that it is so much easier to write a review for a crap flick than for one you like.
Taking around a year to make, and with a cost of around six thousand pounds, the resulting picture is a more efficient machine than Matherís last outing. The framing is better, the editing flows and the plot isnít lost amongst the gore. Itís still a little muddled in places but it does flow, some of that is down to the editing being spot on. Shot on HD the film looks great too and itís pleasing also to report that the make-up / visual effects work has improved too!
Shane Mather has made no secret that his mission is to push as many provocative buttons as he can in these politically correct times and thereís no change there as he chucks abuse at what he referred to in an interview as Ďthe odious Marxist parasites attempting to shut down freedom of speech.í If you don't like what you see then apparently you're in the wrong for not getting it.
This reviewer got the point, but surely when someone is renting a film that promises extreme violence and gore they aren't interested in whether the director is making a point about how every minority is being depicting in a good light by Hollywood and reacting against it? I sure as shit don't. Seeing him dredge it up again and again for two hours is akin to being stuck with a pub bore that talks the same bollocks each time. He may have a point but after a short while you find yourself switching off or ignoring them completely. Why spend so much energy on cheap shots when Fantacide finally proves what Mather failed to do with Excreamer and that's to entertain.
As with Excreamer women still get a rough deal in Fantacide, with rape still prevalent in a couple of times including one that involves a vodka bottle. As before, it adds little and feels tacked on just for the sake of it and is again out of step with the fun gore violence elsewhere. Again Mather plays up the homosexual stereotype, although given his alleged issue with them he seems very keen to have as many characters indulge in man fun and fondle each other as possible.
As you would expect, the cast consists mainly of friends and their acquaintances, so the acting is gonna be of a variable quality. However, the performances here are overall above average and even those that don't quite cut the mustard are not on screen long enough to jar. As he did with Excreamer, Shane Mather delivers a solid measured performance and is by far the best actor on display.
However, in a film that isn't about such piffling concerns as performance, Mather will take second place in most viewersí hearts to that of Peter Rands who plays the story's chief-git Oppenheimer. Rands' hunched over, rather delicate aged-form gets to spit out some extraordinary dialogue in the shape of anti-Jewish remarks and calling pretty much everyone a 'cock-sucker'. All of which is funnier for coming out of such a wee man who makes no attempt at the German accent the character calls for. Intentional or otherwise Rands' Oppenheimer is a comic treat in a film where the comic content doesnít always quite hit the mark.
In the writing department there is still the odd moment where things do not quite flow but hey, itís a far cry from the muddled mess of last time round. There is also a marked improvement in the make-up FX from Shane's brother Dean, itís more sophisticated than the well-done but top heavy blood sprays of before. The plotís pacing ensures that the scenes of splatter never get too much, even for the less discerning gore fan, remaining fresh and welcome rather than all the time.
One quibble regarding the distribution of red stuff - it shows up very well on camera so do we really need most of the cast that meet grisly ends wearing white or light coloured clothing all the time? Dean Mather's fake blood doesn't need such emphasising; it shows up well on any colour of clothing. After two hours that include eating a cat, enjoying bloody tampons and eye-gouging, Dean comes up with the aces at the climax with some nifty 'heads being squished' effects Ė the manís got talent!
Mather has a fondness for music of the 50ís and 60ís, a fondness that is evident in his movies. Fantacide is no exception, from the professional opening titles sequence through its two hour time there is pretty much a vintage song chosen specifically for the scene in question rather than placed there just for the sake of it. The choices are inspired and work well in the movie, the chirpy tone rather sinisterly complimenting the likes of a cat rape scene (yes, you did read that right).
Fantacide feels just a little overlong at 117 minutes running time, but I donít see that stopping it from achieving some form of cult status amongst extreme gore freaks. Mather says on his website that the finished movie is one he is proud of and so he should be. Itís a step in a far healthier direction and this reviewer will be keen to see what his next picture will be. Drop the political bent and the next movie could just turn out to be his finest yet if he continues to improve at this rate.
There were no extras available on the preview disc however if you do purchase the movie there are the following on the two disc special edition to delve into:-
Widescreen presentation of the film (full-screen is available on request), a thirty-minute making of, deleted scenes, alternate versions, outtakes, behind the scenes, a photo gallery and two trailers.
6th Jun 05 Imagine if you will, being middle aged, bloated, in a boring, thankless job and trapped in a loveless marriage. And thatís the way itís going to continue until youíre 6 feet under. You get late night phone calls from an old friend.