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CampBlood Reviews: Senseless Rants from a Picky Sissy

 

Final Examination Fred Olen Ray (as Ed Raymond) 2003

"Through the Looking Ass"

Hey - remember when Brent Huff was actually hot?

Yeah, me neither.

So perhaps it's somehow less of a tragedy that he's now been relegated to the "patchwork thriller/horror/porn direct-to-video Kari Wuhrer film" league. You know, the insanely twisted universe where fuckups like Antonio Sabato Jr. are headliners and Monique Parent gets her own dressing room. We are through the looking glass here, people: Steve Railsback is holding court in the corner banquette, with Debbie Rochon and Angie Everhart on either arm. All heads turn when Richard Greico and Natasha Henstridge strut in to hold court for the evening over the hottest club in loserdom, and the Coreys are still unable to get in the door.

Even considering that this is an entirely different beast than, say, "Jeepers Creepers", I still was determined to review it just as I would any other horror film. That lasted about 40 seconds. By the end of the intolerably long 98-minute running time, I was cackling gleefully and writing down all the best lines. Here's what I came up with:

"It's totally important that this not make it into the media."
"Why don't you tell me, Mister Hotshot L.A. detective?"
"I haven't even been laid since I got here."
"I like my boobs, and I like to work."
"Now get the oil and finish me."
"It really took everyone by surprise when she drove her car off that bridge and killed herself."
"That story's pretty thin"; "It's downright bulemic."

and my favorite: "Think the lieutenant's gay?"; "Could be -- he's real tidy. Always talks with his hands"
.

Anyway, Huff -- who hit his prime in 1984's "The Perils of Gwendolyn" -- is now a puffy cop who gets transferred to Hawaii after a reckless (and out-of-place) car chase through L.A. Hold on -- is that what they do to you for endangering the lives of hundreds of Californians? Sign me up for the El Lay Pee Dee! So the puffy Huff finds himself working with Kari Wuhrer (as most has-beens do) and of course a series of murders (only 2, all told) at a local resort get them into hot water faster than you can say "meet me on the Aloha Deck".

It seems a group of low-rent porno actresses -- I mean, former sorority sisters -- have been invited to pose for Cavalier magazine, a strange request considering that they graduated 5 years ago, and even stranger considering that even 5 years ago these women were neither 22 nor attractive enough for print. Nonetheless, they've been invited to this resort and shortly after arriving, what do you think happens?

It turns into a Skinemax soft-core porn. Dammit, they got us again! Those clever fucks at the Skinemax Titflick Factory have pulled the wool over our eyes YET AGAIN, this time hiding a silicon-enhanced gropefest in the guise of an innocent-looking slasher movie. PS -- the mask and knife on the cover? Never appear in the film. The two murders -- TWO! --- are both strangulations enacted in hot tubs by a man in a ski mask. So here we are, after a car crash suicide and a lengthy police chase, expecting someone somewhere to get perforated by some psycho... and instead we get a dimestore Kato Kaelin and a blonde bumpercar doing the fake slap-and-tickle in a public jacuzzi. Great. The music sounds like something straight out of a home improvement show, so of course I'm sold. I fast forward through the nastiness, only to find more and more and yet still more to come -- or rather, not to come. Tedious, it is. I mean, if you're going to throw lots of sex at us, at least make it interesting!

Let's take the scene between Debbie Rochon and Brent Huff, for example. First off, they're wearing matching blouses, which is creepy. When Debbie finally swoops in for the kill, Brett lies there like a beached whale and lets her rub her unctious face all over his. Perhaps that's some Hawaiian sign language for "you are about to violate me". The matching blouses open up, and I honestly don't know which of them has the bigger breasts; and as Brett is on his back, I'm sure his look flatter than usual. Debbie rubs her face around on Brett's CopperTanned neck for a minute or two, and they collapse, their passion sated. Convincing? No. But no less than anything else in this film, so I guess I really can't expect more.

I find myself drawn to minute, throwaway details. One would not think that a film that features a character named Hugh Janus (and several scenes which exist only to draw attention to this clever gag) would have much in the way of subtlety. But here's one would be wrong. The film is actually a trove of bizarre and unexplained detail. For example, in the first office scene, Hufflepuff is seen checking his watch (the action is even given a POV shot, in case we aren't sure what he is looking at down there on his wrist). The odd thing is that the watch that he is wearing is about 5 times the size of a normal watch -- the face stretches across his entire wrist. Odd? Yes. But not even half as odd as the fact that, almost an hour and a half later, the character of the college professor calls his assistant Sam, and lo and behold -- Sam is wearing the EXACT SAME WATCH. Wow! Some would dismiss this as bad wardrobe maintenence. I say there's something much deeper at work here. Perhaps the hand of a genius?

Other precious details include a folk-singing file clerk, a records employee named Rita who reads files out loud to herself for about five minutes (hooked on phonics, I suppose), and the fact that seasoned police vet Kari Wuhrer sneaks up behind two sorority girls who are carrying a gun and whispers, "Hey, girls!", and of course is shot as a result. Note to self: when I see a bimbo in a bikini toting lead, don't sneak up behind her and whisper. Got it.

The film, directed by shlockmeister Fred Olen Ray (although it was apparently bad enough for him to take his name off it), is nonetheless a Who's Who of loserness. Example: the professor is played by Skinemax regular Robert Donovan, whose spotty direct-to-video legacy is a lesson to all aspiring actors: anyone who begins his career with Goldie Hawn's "Protocol" and an episode of "Misfits of Science" will end in ruin.

Rating (out of 5):