19th Nov2021

Blood in the Snow 2021: ‘The Chamber of Terror’ Review

by Jim Morazzini

Stars: Timothy Paul McCarthy, Seth O’Shea, Sigourney McAuley, Ry Barrett, Jessica Vano, Ian Dyck, Robert Nolan, Storm Steenson, Ian Goff | Written and Directed by Michael Pereira

The Chamber of Terror begins with Nash Caruthers, excuse me, Mr. Nash Fucking Caruthers (Timothy Paul McCarthy; The Taste of Blood, Psycho Goreman), sealing the still living Tyler Ackerman (Seth O’Shea), second in command of the Ackerman crime family, up in a coffin.

A month later the tables turn and Nash finds himself captured by Casey (Sigourney McAuley) and Lennox (Ry Barrett; The Final Ride, Antisocial) pair of goons working for Tyler’s sister Ava (Jessica Vano; The Demolisher, Deadsight). From there he’s tossed into the Ackerman family’s torture facility, the titular The Chamber of Terror, where Dr. Killian (Ian Dyck; Improbabilia) awaits him.

Up until this point, The Chamber of Terror looks like a strange crime film of some sort It’s like an over-the-top version of a Tarantino film with its off-kilter take on a standard plot and bizarre characters. Writer/director Michael Pereira (Dillenger’s Diablos) does give us a couple of visual clues, such as Wolfcop turning up among the names on Caruthers’ shit list, that this may not merely be a mob film but nothing more than hints.

But as the interrogation starts to unfold some accidentally spilled blood causes The Chamber of Terror to take a hard and bloody turn. Not into torture porn as you may expect, but into the supernatural. We’re talking early Peter Jackson, Bad Taste, Dead Alive-style fountains of blood here. Given the film’s tone, Pereira wisely keeps the more disturbing acts of violence, such as the fate of Caruthers’ wife and daughter, off-screen. Instead, he lets us enjoy The Chamber of Terror’s outrageous bloodletting guilt-free.

The gore isn’t the only thing to enjoy though. McCarthy’s performance as the almost cartoonishly tough antihero feels like he’s playing Nicholas Cage playing Clint Eastwood playing the character. Once he arrives, family patriarch Russel Ackerman (Robert Nolan; Late Night Double Feature, Tiger Claws) exudes menace with the same ease as he breaks the fourth wall. And Ry Barrett gets a wild, intentionally hammy, monologue

Long on imagination and humour but short on scares or anything remotely serious, The Chamber of Terror is an absurd amount of fun. By the time it’s over The Chamber of Terror manages to drag in the spirit of a murdered witch (Storm Steenson), a kidnapped priest (Ian Goff) a combination funeral/exorcism and a large amount of cocaine.

The Chamber of Terror does have a couple of slow spots near the beginning and its bloody excesses and self-referential humour won’t be for everybody. And some viewers will just find it all a bit too silly. But if that’s the kind of thing that gets you laughing then The Chamber of Terror is one to keep an eye out for.

**** 4/5

The Chamber of Terror will make its world premiere tomorrow, November 20th, as part of this year’s Blood in the Snow Film Festival. You can check the festival’s website for ticket information.
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Review originally posted on Voices From the Balcony.

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