13th Oct2013

31 Days of Horror: ‘Smash Cut’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: David Hess, Sasha Grey, Jesse Buck, Michael Berryman, Herschell Gordon Lewis | Written by Ian Driscoll | Directed by Lee Demarbe


Abel Whitman (Hess) is a director on the edge – the edge of the industry, the edge of society and the edge of insanity – and his films are universally panned by audiences and critics alike. Seeking solice in the arms of a stripper he calls his muse, Whitman gets involved in a car accident which takes her life and drives him completely insane. Inspired by the grisly aftermath of the crash and reasoning that his films have failed because the effects do not look real enough, Whitman sets out on a killing spree, harvesting organs and blood from his victims and using them to create realistic gore effects. When critics praise this new found realism, Whitman cannot help but continue his murderous ways – ways, it turns out, he is most adept in getting away with. That it until an undercover reporter and the sister of one of his victims (Sasha Grey), becomes his new lead actress. She teams up with private eye, Issac Beaumonde (Jesse Buck) to catch Whitman in the act…

Taking cues from the work of independent filmmakers such as Godard, Pierre Le Fou and the king of exploitation movies Herschell Gordon Lewis, Smash Cut is a satire on low budget horror filmmaking and a tribute to the aforementioned Lewis. Director Demarbe injects the film with a knowing touch, events unfold with one eye winking at the audience and the other eye firmly on creating a love letter, both technically and thematically, to the exploitation classics of the 1960′s.

Also key to the film’s success is the star turn from David Hess. A long time favourite of the grindhouse crowd after star turns in the original Last House on the Left, House on the Edge of the Park and Hitch Hike, Hess brings years of experience to the role of Abel Whitman, able to switch from self important director to scenery chewing deranged madman a the flick of a switch. The rest of the cast is a veritable who’s who of exploitation: Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes), Ray Sager (Wizard of Gore), Sasha Grey (The Fashionistas) and the godfather of gore himself, H.G. Lewis. One ‘cast member’ that cannot go unmentioned is Michael Berryman’s wig which has to be the worst use of a hairpiece in cinematic history – even beating Bruce Willis’ recent efforts!

With a killer script and top notch direction from Demarbe, Smash Cut is perfect DVD fodder. Whilst it may not be as appealing to those unfamiliar with grindhouse cinema and in particular the work of Herschell Gordon Lewis, for those in the know, Smash Cut is a fun throwback to the long lost era of 42nd Street filmmaking.


Comments are closed.