Video Demons Do Psychotown (1989)

Kiss my ass, person who made this cover

Kiss my ass, person who made this cover

Screw you, Troma. Screw you forever. I hope the tiny amount of money you made buying this film, repackaging it with a lurid title and selling it to suckers (read: fans) like me was worth it. I admire Troma’s gonzo atttitude towards filmmaking, crashing the Cannes and Sundance film festivals, making cheap and insane horror movies, but the other side of their business is rotten and every bit as bad as The Asylum or the SyFy Channel.

In case you’ve not read any of my Troma reviews before, what they’ll do is buy the rights to bargain basement horror movies, often from overseas (although this one isn’t). Then they’ll change the title to something wild and exciting, give it a bright, fun-looking video cover and release it to the world. To the dishonourable list of “Rabid Grannies” (neither rabid nor grannies) and “A Nymphoid Barbarian In Dinosaur Hell” (there are at least dinosaurs, I suppose) we can add “Video Demons Do Psychotown”, for which not one single word is true.

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I’m not even being facetious. It’s about a haunted hotel, and how the rest of the tiny town (who are all into tarot cards and suchlike, not that it makes a blind bit of difference to the movie) kills the former owner, “Murder On The Orient Express” style. A college student comes along to make a documentary about the renovation of the hotel, but his psychic girlfriend starts realising there’s a dark secret…plus, she can sense ghosts.

SCREW THIS MOVIE – the “documentary” is appallingly shot, and to pad out the running time we see them do a thing, then rewatch the footage of that thing several times when they’re back at home. One of their friends is also in the film class, and he’s done a music video, so we watch that IN ITS ENTIRETY!

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If I’d made this film, I’d have been ashamed to show it. If I was Troma, I’d have been ashamed to buy it, and then been ashamed to expect people to pay money to see it. With the endless padding (some scenes are re-watched by the cast 10 times) the air of it being a half-formed idea put out into the world with “this’ll do” is perhaps the worst thing about it. I’ll leave the final word with crew member Brett Colarik, who posted of his experience working on this movie with director Alessandro DeGaetano:

“DeGaetano is a complete moron. COMPLETE. No, let me put that another way – a thieving conceited mean-spirited moron! A liar, also. OK, can you tell I don’t like him? But he is a THIEF, that’s for sure! Let me say this real quick: NOBODY on the crew liked the jerk. He was consistently rude, obnoxious, and over-bearing (did I mention extremely conceited?), and when you combine that with a VERY VERY low I.Q., this is what you get.

DeGaetano ended up splitting town, and failed to pay everyone thousands of dollars in back-pay, owed to many of the crew.”

Rating: thumbs down

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PS – DeGaetano waited 7 years to make his next film, and that was the ISCFC-covered “Project: Metalbeast”. We sort of enjoyed that, but knowing now what a horrible guy the director was makes me retroactively like it less.

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