Monday, July 23, 2007

Fantasia Reviews Pt. 7

HELL'S GROUND / ZIBAHKHANA (Omar Khan, 2007, Pakistan)

The makers of HELL'S GROUND really did themselves a disservice at Fantasia by showing a collection of bizarre clips from "Lollywood" (Pakistani) films before beginning the feature. With segments from other Pakistan fare like HASEENA ATIMBUM / ATOMIC BEAUTY (Saeed Ali Khan, 1990), DA KHWAR LASME SPOGMAY / THE CAT-BEAST (Shehnaz Begum, 1997), and more, the audience was prepped for some absolutely bizarro fare.

What they saw in HELL'S GROUND, however, was not bizarre. Rather, it was the same, lame crap that connoisseurs of amateur horror cinema have seen time and again; bad acting, horrible production values, and a lame script. The only difference between this and any number of shot-on-video craptastic horror films that flood my mailbox every month is that the cast is speaking Urdu rather than English. The winking in-jokes ("Look, there's a Leatherface doll!"), the casting of has-beens (Rehan from THE LIVING CORPSE makes an appearance, surely Lloyd Kaufman or Conrad Brooks would have been in a U.S. version), and so on. HELL'S GROUND hits all the marks of bad cinema. In any language, it stinks.

HELL'S GROUND holds the dubious distinction of being the only film at Fantasia that I walked out on.


Omar said...

A leatherface doll actually never appeared in the movie nor was that quote ever uttered during the duration of the movie. The doll that you might have thought was a Leatherface doll was actually one of Adnan Sami Khan, a huge pop star here in South Asia. And, I was actually at the screening in Montreal too and noticed you walking out well before the doll scenes (you were the ONLY person who left the movie out of 400 plus people!). But not to begrudge or even attempt to argue with you about the merits or lack of them regarding the film Hell's Ground. The only issue is that you refer to events that never occurred in the film and even if they had, it was way beyond the point that you LEFT the auditorium.........which leaves your review a little stilted and too clever by half.

Mike White said...

Hey Omar, good to hear from you! Wish I had known you were at Montreal so I could have bought you a beer. Missing the Bubonic site quite a lot.

Thanks for "calling" me on the doll thing -- got that info from someone who stayed.

Mike White said...

Oh, and to clarify, that "Look, there's a Leatherface doll!" is the reaction of a hypothetical audience member, not a cast member of HELL'S GROUND. Kind of like, "Oh, look, there's a pile of Mondo Macabro DVDs!"

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