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directed by Mark Polonia
USA 2014

 

The thirty-first low budget horror film of Mark Paolonia (HALLOWEENIGHT), CAMP BLOOD FIRST SLAUGHTER - distinguishing itself from CAMP BLOOD (2000), CAMP BLOOD 2 (2000), LOST TALES FROM CAMP BLOOD (2009), and CAMP BLOOD: THE MUSICAL (2006) - has a novel if not entirely unpredictable twist but an atrocious execution. Professor Mallory (Cindy Wheeler) challenges her sparsely-attended urban legends class to debunk the local "Clown of Camp Blood", a machete-wielding masked assailant credited with at least thirty-five deaths over the decades. Over the weekend, her class of six head out to the woods never to be heard from again. Three months later, the footage of their fateful trip is discovered and aired on television (with content warnings) to reveal the horrifying truth of "Camp Blood".

Flat acting, unpaid actor given indulgent long takes to demonstrate their musical ability, home movie videography (even in the non-"found footage" scenes), and ropey special make-up effects are not deal breakers when it comes to direct-to-video no-budget horror flicks (even in the age of fancy consumer-grade cameras and souped-up budget editing software); but CAMP BLOOD repeatedly sabotages itself to the point where it is not quite certain if the structure is an attempt to save a problematic production or an attempt at a narrative reversal. Said "found footage" - inexplicably distilled and edited together - constantly violates the rules of the format with cross-cutting during dialogue sequences, shots outside of the cameras' POV (including the killer's POV), the unconvincing video glitches and fast-forwarding overlays rarely actually advance or create jumps in the sequences. The CGI bloodshed and wounds which are worse than even the most thrown-together practical gore effects (and there actually are some which do indeed demonstrate which is preferable). Worst of all, is that any suspense that found footage might have possessed is thoroughly dispelled by a preceding flashy montage of all of the death scenes to come. Strangely not the worst I've seen; in fact, at times it pleasingly echoes that glut of SOV (shot-on-video) - consumer or primitive broadcast quality - flicks of the eighties when regional exploitation filmakers adapted to the studio takeover of movie theaters by competing in the video rental market with product specifically created for that medium, but viewers would be better off looking into those than seeking this one out (although it'll probably be the most accessible).

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: 20 May 2014 (USA)

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DVD Review: MVD Visual - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

MVD Visual

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:13:09
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.95 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: MVD Visual

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• none

DVD Release Date: May 20th, 2014
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

It's hard to say if all of the artifacts are the fault of the single-layer encoding (the bitrate is more than sufficient for a seventy-minute film on a DVD-5) or the videography. The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track is similarly at the mercy of the original audio mix where music, a couple sound effects, and some actual ambient sound design are usually clearer than the dialogue. There are no extras.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

MVD Visual

Region 0 - NTSC

 




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