Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Dude Bro Party Massacre III: Fake 1980s Nostalgia

There was a time when you could see some pretty weird cultural detritus wash up on UHF channels. Now you have to go out of your way to see grade z micro-budget oddities. That’s the downside when every media outlet aspires to produce the next prestige television show. However, your enthusiasm for nostalgic grunge will probably be curbed by Tomm Jacobsen, Michael Rousselet, and Jon Salmon’s Dude Bro Party Massacre III (trailer here), a selection of this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival, which releases today on VOD.

It is the 1980s. We can tell because there is a picture of Pres. Reagan in nearly every scene. The Delta Bis are the worst house on Chico’s fraternity row, but they are survivors. Not only have they escaped punishment for their often fatal pranks, they also lived to tell of their nearly fatal encounters with the serial killer Motherface in Dude Bro Party Massacres I and II. At least, some of them did. For a while, Brock Chirino was one of the lucky ones, but his luck runs out in the opening scenes. Fortunately, he has an identical twin brother to investigate his murder. Brent Chirino couldn’t buy a clue at the clue store, but he looks halfway bright compared to the dim bulbs surrounding him.

According to its framing device, DBPM3 only exists on a VHS tape some bored kid recorded off his local UHF channel back in the day. Supposedly, the Reagan administration destroyed all other known copies, presumably because it is nearly unwatchable. Frankly, DBPM3 is arguably too ambitious for its own good, throwing in a cabal of satanic cops, a suspiciously needy girlfriend, and a grieving father bent on avenging the daughter who died when the Delta Bi’s flooded their small town as a prank. Perhaps the only thing they neglected to include was fun.

The 5-Second Film team best known for their web videos obviously understands the affection for low budget straight to drive-in and video 80s horror films, but not nearly enough of their jokes land. They try to compensate with some unexpectedly surreal imagery, making the film an unusually erratic viewing experience. Still, there are two amusingly appropriate cameos from Larry King and Nina Hartley. A lot of people watched them in the Eighties, but nobody wants to admit it on the record. When it comes to the 5-Second rep players, probably Kelsey Gunn shows the most polish as Samantha, the desperate girlfriend of a bizarrely chaste Delta Bi.

There are some funny bits sprinkled throughout the film, but the extended gags misfire. There is also a short stinger that is about as pointless as most stingers. Probably the best aspect of the film is its retro-distressed look. Watching it brings back memories of taping old horror films off late night television and pausing during commercials. If that stirs enough memories to motivate you, Dude Bro Party Massacre III is now available on iTunes and it will have a special free Comic Con screening this Friday (7/10) in San Diego. As a further note of interest, there is a DBPM3 AMA scheduled this morning (7/7) on reddit, which is the real horror show this week thanks to the censorship-inclined management.