Sunday, January 3, 2010

Scalps (1983)

"This ain't no Evil Dead" - Fred Olen Ray

It's an honest truth.

Fred Olen Ray is a shitty director.

His films are static, cheap, bereft of any ideas and filled with big boobed bimbos that can't act their way out of a paper bag. He must be a good guy, because he's directed over 110 films since starting in the early 80's. He even directed INVISIBLE MOM 1, 2 and MOM, YOU'RE OUT OF SIGHT (which I haven't seen, but I assume that it involves some form of SEE-THROUGHNESS)

SCALPS is an early effort from Ray. It was his attempt to get into the business properly with a product he could sell. On the commentary he bemoans the fact that he film was taken out of his hands and re-edited because they thought it was boring. And still is. Nothing happens. A bunch of mumbling teens wander the out of focus desert till the credits roll. There's a rape scene, a throat slash, an arrow to an eye, one scalping and one decapitation (Played twice in the film). That's it in the excitement department. Nothing else happens. We're forced to watch these completely uninteresting stock characters walk and walk and walk...

"The worst thing I could hear was 'Two tickets for Scalps'" - Fred Olen Ray on the Commentary Track

On the other hand, the Commentary track on the DVD is an engaging hour and a half of conversation between Fred Olen Ray and the producer. They're open about their dislike for the film, Fred talks at length about the hoops he had to jump through to release it uncut and they are chatty about the horrible difficulties (and terrible actors) they faced. Weirdly, Fred admits that he doesn't like gore or exploitation elements (The rape scene was forced on hims by producers) which would explain why his films fall short on the cheap thrills instead of going for broke.

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