Blog Archive

Thursday, October 29, 2009

18. A Night to Dismember


A Night to Dismember (1983)
**** on the Badfilm scale
Dir. Doris Wishman
Fright Level: 2/10
Scare type: horror of personality

What do you do when a disgruntled employee destroyed a third of your footage? Or you don't record sound on location and can't seem to get actors to come back to read for you? In the case of A Night To Dismember, the solution is to employ a narrator. One of the more invasive narrators in film history, who at times even voices the female characters. It's like listening to the book on tape of the film, or an old slide show narrator while watching the film. The film itself is in a league with Winterbeast and Turkish pop films as far as sense making. Space and temporality have no rules, the musical score is ridiculously taken from other films, the editing may be the worst I've ever seen. This is one of those films that's celebrated because even if you tried your hardest there is no way you'd make a film as badly or as strange as this one. The "plot" is about a series of axe murders, and that actually works with the form of the film which feels like it was cut with an axe. Wishman, often dubbed the Female Ed Wood though maybe he should be called the female Doris Wishman, does her best to salvage the film, creating very strange sequences where footage is used from other times/places or out of sync sound doubles over post sound (a strange double crying in one scene is quite effective). What keeps this from being a 5-star badfilm? The constant narration gets annoying, even though its seriousness keeps the film unintentionally funny.

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