I hope you haven’t missed me too much. Though it’s okay to admit you barely noticed I was gone. In my absence, Rob Hunter somehow managed to temporarily avert his eyes from Japanese pornography of questionable legality to watch a few flicks. We’ve been working through the After Dark Horrorfest, but today we take a quick diversion back to the rest of the world with Laid to Rest, an Anchor Bay Entertainment release available on DVD now.
In Laid to Rest, we follow the plight of a young girl who wakes up in a coffin and the ordeal that follows as she tries to escape her hellish fate. Freeing herself from the coffin, she witnesses a murder at the hands of a Chrome Skulled villain (named Chrome Skull!) who then sets his sights, and video recorders, on capturing and killing her. Any fools unfortunate enough to get in his way or try to help this amnesiac woman generally find themselves on the wrong end of a knife. That’s the sharp end, for you keeping tabs at home.
Laid to Rest racks up a very respectable kill tally, coming to a stop right around 12. Good variety, lots of victims, all in all a good time for stabbing.
The film really shines in this department – an abundance of practical death sequences really rock the spot. There is a bloody montage at the beginning, some cadavers, an impalement, a brutal stab to the brain, a face is sliced off, a hand gets stabbed, a stomach is cut open. Yet there is more! A head gets cut off and another head gets blown off by a shotgun. A head explodes, a face is ripped off and a skull is smashed. Nice.
We see a pair of boobs pretty early on, though the owner is quickly killed. Later there are some more boobs belonging to a woman in a not so great state of health, who is then killed, natch. Towards the end we get a glimpse of some very large boobs in a very large bra.
Don’t show your boobs or you’ll get stabbed. Also, when you see someone with a knife, don’t talk. Just shoot.
Laid to Rest got off to a kind of a rough start for me and though the excellent special effects and high body count ultimately convinced me this was a good movie, it never really reached ‘great.’ In teh beginning, there is a distracting visual style, you know the kind, camera a bit all over the place, a little too much going on for my tastes – but it didn’t last long. This slasher also features two of the absolutely dumbest people ever caught on film. One is our heroine. She gets clocked on the head and that erases her memory. It also makes her forgot words like coffin and cemetery and apparently amnesia doesn’t allow you to understand the concept of a corded telephone. She literally has the police on the line, who are tracing the call, and then stupidly walks and walk and walks until the phone cord rips out. Brilliant! She also calls coffins “dead boxes” or something equally annoying.
Our second genius all star is Chrome Skull himself. Don’t get me wrong, he looks cool and does a good job of killing, but I find it hard to believe this idiot is some uncatchable serial killer. Why, you may ask? Well I’ll tell you. First, he video tapes his crimes and mails them to the FBI. Second, he seemingly brings all his victims back to the same small town. Third, he drives a custom car with a license plate that says “Chrome Skull” on it. He also has what are obviously custom ordered items, such as a chrome briefcase decorated with his image. Add that to the vain tattoo on his chest which is, of course, his mask and knives. If you still think this guy is capable of evading the cops – how about this one: in his custom Chrome Skull-mobile with Chrome Skull license plates, he keeps his business cards in the glove compartment. With his real name on them. Come on. This guy is an idiot.
All of that out of the way, Laid to Rest features some truly excellent gore and special effects. This one is definitely worth watching for the kills alone and, thankfully, there are a lot of them. Most of them are great, though one that involves flat-tire sealant is a joke that takes away from how serious and brutal all the other deaths were. The film also features a number of people who are pretty much clueless on what to do with a gun (you shoot it, it kills bad guys) and fear shooting bullets for fear of an explosion. Mm. That doesn’t happen.
After the wonderful gore, the best part of the film is most definitely actor Kevin Gage, who plays Tucker. He should have been the focus of the film. He’s the only character you really care about and he out-acts everyone near him effortlessly. I was hoping for our protagonist lady to take a chrome knife to the bra (and then the face) while Tucker kills everyone else and rides a dragon into the sunset, but alas, he is merely a co-star. The film has a slight twist which is fun, but nothing that will shake up your night. All in all, Laid to Rest is a very competent film with great kills and awesome gore. Chrome Skull is a pretty good villain, though don’t expect him being elevated to the heights of Jason or Freddy. (Victor Crowley from Hatchet is next in-line for that pantheon). Check it out for the kills, stay for the gore.