Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Death By Invitation

poster taken from

Death by invitation Directed By Ken Friedman, starring Shelby Leverington (1971).
As a horror fanatic with a fondness for falsely accused women of the middle ages condemned to death by a mob of church folk, you may think I'd seen every "witch burning" movie under the sun and then at 3am, a movie I'd never heard of called Death by Invitation shows up on TCM (licensed from the fine degenerates over at Vinegar Syndrome). This is writer/ director Ken Friedman's start as a film maker, he would later switch to a screenwriter for gentle fare like Cadillac Man with Robin Williams and harder edged stuff like Johnny Handsome (which I sort of enjoyed). This is another Something Weird Video repackaging by VS, like Evil Come, Evil Go (which was a lot better than this). Vinegar gives you more bang for your buck because if you hate one movie, there's a chance you may like the next one!
   A soiled mob of angry sex obsessed puritans catch a young girl and plan on burning her alive. One of them looks like Paul Reubens in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Another chubby fellow with a dirty face goes into a whispered angry diatribe about the woman's naked writhing body-- tempting him-- oh my!
you thought you'd seen the last of Vampire Pee Wee Herman?

The style is SF Brownrigg-ish (Don't Look In The Basement ), though I'm hoping the film is more enjoyable! 
   In a flashback, Lise (Shelby Leverington who later appeared in Michael Bay's The Island), the accused witch seems like a slutty hippie, her father (the whispery chubby fellow) doesn't approve of her hanging around what he calls "way-out people"! Doesn't he know that's where the fun is, Way Out?

The Way Outs!

   The locations are ugly with wood paneling and green curtains--they remind me of suburban basements I've seen in Long Island, during my childhood.
   The music in this film is horrendous it's the kind that only dogs can here.
An oily fellow takes a cab into the big city to get laid and finds Lise working in in a torture dungeon.
The dominatrix goes into graphic detail about an orgiastic hunt--I guess some people pay good money for a sexy story-- but this is a waste of time in my mind.

SNORE, Oh My God this story is so sexy

   The dad's extremely hammy delivery is my favorite part (he makes it almost watchable) and all the men have that mutton chop Mersey beat hairstyle. Sometimes there's an audible projector sound for no reason.
   I get the feeling that Vinegar Syndrome was set up to showcase porn oddities and off shoot SWV nonsense that no one else would touch with a ten meter cattle prod to quote Dan Ackroyd.
Death by Invitation soon unravels into a 70's showcase of awkward sets and weird haircuts. That's not really enough to hold anyone's interest. At one point the library music blasts over the actors and the father can't even hear them and says "What? I can't hear you"!
There's a lot of office and dinner table scenes. This movie makes "Touch of Satan" look like a riveting thrill ride!
   But then sometimes reserved and mellow is good, I mean just watch one of those Alpha Blue Archive satanic porns and tell me you wouldn't beg for mediocre bullshit! I appreciate what VS is doing, but don't understand the appeal of half baked softcore crap. Eventually they will put out something decent and are still a company to watch out for (I mean who else is left in the DVD realm, not repackaging the same product over and over again in a Ray Kroc fashion).


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