Friday, June 14, 2013

Where are the Dead Orphans?: The Orphan Killer (2011)

The Orphan Killer (2011)
rating: ***
starring: Diane Foster, David Backus, Matt Farnsworth

Orphaned at a young age after their folks bite it during a violent home invasion, Marcus and Audrey Miller are placed in a home run by nuns which, as we know in horror movies, isn't gonna favor one of these kids: while Audrey eventually gets adopted and lives a life of normality, Marcus' trauma backpedals him into a homicidal dementia which only worsens when the not-so-nurturing nuns constantly punishes him with beatings and lashings for being, well, driven insane.

Now as adults, Audrey works as a leggy dance instructor at a Catholic school which also happens to be the same home that took her and her brother in. Unbeknownst to her (but no surprise for us), Marcus found his way back to this place and he's willing to torture and kill anyone that he can grab hold to until he gets to do his ultimate revenge against the one who, in his broken mind, abandoned him: his sister!

Ticking off from the slasher cliche lists, The Orphan Killer has a few familiar culprits lurking around; despite attempting to look expertly shot, the questionable acting from some of its casts blunts down some of the impact of the film and music-video style editing did little to better the final product. There's also the heavy metal scoring of this film which I'm not really a big fan of as I find it too chaotic, but this is more of a personal preference (and I do have my exceptions. This isn't one of them as you can tell) so I wouldn't hold this against the film too much.

But positives would come with the film's traditionally handled gore effects, which meant a lot of latex and fake heads that are, as far as the blood works are concerned, more than passable. The sleaze is ever present with scenes including our lead actress Diane Foster stripping for a shower and revealing that she's wearing only fishnet stocking underneath that skirt and a nun giving a janitor a head, both of which done inside a church. (Not that I approve of it or anything as a lapsed Catholic but it's a horror movie. And I just wanna have (brainless) fun!)

Wait, she was going Commando all along? In Church?!
So with the gore and T&A department covered, the only thing we're missing now for this slasher movie to fully work is a memorable killer and Orphan Killer delivers greatly; David Backus stars as the titular Orphan(ed) Killer, whose get up is a simple mormon's shirt and tie, gunked up with sweat and blood, and a paper-mache mask that looks like an unused Slipknot prop. His savagery makes him terrifying at a lot of levels and the fact that he can speak and reason at a point makes him even more than your average mute maniac. His origins makes me a bit wary a bit, however, as the idea of a monster being molded out of zealous, self-fattening "I'm right-you're wrong-and-that-makes-you-evil" hysteria has been done before dozens of times (Think Carrie (1976) or Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)) so the shock value and notoriety of this just felt too worn out. There's also the matter that, seeing a lot of the plot's attention focuses on him and his very personal vendetta against his sister, we can tell the movie's basically exists simply as the titular killer's star vehicle, stained with overkill and torture porn. A lot of the characters in turn, this including Foster's, are reduced to almost nothing but lambs for the slaughter, which is a move that I'm sure will not win everybody but caters perfectly to certain audiences and genre fans.

Nothing groundbreaking to note, nor is this movie a perfect example of a great slasher film. If it's anything, it's as basic as the next independently made low-budget slasher movie waiting to be released, but The Orphan Killer deserves its fans for the efforts it does, thus a worthwhile watch made purely for those looking for a night of bloodletting and bloodletting alone. So if you're somebody who has an eye for gory torture and messy dismemberment, then this is a film that should be welcomed to your collection!

1 male gets a saw-toothed machete through the head
1 male knifed offscreen (flashback)
1 female knifed on the gut (flashback)
1 male killed offscreen
1 female garroted with barbwire
1 boy bludgeoned to death with baseball bat (flashback)
1 male gets a fork to the neck (flashback)
1 male beheaded with hunting knife
1 male gets a hunting knife to the back, head stomped to a pulp
1 female hacked to death with axe
1 male brained to death with hammer
1 male repeatedly stabbed with hunting knife, bled to death
total: 12

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