Tuesday, October 12, 2010


MaskHead (2009)
Dir: Fred Vogel (ToeTag Pictures: August Underground series/Murder Collection vol.1)

Being a fan of Horror films there are certain habits of high hopes I can never seem to break, Like The hopes that the latest re-make will be done correctly and not completely blow, Another one is that I keep going into Fred Vogels films hoping that it will live up to the hype I hear about them. Now Fred Vogel is the owner of ToeTag films a underground gore/Horror film company and he is also one of Tom Savini's top students of special f/x. After hearing so much about the infamous August Underground series I finally gave in a hunted these films down, Which was no easy task because they have been banned in several places and the only way to get any of them is directly from their website. After watching what was essentially home video quality simulated snuff through 3 films, I was pretty let down. Were they gory? yes, but were they any good? not really . In all  honesty I found them flat out boring and they just seemed to be going for the gross out novelty way too hard, Putting all effort into being shocking and none into character development or story. So in all I was disappointed. Then again knowing Vogel's love for the genre and his credentials and all being a student of Savini I gave in and watched Murder Collection vol.1. This was a somewhat interesting concept although not all that original, Being just a series of simulated snuff scenes shot from surveillance cameras , handy cam's, and web cams to add to the authenticity and make you think you were watching actual scenes of death caught on tape. But again a lack of story and gore just for gore's sake does not make a good movie. So now I once again gave in to the hype of ToeTag films and sat down to watch Maskhead. This time with hopes higher than ever because I actually saw some trailers for this one that made it look in all honesty really good. This one had Characters, a story and an interesting plot sort of....
So, The film follows a lesbian couple Syl and Maddie who run a "Modeling" agency and amateur fetish porn company which is actually a front for their snuff films. Working in the adult industry this plot struck my fancy since really quite a few fetish films I have seen do resonate  some sick and disturbing feelings , and lead one to wonder what really goes on behind the scenes after the camera goes off and if they are really making something darker for a sick niche market. Anyway Syl and maddie enlist two executioners to do their dirty work while they film and take photos , One being a bear looking man named cowboy, who is a pretty interesting character and is played well. This guy should get some better roles, I could see him in some neo grind-house "tarantino" style films with some success. the other being a truly intimidating man known only as maskhead, A hulking heavy set man wearing bandages covering his body and a cool mask with a face guard style thing covered in nails. This guy would be really awesome if he were used in a different film. Now I will say that I was entertained by Maskhead the most out of all of the Toetag films I have seen, but this film falls victim to it's pacing and placement of scenes. The film jumps back and forth to much to be able to really follow. They start a story arch and then just flash forward or backwards to something unrelated way to often and just makes the film hard to figure out. Some of the dialog is pretty well written for the roles and they feed off the sliminess of the material well.As for the gore it for the most part is your standard "Torture-Porn" stuff, with victim tied down and beaten then stabbed so on and so forth but it does up the ante quite a bit as the film progresses. It all starts to get borderline vomit inducing once they throw a fisting scene in for really no reason but a set up for another "snuff" scene, Then we are treated to a nice realistic looking compound fracture , Then a arm chopping / bleeding scene and honestly it is really hard to sit through the grand finale of the film and I would imagine even more so for women viewers. I don't want to spoil too much of the scene but it involves a 2x4 nail covered strap-on and some very graphic cinematography.I do like the little touches of "audition" videos they flash to periodically and there is a pretty funny opening credits scene thrown in from one of Syl and Maddie's "movies" that I thought was a nice touch. For one who is into films like Hostel and the whole "Torture-Porn" sub-genre this one does kick the theme up a notch and as far as Toetag films is concerned personally this is my favorite I have seen so far, There is one I have not seen yet called the Red sin Towers but I have no desire to hunt anymore of there films now because I have truthfully not been to impressed with any of them so far. Let me stress I don't hate any of the Toetag films , I think all the hype I had read and heard about them kinda got my expectations up to high for me to enjoy any of them, That seems to happen allot with horror movie sites reviews and threads along the web, Perhaps I need to stop reading them so much and go into these with a blind eye and I would enjoy them more.
So in the end of it all I did enjoy it but pacing and expectations kinda hindered my experience, Final verdict
2.5 out of 5

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