Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Bone Sickness


With the recent arrival of Birdemic the 'so bad it's good' effect has been all the rage. The Asylum film company have been purposefully cashing in on this idea for a few years now with breakthrough hits like Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus and Sharknado being big word of mouth money makers for the studio.
Birdemic... Hitchcock could only
dream of reaching these heady
The difference between these and Birdemic is that The Asylum knows they are making shit, and personally, I feel that detracts from the enjoyment (an issue tackled brilliantly by Mike Rugnetta PBS Idea Channel). What is great about really bad films is seeing someone genuinely convinced that they are making something worth while and failing so monumentally that you can't help but admire the film makers nonetheless.

I think you need a
second opinion
Bone Sickness focuses on Kristen (Darya Zabinski) as she cares for her husband Alex (Rich George) who is suffering from a degenerative bone decease which leaves him, for the most part, bed ridden and in need of constant attention. So, apparently with some level of medical knowledge, in steps our hero - Thomas (Brian Paulin) with an idea for a radical new alternative treatment, regular doses of deceased human flesh (a treatment I can struggle to see getting through clinical trials). As you can imagine this doesn't do much good for Alex's health and things deteriorate until eventually the dead start rising from their graves and then goblins(?).

On a technical level this film is terrible. There is nothing in the way of a coherent plot and the majority of on screen content consists of almost nothing but incredibly long sequences of cheap practical gore. The acting is shocking with a few particularly terrible moments including the antipodean next door neighbour. The sound is all over the place and the camera and editing jump around so incoherently that it is nearly impossible to tell which plastic body part is being ripped into at any one moment. I can only think of one female member of the cast that doesn't at least get their tits out, but then when a man starts to take his trousers off it cuts before we even see him in his pants. It is repetitive and ridiculous and the two lead actors, especially the horrendously bad Rich George, seem to be more than willing to stuff their mouths full of live worms. 

Having said all that, as I sat and reflected on Bone Sickness, I realised I fucking love it! It is grungey and cheap with few redeeming features but it is a film made with an unquashable love for the genre. I am not going to patronise Brian Paulin, an even more white-trash Jack Black of an aspiring auteur, and I'm also far too aware of sounding like some ironic hipster douche-bag, but although artistically and technically this has zero credibility, what it stands for is something brilliant. 

Other attempts at similarly low budget gore fests, such as the horrendous The Orphan Killer (read my review here), fall completely flat due to their lack of originality. Most cheap horror films simply take over-used genre tropes and re-hash them ad nauseam. Instead Bone Sickness throws everything it can't think of at the screen with complete abandon. One minute it is a twisted Cronenbergean (to give them a ridiculous amount of credit) body horror which includes a man projectile farting blood and earthworms against the bathroom wall. The next minute it becomes a ridiculously gory and self-indulgent zombie movie with more 'ripping into someone's stomach with bare hands' moments than the whole Romero back catalogue combined. Then goblins. Fucking goblins! Goblins who talk about us meddling 'hyoomaans'. The whole thing is just bat shit fucking crazy, exactly the way these films should be. 

I really hope that name is a
Sepultura reference
This is really hard to recommend, and is definitely one for more hardened horror nerds, which is exactly what Morbid Vision Films is after. I may be completely wrong but as far as I can tell it is made with the most sincere and serious of intentions, yet I found myself laughing out loud at times (for that exact reason). To quote an old cliché, the battle between my head and my heart is waging at Peter Jackson levels of violence and scale. The terrible acting, script, camera, sound and editing, the mysogonistic nudity, the incomprehensible plot, the cheap plastic props and effects. All these things tell me I should despise this film. Instead, when I reflect about it, I end up tearing my head from my shoulders in order to drop kick it down the street and leave my 'heart' at the controls. 

Bone Sickness is undeniably a success of creativity, ingenuity and sheer bloody-minded hard work. There is a sense of community and achievement as well as a strangely child-like naivety to the whole thing and that is a fact that it is hard not to love. 

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