directed by Charlie Steeds
runtime: 100 mins
Don’t venture near old Hansen Farm
where blazing fire brought them harm
For those who travel past this place
beware the boy with the melted face
Escape From Cannibal Farm is like the Grimm’s Fairy Tales version of Disney’s Hatfield-McCoy rivalry, if that tale was then turned into a haunted attraction, and then adapted to film. This is the first full-length feature from Dark Temple Motion Pictures, and it’s an ambitious one. It pays obvious homage to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, but also horror in general (“You don’t talk to the guy on the side of the road!”).
The Harver family is roadtrippin’ the British countryside. The Stepdad, Wesley, is a prick, the oldest brother, Toby, is an ass, and the visiting daughter, Jessica, has ulterior motives, so she’s probably a bitch. We get a lot of time here to learn all about the characters and their relationships. I particularly enjoyed the bit where Toby was showing younger brother Sam a movie called “Sewage Baby Massacre”, which is definitely the title of something I would review on this blog. This bit is just another example of the filmmakers’ obvious love of the genre, which is something I greatly appreciate.
During their first camp, a tent is set on fire by an unseen assailant. Seeking sanctuary, the family flees to a nearby farm. It quickly becomes apparent this was a bad move as they are attacked by the weirdos that are the Hansen family, and thrown in cages to await their fates. There are twists and turns that I won’t spoil, but my two cents is that the story got a little busy. I thought the threat of the film was supposed to be the boy with the melted face, but here I am watching a movie about family rivalry and stringy-haired psychopaths!
The slow, classical music along with some of the lighting made me think of the kid’s TV program Wishbone, for some reason. If Wishbone was a show about human meat harvesting, well Escape From Cannibal Farm would be a complete knock-off! Rest assured, this is no Wishbone, but it makes the fact that this film took more of a House of 1000 Corpses turn all the more surreal.
As I mentioned before, EFCF plays out like a haunted house. You are given the backstory and then go through the subsequent rooms, as it were. The villains are very much like the haunted house baddies that would shout obscenities at you in their raspy voices while flinging their chainsaws and chains around. There is gore, and this film is downright mean at times, but I think it could have taken a chance and been meaner, as those mean moments seemed to be when the movie shined brightest.
The acting was pretty good, as each character took what they were given and ran with it. I found most everyone’s to be very believable. I quite enjoyed Barrington De La Roche as the menacing patriarch of the farm, Hunt Hansen.
Ultimately I think some big cuts could have been made. “Kill your darlings” as they say. There were some plot-holes and the lengthy runtime was really a problem for me. For these reasons, I don’t think EFCF was a roaring success, but I see immense success for the future of the Dark Temple Motion Pictures group. Escape From Cannibal Farm will exist as the nice little ambitious snapshot of where it all began.
I recommend everyone check this one out for themselves and form their own opinions. I don’t know how to explain it, but this movie had its own unique vibration.
Stay slime, and be rad at all times!
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