Satan's Playground DVD

Discussion in 'Slashers' started by ReelFear, Aug 23, 2006.

  1. ReelFear

    ReelFear New Member

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    Finally released this week by Anchor Bay DVD comes Dante Tomaselli's latest horror movie SATAN'S PLAYGROUND. Starring Felicia Rose, Ellen Sandweiss, and Ed Neal, three recognizable names to any true horror fan. Although the film was made in 2004 it took almost 2 years to finally be released. Was it worth the wait? Well....Yes and No. I was not very impressed with Desecration, but I did enjoy Horror much more. If you've seen these films then you know what to expect here. Tomesselli does his best to evoke true horror and a feeling of dread. For the most part he succeeds. He avoids most of the traditional horror cliches, which keeps the veiwer off guard. Good lighting, excellent music, and some shots that really feel like outtakes from The Evil Dead. The main problem with S.P. is the acting is simply terrible. Whenever someone speaks it ruins whatever tension is built up. Tomaselli desperately needs to work with better actors in order to pull off his unique style of filmmaking. He's got the talent, and he's doing his own thing, maybe a few films down the road he will strike gold. I will be waiting. 6/10
     
  2. Katatonia

    Katatonia Hellbound Heart

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    I have it coming on a DVD Empire order. 'Twas only $11.68, can't wait to see this one!

    Desecration and Horror are aquired tastes, but it really shows what he can accomplish on little money. I'd really love to see someone give him a chance with a large-budget horror project!
     
  3. shift

    shift Hot as shit!

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    I just rented it. Any good?
     
  4. Ash28M

    Ash28M Active Member

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    I don't know why don't you watch it and tell us.
     
  5. shift

    shift Hot as shit!

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    IMHO, it sucks!!

    Basically about a family of 5. Dad or husband, wife or daughter, a sister along with her baby and a retard son.

    All goes out in a station wagon gets stuck in the woods. Husband (dad) leaves to find help. Finds a house, knocks on door old lady comes to the door and he ask to use telephone. Goes inside which looks abandoned. Gets clunked out and dies. Basically they all do the same thing. Movie just seems a little stupid. They are suppose to be out in the middle of no-where and then police even shows up at the door, leaves and getscut by some flying bat or something.

    The movie just seems to run on and on. I was glad to see this movie over.

    basically by the director is that its suppose to be about "THE JERSEY DEVIL" ***YAWN!!
     
  6. Ash28M

    Ash28M Active Member

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    Katatonia is right his films aren't for everone, I enjoyed his first to though. Have you seen Desecration and Horror and not liked this one? Or is this the first film you have seen from Tomaselli?
     
  7. 4Gotten1

    4Gotten1 Guest

    I saw it yesterday and there are pros and cons. Firstly, this is definately the best shot film that Tomaselli has made. His priors were both on 16 mm, and the picture quality was always shoddy and quite grainy (not intentionally, IMO). With Satan's Playground the picture quality is much more consistent throughout, and he and the cinematographer definately incorporate that early Raimi technique in some scenes. Other scenes are set up and shot solidly.

    The music score is pretty cool, and does its best to help build the tension in some scenes, and attribute to the overall atmosphere of the film. But therein also lies the problem, in my opinion: as mentioned already, the acting is subpar, so even the best possible attributes in post production could only help so much.

    I had higher expectations for this film, and was surprised at how unoriginal the story and characters were. I personally like the premise of the whole Jersey Devil thing, but I think Tomaselli was so bought on the notion of going with a straight story here, that it ended up being too simple simon for its own good. If you've seen Desecration and Horror, then you know that those stories relied heavilly on symbolics dipped in a heavy dose of acid trippiness. Here you get the obvious: family travelling through the Jersey Pine Barrens, car breaks down, father walks through the forest to look for help (as apposed to staying on the road??), and the rest is as generic as the opening sequence. If we knew more about the characters, we might care about what happens to them, but we don't. As for the antagonists, they're not that scary. A little bit of human touch can go a long way in films like these, but here it's missing. Edwin Neal -- who was so effective as the knife weilding hitchhiker in Texas Chainsaw Massacre -- attempts to retread that character again here, and doesn't quite pull it off. I kept thinking how effective he was in TCM and how ineffective he was in this performance. Our suspension of belief is challenged a few too many times here. The autistic son played by Danny Lopes just doesn't cut it, he virtually has one line in the movie, "Mom" -- and I think that's what kills the character, we don't believe him because of what he doesn't say, no risks taken here in that performance.

    Having said all that, Satan's Playground is not a total loss for me, I had a little fun along the way, but there was so much potential in so many areas that it just never developes the way I hoped it should have. I still feel that Tomaselli is a talanted filmmaker, his biggest hindrence is his writing. I will watch this movie again in the near future, and see how I respond to it then, but for now -- it was just OK.
     
  8. fceurich39

    fceurich39 Well-Known Member

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    i liked it better than most newer anchor bay titles lately
     
  9. KamuiX

    KamuiX The Eighth Samurai

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    Just watched this a couple days ago, and it isn't bad at all, but it's definitely Tomaselli's weakest film so far, and why?? The script...the lack of a powerful script in his last 2 films actually worked in his favor, as both of those films were very dreamlike and didn't need a tight script. This plays as pretty much a straight-forward 70's horror film, and the shaky script really sticks out. The whole Jersey Devil angle should have been nixed, it would have worked better without that loose-end. As for the acting, it's all pretty sub-par, although the old woman is top-notch IMO, definitely the best performance of the film.

    There's still a lot here to appreciate though, like the atmosphere, music, and cinematography, which are all top-notch, mostly better than a lot of wide-release horror. Tomaselli really has to be the king of filming horror films in the woods, everything looks so striking. Basically, watch this as a feast for the eyes and the ears, not for the brain, and you should enjoy it. I still stick by saying Tomaselli is at the top of the indie horror genre.

    3/5
     
  10. Dusk

    Dusk New Member

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    I'm curious as to what makes this a slasher film.

    Tomasalad usually makes psuedo-intellectual arthouse crap.
     
  11. shift

    shift Hot as shit!

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    Hummm your right.

    Well ok. Maybe this is why:

    One scene where a lady gets chopped in the back with butcher knife? - is this slasher? :lol:

    Or maybe when the bat or flying what-ever comes down the slashes the cops face? Is this considered a slasher? :lol:
     
  12. Iwas extremly pleased with this film I felt it all came together really well!
     
  13. MrKateB

    MrKateB Asshole Extraordinaire

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    How is Ellen Sandweiss in the film?
     
  14. Agent Z

    Agent Z "Get to the river...

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    Ellen is fine in the film, but she has a rather limited role anyway.

    As for the movie itself...

    I am about to give up on Tomaselli. I am starting to question my own tastes now, thinking back to the pass I gave Dante on Horror.

    Memo to Tomaselli: You are not required by law to use the same damn actors in every one of your films. Especially if they, well, can't act! I'm looking at you especially Lopes. :rolleyes:

    I'm starting to buy into the conspiracy that Tomaselli plants favorable reviews prerelease. I know that sounds so Talkbackerish, but I just don't understand all the glowing reviews his films are getting. I could understand positive reviews, but people claiming that he is a force to be reckoned with in the genre?! WTH?!

    If this is Tomaselli's tribute to the Jersey Devil, somewhere, the Leeds boy must be perched in a tree, shaking his head with sorrow at the final result.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2006
  15. Katatonia

    Katatonia Hellbound Heart

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    I thought it was quite entertaining, much in the same vein as Desecration and Horror. It starts off a little slow, maybe a little too slow for some, and that might put a lot of people off. Dante said he was going for something a little less "arty" with this one, but it's still a damned bizarre little film.

    If you aren't well versed in the Jersey Devil mythos, some things aren't going to make too much sense. There's some subtle clues peppered in the film. There's an easter egg on the special features menu that plays a 23+ minute "campfire gathering" about the Jersey Devil.

    I agree that he should get some different actors in each film. I don't think they're that bad honestly, but they're not pros either. Maybe if someone would actually give the man a decent budget he could afford some!

    I also loved that little addictive musical theme that played in the film, as well as on the DVD menus.
     
  16. neversummer

    neversummer New Member

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    I picked up Satan's Playground and the Rosseanne Halloween episodes on dvd over the weekend.
    Other than to serve as a fairly weak backstory and a couple cheap kills, where the crap was the Jersey devil? I wish the film wasn't marketed around the premiss that we'd be getting a monster flick instead of another 'crazy family in the backwoods' film. Reminds me of the time I went to the theatre to watch The Village.:bs:
    I probably would have enjoyed Satan's Playground a little more if I wasn't expecting what the title and dvd backcover suggested. At least the Rosseanne Halloween dvd delivers the goods, (except for the last episode...man that one's horrible).
     
  17. onebyone

    onebyone Guest

    I should have known that a movie Mission didn't like even though it featured Felissa Rose should be avoided, but no. I had to see for myself, and sure enough, it was bad. It wasn't gloriously bad like I like them. It wasn't offensively bad like you guys often like them. It was just bad as in the complete opposite of good - no more, no less. It was bad across the board. I could make a list of the things about this movie that were bad, but it would take longer than the movie. Well, longer than the movie actually was. It felt like it was 2 weeks long.

    :nervous:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2006
  18. Ash28M

    Ash28M Active Member

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    I just checked out Satan's Playground last night and I don't know what it is about Tomaselli's films but I just can't get enough of them, and this one didn't disappoint. I Especially love the imagery and the imagination that goes into his work, He's great at making the most of his budgets and It was fun that he put together a cast of some old favourites i.e Felissa Rose, Ellen Sandweiss and Edwin Neal. I thought they all did great with what they were given. I'm just confused about how so many people can't get into his films.
     
  19. Anaestheus

    Anaestheus Well-Known Member

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    I definitley have to agree with those that do not "get" Tomaselli's popularity. So far, I've seen Desecration and Satan's Playground. I agree that he can pull up some nice visuals, Danny sleeping in Desecration in particular, but there is so much to distract from them, that they lose any sense of impact. There are so many weaknesses. The acting is so amateurish, inconsistant, and hyperbolic that I can barely accept that any of these are characters. The sense of story is too fractured to give me any sense of context to give the visuals any meaning. And I find his scoring moderate to weak. One of the pieces used in Satan's Playground is just a loop from the Cinematic Orchestra CD of Acid Loops.

    I'm not looking for conventional cinema, but I find these claims that his films are comparible to Argento or Carpenter to be extreme exagerations. At best, he's an underdog who's at least making a decent attempt. But, compared to other underdogs such as Baino's "Dark Waters" or Stanley's "Dust Devil" or even "Evil Dead" and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," Tomaselli really seems to lack the ability to come up with anything that can get inside me.
     
  20. _pi_

    _pi_ Peace, bitch

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    This must be one of the very worst films I have ever seen.

    Felissa Rose just woke up in a hospital, and I was hoping the film was over. Alas, no. Only an hour or so has passed, although it felt like a day.

    I truly didn't believe films as ridiculously atrocious as this one were being produced in this day and age.

    Of all the bad things I could talk about, I'll restrict myself to two things.

    First, my favorite line of dialogue in many a moon. Upon hearing a strange noise, one character describes it as so: "It's like a helicopter or something ... or a giant bird."

    Because helicopters and birds apparently sound so similar.

    And second, my "favorite" character of the film, the deaf-dumb Lucy, who, upon occasion, can hear her mother's voice and other sounds. She is also able to hum a tune, which should be inconceivable because she shouldn't have the slightest conception of what music or lullaby tunes are.

    But I can't really stop there, can I?

    That the film is awfully written goes without mention. One can hardly discuss the actors, because how can you possibly give a good performance when handed this material?

    Plus, it is amazingly boring and illogical (and I don't mean illogical in a "dreamlike" way, but rather a "why would a mother leave her autistic son, mid-seizure, in a car in the middle of nowhere, while not being at all concerned for him"-illogical.)

    There truly are some moments in this film that are so unthinkably bad that I am almost tempted to recommend it for that alone. And who knows, perhaps some people will find the badness laughable. I was just annoyed.

    Talking about annoyed. I can't help but admire Dante Tomaselli. Here we have a man who is seemingly devoid of any talent, and yet he gets his films produced and released, even discussed. Incredibly, to me, he also has his fans and defenders. As an aspiring, amateur filmmaker, I must acknowledge that and give him credit for his accomplishments.

    Then again, I am also reminded of Stephen King who, in On Writing, encouraging would-be-writers, said that bad fiction (or in this case, bad filmmaking) is the best thing an up-and-coming artist can read/see. What better to fuel ones passions than the reality of the fact that you can do so, so much better, and that this actually got released!

    ps. I love, love, LOVE the fact that end-credits contain a quote from Fellini. How fitting.
     

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