21 March 2008

Mongrel



United States - 1982
Dir. – Robert A. Burns
Paragon Video Productions, 1984, VHS
Run Time - 1 hour, 28 minutes

This video tape opens up with a series of previews of other movies available from Paragon, Boarding House, The Witching, Molly and Lawless John (starring Sam Elliott), Just Before Dawn, One Armed Executioner, The Beyond (as Gates of Hell) and Hotwire. These trailers are awesome and gruesome, I wonder if the films live up to their acclaim, I’m willing to find out.The Mongrel title sequence is awesome too, pretty foreboding. Ken, a random dapper dude moves into a big rambling mansion with a bunch of unknowns, and a vicious barking dog in the front yard. Jerry, a nervous shy bookworm gives him a tour and a warning about the roommates before running off. Woody (Mitch Pileggi, or “Skinner”of The X-Files) is the asinine hotshot balding redneck Jerry warned Ken about. When one of the other roommates, somebody named “Toad”, taunts the snarling dog with a steak, the dog breaks its chains and mauls him. Everyone reacts with strenuous Seriousness, and with stage play sincerity, and Woody shoots the dog.

To get revenge on Ken for making a pass at the girl roommate, Sharon, a jealous Woody and Ike electrocute him to death, whoops. Soon, Jerry starts to lose his shit, getting sweatier and sweatier, hearing things in the hall at night, and ranting wildly. Each time the belchy growling mongrel sound stacks up the mostly offscreen body count, Jerry matches shot for shot with a sooty shrieking paranoid schizo panic scene.
But the dog is already dead, so that sound is coming from somewhere, I knew that irritating little shit was up to something, you don’t get that grating and harpy-like for no good reason.

The perfect kind of early 80’s gore-horror movie that has a lot of promise, a lot of ambition and a really low budget. Often this type of thing seems to overreach itself, but sheer sincerity and the tactile onscreen filth and decrepitude make Mongrel well worth drinking through.

1 comment:

rl said...

"Tactile onscreen filth" is such a good turn of phrase.