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Savage Harvest | review | dvd | Lollipop
(Wicked Pixel/Image Entertainment)
by John Bikowski
Image Entertainment has found itself a low-budget hero in writer/director Eric Stanze. Savage Harvest is a demonfest full of the requisite gruesome images found in dozens of similar horror films. However, there's a unique feel to the film that makes it endearing. Sort of like the film project you always wanted to do but were too lazy. A 1995 VHS release, re-released in 2000 and again in 2005, Savage Harvest pours on the style despite the budgetary limitations; there are superimposition, reverse negative shots, slo-mo, and other tricks used to impress the viewer.
The story begins with a blood-spurting ritualistic murder that turns ultimately involves the Cherokee Trail of Tears. Some of the stones used in the ritual turn up many moons later in the present day on the grounds of a summer camp. With some decent folk tunes in the background, the counselors arrive, and as you may expect, quickly fall victim to their grisly destiny. It turns out that the rocks are passageways for demons to possess the living. Lucky for us, there's a whole box of 'em to pass around. A big plus for this limited story is that the actors themselves are such kid-next-door types. I thought it was refreshing to see real people, complete with acne, greasy hair, non-capped teeth, non-delectable breasts, and awkward stances. The long-haired dude named Jeff has the sweetest Budweiser shirt that Job Lots has ever seen. Once the victims are converted to snarling demons, they sprout gnarly teeth and hunger for flesh.
There are plenty of highlights for gorehounds. There's a nice, dripping-screwdriver-to-the-forehead stabbing, a penetrating tongue encounter, and a cool vulture demon who simply crawls around and sneaks mouthfuls of various people's entrails. Toss in an Evil Dead-style meltdown, and there ya have it.
Overall, Savage Harvest delivers the goods. Though more kids would've survived if they just let loose that enormously butch girl all over the demon's asses. I am officially nervous when I see her. The DVD extras include three commentary tracks, behind the scenes footage, a music video, a stills gallery, and preview trailers of some other interesting low budgeters by Stanze. Image Entertainment also has available Ice From the Sun, which looks very sick. So I must see it.