I have to admit, I hesitated a bit before I finally watched Casting Couch Slaughter. I’d seen, and liked two of co-director Emir Skalonja’s films, Holland Road Massacre: The Legend of Pigman and Anthropocene which was co-written by Krystal Shenk who co-wrote and co-directed this film.
But they were both serious films and Casting Couch Slaughter has a large, and obvious, dose of humour. And, as Chad Ferrin recently proved with Exorcism at 60,000 Feet you can make great horror and still fail miserably at comedy. Also, horror films set in the world of porn don’t have a great track record. Does anyone remember Porn Shoot Massacre, Gorno or even last year’s Deep Murder? But my curiosity got the best of me so I grabbed a beer and checked it out.
The film opens with some great parodies of late-night TV commercials before getting down to business as a figure in a monkey mask takes a power drill to the back of a man’s skull. The killer sees a notebook on the desk and walks off with it. Meanwhile, Sal (Emir Skalonja) and his partner Monaco (Cody Wight) are planning on shooting the porno to end all pornos.
Of course, nothing goes smoothly in show business and this is no exception. From a clueless sound guy (Jacob Hodgson, Till Death Do We Rot), an overly dominant dominatrix (Heather Dunham, Little Green People) to a religious fanatic (Sarah Jeanne, Not Another Monster Movie, Rust Belt Driller) the responses to their casting call leave something to be desired. And remember the guy in the mask? He’s planning on doing some drilling that isn’t in the script.
Casting Couch Slaughter runs a fast 62 minutes, (they should have gone seven more), which is about the right length for what it is. And what it is is a faux 80s SOV film, shot through a filter that gives it the look of the real thing. There’s also a bit of simulated tape roll and static but thankfully it isn’t overdone. There’s even an authentic-sounding bare-bones keyboard score.
Much of the dialogue sounds improvised and considering how often much of the film’s talent have worked together that is a real possibility. It would also explain the fact that five members of the cast are credited as writers. Granted it’s never really laugh out loud funny, but it is amusingly humorous when it needs to be.
Which is good because the middle part of Casting Couch Slaughter is all casting couch and no slaughter. Once the killer makes their presence known the bodies start dropping in a fast and bloody fashion. That includes a guy getting a drill stuck just where you wouldn’t want one shoved. And a scene that manages to have Krystal Shenk and Kristina Santiago topless in the shower together and not be erotic. It’s an obviously tamer, but still effective, an hommage to the classic 70’s hardcore/horror hybrid Forced Entry.
The effects tend to bring a different film to mind, Abel Ferrara’s Driller Killer. The opening drill to the head scene, in particular, had me flashing back to the days of clamshell boxes and video nasties. And while they aren’t overly graphic, the kills are, in the style of the originals, very bloody.
I can see where some viewers won’t appreciate Casting Couch Slaughter. If you’re not into 80s SOV horror then this probably won’t appeal to you. Its style and subject matter probably won’t be everyone’s cup of tea either. But I enjoyed it, possibly because it wasn’t tea I was drinking.
Casting Couch Slaughter is available to stream on Vimeo. You can get more details on either the film’s or the production company’s Facebook page.