Retro-review: New on DVD from AGFA; help me out and pick it up on BluRay here on Amazon!
Directed by Pat Bishow
Written by John Bishow, Lance Laurie
Starring Bill Bernhard, Jennifer Brown, Tom Ciorciari, Pierre Devaux, Jane Kinser, Louise Millmann, Burt Wright
This shot on video no budgeter is big on ideas, but that’s about it. SOULTANGLER was birthed in the day and age when everyone was trying to be the next Spielberg with their VHS camera and while some of the writing here indicates that there actually is some passion behind SOULTANGLER, that passion doesn’t really carry on to anyone else involved with the film.
The story follows a bent doctor who has developed a method to “tangle” souls with the dead. This involves abducting people for experiments and dosing others in order to transfer souls from one person to another and experience what the dead is experiencing. There’s no real reason why Dr. Anton Lupesky is so obsessed with his experiments other than the fact that he is pompous and arrogant towards any living person near him. A Lois Lane type reporter attempts to interview the doctor and becomes entangled herself in the doctors plot to breach death and experience it.
There’s a specific type of horror fan who loves DIY movies. I can understand that. Those types of films have a passion behind them that other films more slickly produced just don’t have. So there will be folks out there who are endeared to SOULTANGLER. I’m kind of one of them. I love seeing the zippers in the monsters and the cracks of reality beneath the surface in these low budgeters. It’s a lot of fun to see what people can do even if they don’t have the budget to do it.
That said, SOULTANGLER is a rough ride. The acting is awful across the board. Some of the characters seem legitimately drunk during filming. The actor playing Dr. Lupesky does his best to imitate Jefferey Combs’ Herbert West, but simply doesn’t have the chutzpah to handle it. The gore is splattery, but the animatronic horrors are less convincing while fun in their own thrillride haunted house way. At times, the ideas behind this one are kind of interesting, but they aren’t explored in any real interesting ways. For the most part, the story is a by the book mad science yarn we’ve seen many times.
SOULTANGLER has a fun concept, a clunky execution, and most likely, has a fanbase somewhere. It’s got all of the DIY SOV charm, bumps, and bruises which is going to be a selling point or a detriment depending on what type of horror viewer you are.
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