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STAR VEHICLE (aka BLEADING LADY, 2010)
Directed & written by Ryan Nicholson.
Starring Dan Ellis, Sindy Faraguna, Nathan Durek, Nick Windebank, Mike Li, Paige Farbacher, Erindera Farga, Kris Michaleski, Matthew Janega, Ady Mejia, Glenn Hoffmann, Jason Victor Hernandez, Gary Starkell, Rochelle Lynn-Jones
Don (Dan Ellis) is a horror afficionado and driver for cast and crew for low budget horror films. He’s also a serial killer. When he begins working on a set starring his favorite scream queen Riversa Red (Sindy Faraguna) and noticing that not only is she not appreciated on set, but also that the film isn’t up to his standards, he begins killing the cast and crew and plans to make his own movie starring Red. There is also Red’s stalker to worry about and a mysterious guy lingering in the woods that adds to the mayhem. Gore ensues.
STAR VEHICLE aka BLEADING LADY is another film from Ryan Nicholson, the twisted mind behind GUTTERBALLS and HANGER. If you’ve read my reviews of those films, you know I’m not the biggest fan, as they have a very angry and disturbing tone to them. I know those are often feelings associated with horror, but there’s an especially wicked kind of sense of humor and disregard to humanity to his films that doesn’t really appeal to me. That said, despite it’s extremely low budget look and feel, STAR VEHICLE at least has an interesting idea and plot going for it.
The concept of a serial killer taking over a film set and making his own movie, killing those he doesn’t deem deserving of the privilege of making a film is a good one. And while that idea permeates all of STAR VEHICLE, it meanders quite a bit and takes it’s sweet time to getting to the point where Don takes over. Once he does pick up the camera with his blood stained hands, it’s almost too late and the film simply erupts into a bunch of blood and screaming rather than taking advantage of that good idea. The other issue is that once Don does start making a film, the action he is capturing isn’t really that interesting. This sort of proves the point that it takes some kind of skill to make a film and it’s not as easy as it looks, but that lesson really isn’t highlighted or learned by anyone in the cast.
STAR VEHICLE does shine in the way most of Nicholson’s do; the gore. Blood doesn’t just ooze out of people, it spurts in waves. If you like the rede stuff, there is plenty to enjoy and Don’s wrath is quite vicious. Gorehounds definitely have something to look forward to with STAR VEHICLE and as with most low budget horror, the gore really is the most professional thing going on here.
I do think the two leads in STAR VEHICLE are pretty decent by low budget film standards. While most of the cast deliver a deadpan or flat performance, Dan Ellis and Sindy Faraguna are solid actors. Ellis is quite menacing as Don the manic driver. He has a Toby Huss quality that makes him likable, yet there’s a threat just underneath the surface there. Faraguna also does a great job of an actress struggling with her Scream Queen status and the constant pressures of the entertainment industry—both loving the limelight, but hating the negative attention her roles attract.
I think out of the three Nicholson films I’ve seen, STAR VEHICLE is the most watchable. HANGER just wallows in the wrong and GUTTERBALLS went a step too far into the debauchery for my tastes, and while there is plenty of wrong with STAR VEHICLE, there are ideas and performances that I liked. This is ultra-low budget stuff here, looking as if it were shot on video and dragging very much in the middle, but STAR VEHICLE worked occasionally for me.