Direct-to-DVD: the psychotic throwback films of Alan Rowe Kelly

alan rowe head shot

Over a decade ago, I wrote a review of Alan Rowe Kelly’s first film I’ll Bury You Tomorrow for a DVD website. Alan Rowe was pleased with the review I imagine, because he contacted me and took me to lunch in New York City!

Actually, at the time I wrote the review, I wasn’t much into low-budget indies because the terrible direct-to-VHS horror films of the 90s had virtually ruined the genre for me. But it was films like I’ll Bury You Tomorrow at the start of the new millennium that brought back the look, feel, and insanity of 70s exploitation and 80s direct-to-video schlock I grew up on. My faith in horror was renewed!

Alan Rowe is the queen of freaky, twisted indie horror. I’ll be covering the films he has directed first, and then giving brief scenarios of many of the films in which he has acted, sometimes as a glamorous woman, other times as a hot mess in peril.

I’ll Bury You Tomorrow (2002)

alan rowe bury you

In the film that started it all for Alan Rowe, pretty blonde Dolores comes to a small town to work as a mortician. When she’s not snapping with visions of depraved sex and death, she seems quite nice and normal. She also reminds the couple who owns the funeral home of the daughter they lost under mysterious circumstances.

Meanwhile, working at the funeral home is makeup artist Corey (played by Alan Rowe) and the mentally messed up and greasy funeral home worker Jake. They are dating…and have a very immoral side gig involving corpses.

The amazing thing about Jake is that he’s the brother of the hot as hell Sheriff, played by gorgeous Jerry Murdock. Even more amazing? Jerry plays both brothers! You would never realize it while watching. Aside from being an Adonis, Jerry is a truly incredible character actor and appears in most of Alan Rowe’s work.

Just about EVERYONE in the movie is completely insane—I particularly like the inexplicably witch-like, white-faced, black-lipped goth nurse in the morgue. What ensues is a nasty yet digestible assortment of mayhem ranging from murder and body snatching to necrophilia. One of my favorite moments is a chase scene in some ruined building in the woods. The victim in this case is great. She truly puts the scream in scream queen.

Much like many gritty, gory flicks of the early 1970s, I’ll Bury You Tomorrow has a general plot that’s easily followed, with a whole lot of WTF scenarios thrown in to mess with your mind.

The Blood Shed (2007)

alan rowe blood shed

The Blood Shed is like a mashup of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and American Gothic after a whole lot of John Waters camp. Frighteningly, this insane, cannibalistic family is supposed to live in the northern part of Jersey!

Alan Rowe plays the freaky Beefteena…which means we have a man dressed as a woman dressed as a little girl. This is possibly his best character portrayal in a movie yet. He totally goes for it. Beefteena drags road kill around on a skateboard with a leash like it’s her pet. She has a slutty sister, two inbred brothers (I can’t deny that one of them gets shirtless later and has a hot bod), and a father who has a very special relationship with Beefteena since his wife died. Oh yeah. It goes there.

After a pretty gruesome run-in with a bratty kid in the woods (which leads to them making good use of the storage shed), Beefteena and family go about their business of acting totally fricking insane around their house, which is filled with anything the dead cat drags in. This entire segment of the film has the feel of a dark, twisted, nonsensical John Waters comedy. The mania is also reminiscent of the family as portrayed in everything from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre right up to The Next Generation.

And speaking of Leatherface and Co., the final segment of The Blood Shed is where the real homage comes into play. And it ain’t pretty. The absurd humor seems to continue as Beefteena goes to a perfectly self-absorbed bitch of an agent for a modeling job. But when the ridiculous photo shoot clearly seems like it’s making a mockery of Beefteena, in comes her family to save her self-esteem!

And so the true horror begins. The staff at the agency is brought to Beefteena’s birthday party and brutally tormented and tortured around the table. Poor Jerry Murdock, playing a sheriff again, has his manliness mutilated! It’s heartbreaking. I sobbed for Jerry’s balls. The others don’t fare much better. This final scene hits hard and drives home that this is a sadistic horror movie, not just a black comedy about an insane family.

“A Far Cry From Home” from Gallery of Fear  (2013)

alan rowe gallery

Gallery of Fear features 4 horror tales. Alan Rowe Kelly’s “A Far Cry from Home” segment is classic f*cked up backwoods terror with a fresh approach—GAY characters take the “wrong turn.” This 45-minute segment captures the horrific style and atmosphere of disturbing, stomach turning 1970s films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: trippy camera angles and editing; eerie as hell music that messes with your mind; and heinous displays of gore and brutality.

Alan Rowe and his boyfriend take a detour into banjo land and soon the boyfriend is missing and Alan Rowe is being tracked through the woods by manic, psychotic hillbillies, one of them being my sweet cheeks Jerry Murdock, who plays a real bastard this time around. There’s none of Alan Rowe’s dark humor here. This nightmarish scenario taps into our deepest fears of what would happen to us if we were put at the mercy of the most twisted devils in the Bible Belt.

ALAN ROWE KELLY AS ACTOR

I don’t have everything in which Alan Rowe has appeared, but I have a hell of a lot because Alan Rowe hangs with some super fun indie horror directors. So here’s a rundown of Alan’s roles in the movies I’ve seen:

alan rowe tell tale

Tales of Poe: Aside from directing a segment of this anthology, Alan Rowe appears in it. I’ve only seen “The Tell-Tale Heart,” in which scream queen Debbie Rochon works as a private nurse for a former silent film star, played by Alan Rowe, who looks freaky deeky with a fucked up eye. Read more about the segment here.

alan rowe heart u

I Heart U: Alan Rowe appears very briefly on a television screen as a news reporter. Read my blog about the movie here.

alan rowe psycho street

Psycho Street: The first segment of this anthology is a John Waters throwback, with horror hunk Marv Blauvelt as a doctor, scream queen Raine Brown as a nurse, and Alan Rowe as a wacky female patient. Read my blog about the movie here.

alan rowe slices of life

Slices of Life: This is a nasty little anthology film. Alan Rowe plays an online “love” connection to a lonely guy, which means—this guy is screwed! Read my blog about the movie here.

alan rowe satan hates

Satan Hates You: This is one sick and twisted movie about morality, and concerns a pregnant druggy chick and her closet case brother. Alan Rowe just has a cameo. Read my blog about the movie here.

alan rowe sculpture

Sculpture: Alan Rowe looks glamorous as an art curator in this gorefest about appreciating male body parts—and manages to stay away from blood! Read my blog about the movie here.

alan rowe vindication

Vindication: Alan Rowe plays a creepy fortune-teller in this freaky psychological slasher. Read my blog about the movie here.

river of darkness

River of Darkness: This shot-on-video flick is about a small fishing town where something bad happened to a group of men and now townsfolk are dying violent deaths. Despite a trio of freaky looking vengeful ghosts providing a few jump scares and juicy deaths, a cast of real wrestlers, and a DVD cover that looks like you’re getting an action flick, this is basically just a very slow moving rehash of The Fog. But it has uber-hunky wrestler Kurt Angle in the lead as the sheriff (so cute) and Alan Rowe plays crazy Mary, who hangs out in the church praying for everyone’s souls.

river of darkness collage

And finally, here is my vlog about the films of Alan Rowe Kelly:

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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