TRIPLE FEATURE TIME: torture porn, creature feature comedy, and backwoods slasher

This trio from 2006-2007 gives us a low budget yet hardcore gore porn experience, some cheesy SyFy slime creature fun, and a crazy backwoods family terrorizing kids at a cabin in the woods. These are probably not movies you’d seek out, but if you stumbled upon them accidentally, you might not be able to look away once you’ve started watching.

THE TRAVELER (2006)

traveler cover

This is a low budget indie take on the craze of torture movies in which a group of strangers is trapped together and forced to play a “Survivor” game of voting on who dies next.

traveler couple

Here, a couple’s car breaks down on a deserted road, so they find an old house in which a group of friends is just squatting for thrills. The place is called the “Death House” because numerous murders took place there. What the group doesn’t expect is for some refined looking gentleman with an English accent to come in, explain to them the killing game he’s about to make them play to see who will be the lone survivor, and then proceed to use supernatural powers to hold everyone in place up against the wall while he tortures and mutilates them one by one.

traveler baddie

To be really clear, this is extremely low budget shot-on-video stuff, the film doesn’t need to run an hour and 44 minutes, and generally, if you’re going to watch this kind of film, you’ll probably want to stick to one with higher production value. However, there is a specific audience that will revel in this film: gore hounds.

traveler mouth torture

The long run time is due to the fact that nothing is left to the imagination. This man absolutely tears these people to bits in grisly, gruesome, and often inventive ways. He may be supernatural, but he uses good old sharp weapons to kill them as painfully as possible.

traveler face peel

Seriously, this feels like a movie made by a special effects master who wanted to show off some major talent.

SOMETHING BENEATH (2007)

something beneath cover

This SyFy movie is just silly and cheeky enough to be more entertaining than it should be. I guess that’s because director David Winning’s long career includes episodes of Friday the 13th: The Series, Are You Afraid Of The Dark?, and Todd and the Book Of Pure Evil.

I mostly had no fucking idea what was going on for a majority of the film. There’s some sort of underground dig where workers are being killed after getting slime on their hands. There are environmentalists clashing with climate-denying businessmen. People are pulled into alternate dimensions and terrorized by a variety of weird and creepy creatures while attending an ecology conference.

something beneath leads

Kevin Sorbo is a priest who teams up with the woman running the event, played by Natalie Brown (The Strain, Dawn of the Dead remake, Channel Zero, Saw V, Being Human, Bitten) to investigate the strange shit that’s happening.

something beneath demon woman

They end up underground with a wacky scientist, chasing a slimy creature that makes people die by experiencing their worst fears. Ah. It all makes sense at last.

something beneath boss

When we finally see the giant creature in an underground facility, not only is it cool looking, it’s like a boss battle from a Resident Evil video game, complete with tentacles and a puckering orifice that resembles a va-jay-jay. SyFy should aspire to deliver this kind of cheesy creature feature fun on a regular basis.

DAY OF THE AX (2007)

day of the ax cover

When you start watching a shot-on-video movie called Day Of The Ax and the killer is wielding a sledgehammer, your expectations immediately adjust to “temporarily out of order.” So, as no budget backwoods horror films clearly inspired by Texas Chainsaw Massacre go, this one does an OK job of capturing that spirit a few times in its 70-minute running time.

It opens with ominous looking black and white footage of a crime scene while a narrator informs us of the killer’s backstory. Then we get our first couple kill in the woods, complete with boobs and beaver, a creepy score, and an effectively threatening killer with a sack over his head.

day of ax killer

Next, we meet a detective investigating the murder, a group of friends heading to a cabin in the woods, and a crazy chick who keeps young women strapped up in an old shed…but does a really crappy job of it because they keep getting away.

day of ax shed woman

Understand, this is all very low budget. The bottom line is, a trio of psychos (crazy shed girl, sack head, and a hillbilly who acts like Chop-Top in Texas Chainsaw 2) kills some random people in the woods before finally terrorizing and torturing the kids in the cabin. Although most parties involved in this production come across as very amateur, the crazies give pretty good performances. While the gore is good in the final scenes, there’s nothing scary or suspenseful here to keep us riveted.

day of ax crazies

It’s a valiant effort at going for that grisly TCM tone, but the truth is, unless you can really deliver the sense of dread created by a film like that, your movie is sure to come across as nothing more than a horror fan’s attempt to live out a dream of being the one responsible for making a classic movie…that’s already been made.

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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