I don’t know why I put myself through this, but I simply had to watch these 3 low budget films from the 90s that all look like they were shot on a handheld VHS camera.
L.A. AIDS JABBER (1994)
This movie was released over a decade after the AIDS epidemic first gained prominence around the world, yet it is totally based on a major AIDS panic urban legend that everyone heard about back then…a crazy guy running around jabbing people with a syringe full of AIDS-tainted blood. It has also been retitled to sound more exploitative and offensive; the original title was simply Jabber.
Amazingly, there are absolutely no derogatory references to gay men or attacks aimed at the queer community in this film, so kudos to the creators for that. Our main guy Jeff is a straight dude who finds out from his doctor that he is HIV positive. This is where the film shows its ignorance, mostly going directly to “I have AIDS and I’m going to die” to serve the urgency of the killer’s motivation rather than exploring the idea of being HIV positive.
However, while this film is considered a horror movie with a slasher template, it’s really not, because the dude targets those he feels have wronged him by just jabbing them with his needle and then leaving. It’s not as if they’re going to die on the spot.
In an effort to capture the sleazy feel of indie movies from the early 80s, we get plenty of shots of seedy city streets lined with porn businesses, and our jabber goes after the likes of a prostitute and a psychic, but there’s no nudity, no gore, and no suspense.
In fact, the majority of the film focuses on the detectives on the case, and it’s quite boring. When they finally track down the jabber, the “shocker” twist makes this feel like it should have been a short episode of The Hitcher or Tales from the Crypt rather than a full-length feature.
THE NECRO FILES (1997)
This one makes up for all the exploitation Jabber lacked, beginning with hairy pussy, tits, and ass in the shower.
A masked psycho breaks in, rapes, stabs, and kills the woman showering and then cuts off her nipple and eats it.
Then shit gets crazy…
The cops shoot the psycho, he’s buried, a satanic cult resurrects home by sacrificing a baby (an obvious doll) and pissing on his grave. Like, we actually get a shot of urine streaming from a wiener.
The psycho rises from the grave as a corpse and starts hunting down, raping, and killing people as they’re involved in skanky sex, from a BDSM couple to a woman fucking a blowup doll with a dildo.
Meanwhile, the dead baby is also somehow resurrected and flies around talking like a chipmunk from outer space. The best part is when it hunts down to funny rednecks that regret having participated in the satanic cult.
It’s pure nasty absurdity made for a very particular audience. You know who you are.
I’m not saying that’s who I am, but with the other options in this trio, The Necro Files was definitely the most satisfying selection in this triple feature.
THE HIDDEN (1993)
This Australian film runs 77 minutes long, but it can’t come up with any horror energy to keep it going.
After a dude doing a drug deal in a sewer tunnel is attacked and killed by infrared monster POV, his brother becomes determined to find out who killed him.
His hunt to uncover the truth consists mostly of talk and bad dreams. That’s all you get until the last few minutes, when the brother and his friends set a booby trap to lure the monster out of the tunnel…with cocaine.
There are shirtless guys, a lot more infrared POV, and fleeting shots of what basically looks like a guy in a gorilla or Bigfoot costume, and that’s all the horror this snoozer has to offer due to the non-existent budget. Fun concept though.