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Death by 1000 Cuts - Toxic Filth Video Print E-mail
User Rating: / 1
Written by Jay Creepy   
Thursday, 01 August 2019


Severed Cinema review of Death by 1000 Cuts from Toxic Filth Video

Directed by: Sam Salerno
Written by: Sam Salerno
Produced by: Sam Salerno
Cinematography by: Adrian Hernendez
Editing by: Sam Salerno
Music by: Paul Salerno
Special Effects by: Allie Shehorn, James Bell.
Cast: Aaron Berjohn, Rosie Koocher, Brett Burrier, Jimmy Applewhite, Sam Salerno, Art Roberts
Year: 2019
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 27 min

Distribution: Toxic Filth Video

You know what? I love reviewing Sam Salerno's stuff. There's so much wicked cheekiness and creativity in his works and you simply don't know quite what's going to happen.

Take his début release, Dark Side of the Womb (see review here). I described the whole experience as this: “Back in the 80s, this would have been a straight-to-video tape legend on the market, spoken about by real tacky horror enthusiasts, and hated by Fangoria. That is a cool recommendation.” Then Kiss My Ashes (see review here) upped the zany and twisted game to a new level. I stand by the fact I believe Sam is the new John Waters! If us beasts at Severed Cinema did a top 5 flicks of the year list, Kiss My Ashes would have been in my top 3 for 2018. Serious talk!

So, with Death by 1000 Cuts, Sam does a full swerve on his audience and takes us upon a disturbing head-fuck journey which is played totally seriously. It's as if he's saying, “So, you've seen my wild side.....Say...come closer....wanna see my sick side?” I don't mean he's about to unzip his pants (Or do I?), I actually am preparing you for the Summer of Sam Salerno, because this short flick will probably get whispered about in many circles. 

Death by a thousand cuts refers to an ancient torture in which numerous small cuts were made on the victim’s body.” states a voice as we witness the grainy footage of a lady howling and crying in a bathtub as a fella wearing a mask performs the said deed. “None of the cuts by themselves were deadly, but the combination would cause the victim to die a slow painful death.” To which our narrator states the psychological terminology to add depth to proceedings.

Cutting (ho-ho-ho) to a news report we find that there's been a string of disappearances in the area. We next meet Johnny, who runs a YouTube (or something similar) channel devoted to the gory and weird. He talks about how he saw a girl grabbed in the woods and he followed. His plan is to return to the house he watched her taken to, armed with his camera, and entertain his viewers.

Johnny enters the edifice and after much creeping around, discovers a few VHS tapes. He plays one and a young chap is being menaced by a masked bloke (no, the victim is Sam himself! I lifted the hit I placed upon him when I reviewed Dark Side of the Womb!!! I feel somewhat responsible!). The guy hurts him, then Sam hangs (Mind you, I do recall his Dr. Hook character.... meh)

More atrocities follow, including the introduction we had of the lady in the bath. Sneaking around the house, Johnny finds a few body parts, odds ‘n’ ends, etcetera, all inspired by the Ed Gein case and a bit of Buchenwald. Johnny's alarmed when he finds a still living victim. However, two men in masks enter the house and Sam decides to go all intense and really scar the viewer’s inner mind’s eye.

Death by 1000 Cuts is quite frankly a seriously hardcore piece of work. Sam Salerno is really pulling the rug out from under his followers, then yanking out their intestines to stick mousetraps on the juicy gory floppy bits.

The poster for this short is wonderful, by the way. It's like an album cover by the Murder Junkies (post GG era) and looks like a comedy. You know how, back in the days when Airplane spoofed around, that serious movie, Alligator arrived. Its video cover had the big ol' reptile tied in a knot, so loads of people would have watched believing it to be a proper knee slapping punch-yo-Mama hootsville flick? Hahaha, honestly, the cover to Death by 1000 Cuts had me thinking about that. Awesome.

What I also thought about was Killers by Mike Mendez from the mid-90s. The scenes within the house of mutilation really kicked that old classic around a bit, mainly down to the style and lighting. The whole idea behind the deaths is that the duo of masked chaps don't actually kill anyone, which was a neat touch.

My one criticism is I feel more should have happened. The film slowed down and had a rather abrupt if sensible ending, but I do believe an extra ten minutes of something more in the last section would have beefed things up to make jaws drop instead of expectations.

Anyhow, the cast perform well enough, especially Rosie Koocher as bath babe, Christina, who gets a bigger role than you'd originally think. Plus, Brett Burrier, though a little bit wooden here and there, holds up as main character, Johnny, okay enough. However, it's Aaron Berjohn as the masked fiend who steals the ride and crashes through all the walls. He's convincing and low-key in equal doses. It seems Aaron has a speciality CV of varied roles from being a demon, a zombie, skinhead, coroner, and much more in the last few years. Last shout out goes to the supplier of body parts, multi-talented monster, James Bell. If you don't know his name and you adore underground horror flicks, shame on you!

Death by 1000 Cuts reveals much more behind the gates of Sam's mausoleum than what would be expected. Darkness and glistening crimson things...


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