Saturday, April 15, 2017

Dream Stalker and Death By Love

                                                                 by Mrparka
                Two obscure SOV films debut on DVD thanks to the folks at InterVision. First on the slate from this demented duo is the bizarre dream slasher, "Dream Stalker". The latter half of the pair is the Texas oddball sleaze fest "Death By Love"; both of these flicks are too weird to pass up and need to be seen to be believed. They are presented in widescreen with optional subtitles, due to spots of poor sound.
                “Dream Stalker” is a story of lost love and awoken powers.  When Ricky Dies (his last name is really dies) dies during a dirt bike race, his telekinetic girlfriend’s powers become uncontrollable during her sleep.  This set of absurd circumstances lead to a melted, wisecracking, dirt biking dream demon entering the real world with jealously and revenge on his mind. Ricky travels into this world through a music box that plays eerie music whenever he crosses over.
                “Dream Stalker” has all the makings to create a midnight movie classic; awkward dialogue, over the top performances, cheesy deaths, one-liners from hell, and a slew of characters that seem to be aliens. On the less than stellar side, “Dream Stalker” is poorly edited. This is most likely due to sound problems as we learn in the special features. These edits ruin what would be some cool gore gags and even end up cutting out exposition.  Sound issues aren’t the films only problem, the tone in the film never quite feels right. At times, Ricky comes across like a protective, vengeful boyfriend while other times, becomes a full on rapist; all done in the style of a rejected Freddy Kruger. Unfortunately, Ricky isn’t the only rapist in the film. A group of troubled teens are camping nearby and a pair of rapists is among them. The whole group of teens is rather disgusting and or weirdos with a mean-spirited attitude for seemingly little to no reason. With all the nonsense, “Dream Stalker” still ends up having a memorable scene or two, mostly due to the ridiculous performance of Mark Dias as Ricky and some solid effects; the forced, gratuitous nudity doesn’t hurt either.
                “Death By Love” is our second feature and surprisingly even more odd than our first. “Death By Love” follows the story of a wealthy sculptor and ladies’ man that is being stalked by a supposed Satanist who believes our sculptor is, in fact, Satan. When our sculptor's girlfriend ends up dead, a pair of cops figure it must be the stalking Satanist. Soon, the roles are reversed and it’s up to the cops to figure it all out before it’s too late.  If that doesn't sound wild enough for you, toss in some regional Texan flair and a midway twist so bonkers, it works.
                Death by Love’s twist is the highlight. Its cheesy and sleazy nature help, but the twist is truly the mind-boggling saving grace. The film is a part of its time. The whole satanic element to the film comes across as rather silly, clearly being inspired by the satanic panic that was still in a fairly strong stride at the time of its creation. This element adds a layer of ridiculousness that plays into the film's charm. The film’s director also happens to be our ladies’ man; a bulky, balding, middle-aged man. This doesn’t seem to stop him from having numerous sex scenes with various attractive women. The whole ordeal comes across as sleazy yet the actors seem to be enjoying themselves throughout the film. The dialogue in the film is awkward, but charming and while pretty far from Hollywood, I couldn’t help but smile when one of the cops referred to McDonalds as “Mickey D’s”. The film has its fair share of nudity and even features an older woman as somewhat of a love interest, a tad refreshing.

                The DVD special features include a few interviews for both films. Mark Dias (Ricky) comes across as somewhat embarrassed, but very good natured about “Dream Stalker” and seems to be a genuinely likable person while telling several anecdotes about the movie. The producer, Tom Naygrow, also gives a very candid interview and is honest and upfront without going off subject. The interviews on “Death By Love” are that of the actress Yvonne Aric who recalls having fond memories of her only role and that of one of the cops, Brad Bishop, who reminisces about an injury he had while making the movie and some of his costars. Also featured is an interview with the director of “Death By Love” Alan Grant. All the interviews give you an insight on making an independent SOV movie from the 90’s while keeping your interest.
Plot Summary:
“It fits right in with THINGS and SLEDGEHAMMER”, raves “DREAM STALKER is something special!” When a Sacramento supermodel is haunted by the super-mulleted corpse of her dead motocross-racer boyfriend, it will unleash an erratically ambitious nightmare of cheap lighting, bad sound, bizarre plotting, gratuitous nudity and grisly effects that Bleeding Skull says is “guaranteed to make you feel like you're trapped in a lo-fi psychedelic abyss of fun!”
Special Features:

- Death By Love Feature
- Remembering Ricky: With Actor Mark Dias
- Dirt Bike Dreams: With Executive Producer Tom Naygrow
- Alan Grant Remembers Death By Love Via Video Skype
- Yvonne Aric And Brad Bishop Remember Death By Love Via Video Skype

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