The Basement (1989) Big-Box Review Part 2: Video Violence

Camp Motion Pictures new release The Basement includes Video Violence and Video Violence 2, two sov slashers I love more than I should.  Having both films on one disc is great since tracking down the films on vhs is a damn difficult task.  The first Video Violence, which tells the story of a video store owner who discovers his customers are producing snuff films, is really a time capsule that captures the look and feel of the Mom & Pop video stores during the early days of vhs.  In Video Violence 2, killers Howard and Eli have graduated from snuff films to cable tv stars who torture their guests and show home movies sent in by fans.  It sort of like America’s Funniest Home Videos with blood and boobies.

The first special feature on the disk I’ll focus on is the interview with director Gary P. Cohen.  Mr. Cohen reveals he was inspired to make Video Violence when a woman with two small children walked into his video store and rented I Dismember Mama for her kids to watch.  The woman didn’t care about the violence or gore in the film, it was kid friendly as long as there was no nudity.  Cohen, horrified by the encounter, decided to turn the situation into a low budget horror film with the help of writer Paul Kaye.  Cohen also goes into detail about the making of Video Violence 2 and Captives, a film butchered by another video company and released as Mama’s Home.  The interview is sprinkled with bloopers from the first Video Violence and shots of the special effects crew working behind the scenes.  At the end of the interview Cohen makes it clear he’s willing to make Video Violence 3 if the fans want it.

(Don’t tease us Gary, just get to work on it.)

Both films feature commentary tracks with Gary Cohen, special effects guys Mark Dolson and Mark Kwiatek, co-writer Paul Kaye, and actors Art (Mr. Emery) Neill, David (retarded hillbilly vampire) Christopher, and Uke (Eli).  The commentary track on the first film is full of behind the scenes anecdotes and laughter.  At one point someone suggests the best way to watch Video Violence is with plenty of friends, beer, and chips.  They encourage the fans to talk and laugh along with them during the slow bits between murders.

There are fewer behind the scene stories on the second audio track because Cohen seems to be the only one who remembers making Video Violence 2.  Uke and the effects crew admit they were distracted during filming by the lovely Elizabeth Lee Miller, who spent most of the shoot tied up and topless.  One of the funniest moments during the second commentary occurs when David Christopher watches the acts of depravity filmed in his actors studio.  Christopher, who allowed Cohen to use the studio on weekends to film the “Howard and Eli” portion of the film, had not seen Video Violence 2 until the recording of the commentary track and his horrified reactions are hilarious.

The final extra is the Camp Video Vault which features trailers for Cannibal CampoutWoodchipper Massacre, Ghouls School, Video Violence, and Video Violence 2.

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