Chaos A.D. / Fair use doctrine.

MOVIE REVIEW: Chaos A.D. (2016)

By Alex Murphy
Chaos A.D. is the newest film from Chris Woods, the man behind The Sleaze Box, the studio responsible for such films as Amerikan Holokaust and Skumbagz. Woods’ films have a trashy, pocket money vibe. They could’ve come out of a wadded up flyer on the floor of a public bathroom. Down in Tampa, FL, The Sleaze Box has its own version of John Waters’ Dreamland. The films are peppered with the usual faces and locations, often the homes of the actors and producers. These people are friends with each other in their personal lives, and their natural chemistry shows on camera. Chaos A.D. boasts a cast that’s like an underground MagnoliaBob Glazier, Ashley Lynn Caputo, Joel D. Wynkoop, Lisa Marie Kart, Sean Donohue, and the list goes on.
The first half hour introduces a variety of characters whose lives eventually intersect on a Halloween night. We meet a sorta-wholesome brother and sister, a woman who kills her abusive husband, and a local politician with an addiction to prostitutes. These misfits find themselves together in a dungeon, kidnapped by a group of sadistic cannibals led by a pirate TV broadcaster named Bytch. Most of what follows is straight up torture porn of the Tampa variety. Gore aficionados take note. The rest of the world might not have an easier time swallowing it, but maybe that’s part of the allure of underground horror.
There’s a verve and maybe even a desperation to this kind of filmmaking, and Woods’ films display everything that’s fun and bright-eyed about the subgenre. This film opens with a shot of a plastic pumpkin on a countertop. That could be a metaphor for the movie – a plastic pumpkin, never meant to be taken seriously, but emblematic of a certain type of living. Kind of like a plastic pink flamingo. The opening image in a film should set up some sort of thematic purpose for the story being told, and this image works nicely.
The makeup effects by Picardo Limbo never look like plastic limbs drenched in ketchup. There’s a meaty quality to the many entrails spilled. This is bubbling, gristly gore, with plenty of what I’m confident are real animal parts. The lighting in the dungeon sequences is mostly harsh reds, greens, and blues, over scenes that depict rape, torture, dismemberment, a crown of thorns, a gun in the crotch, and much more. The soundtrack is eclectic, with droning synthesizer in one scene and horror strings in the next. The film is a grab-bag of kitsch, movie homages, and staples of the underground genre. The camerawork seems to be influenced by giallo films and SOV gore flicks, showing the kills in exact precision.
Chaos A.D. was well-received at its premiere this past summer at Slaughter in Syracuse. It should appease any fans of American Guinea Pig (another Tampa film) who are looking for something a little less self-serious, an X-rated Roger Corman. A worthy follow-up to Death-scort Service, the last collaboration between The Sleaze Box and Gatorblade Films.
Follow the film’s Facebook page for details on its release.

Posted by Alex Murphy

Alex Murphy is the co-creator of the digital series Ricky Shore Sings the Blues (RSStB) and the co-director of the feature horror films Pain Shack, Blowing Raspberries, and Bad Energy. He lives in West Bloomfield, Michigan, with his wife and daughter.

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