Shot-on-video movies hold a special place in my horror loving, mainstream hating heart. You know from the outset that, due to their SOV nature, these movies aren’t going to be anything that could be described as polished. Shit, most of them are downright garbage. The one thing they always seem to deliver on though is fresh ideas that “real” movies with those things called budgets can’t always deliver, usually due to the aforementioned money involved in making them. Enter Marcus Koch’s Rot, a punk rock shot-on-video trashterpiece that walks that fine line between “who the fuck gave this asshole a camera?” and “ give this guy a real budget and let’s see what he can do!”
Rot answers some age old questions such as “What do chubby punk rock chicks with questionable hygiene do to get their rocks off?” FUCK CORPSES IS WHAT!(this might explain why it was so hard to get laid in high school). Rot‘s “plot” centers around the plight of Sarah (played by the superbly named Tiffany Stinky) and her boyfriend Muzzy (Billy Scam) who catch the rot after Sarah fucks the wrong corpse at the morgue one night and gets infected with something she doesn’t already have. Throughout the course of the film (I’m feeling generous as I write this and am granting this “film” status), we watch Sarah and Muzzy slowly decay and, well, rot before our eyes.
Despite being covered in as many scabs and blemishes as a $2 street hooker on a meth bender, I loved this absolute shit out of this movie. It kicks you in the teeth and beats you over the head with it’s attitude, as anything worth it’s punk rock patches and pins should. “But Scotty, having my teeth kicked in isn’t really my thing” you say? You should maybe avoid this one and stay within the big name studio horror safe zone then. I hear James Wan has a new movie coming out that supposed to be “sooo scary!”. If you’ve got the balls and maybe a taste for self-abuse though, pick this the fuck up. You will be far from disappointed. Bonus: the soundtrack to this movie is straight-up street punk of the dirtiest kind so even if the visuals aren’t stimulating you, you can slam dance to it.
Being the amiable folks that they are, our friends at Cult Movie Mania are unleashing this beauty into the world of DVD (ooo, so shiny) for the very first time. Own a part of punk/horror/SOV history and pick it up from them when it hits the streets. The guys at CMM really sweetened the deal with this one though. One of the (short bus) special features that they packed this release with is an interview with director Marcus Koch conducted by Herb Kowalsky, who I can only assume got paid in cheap gin and as much glue as he could sniff.
I don’t normally mention bonus features and the like in reviews but I can’t separate Rot and this interview in my mind; It actually might be as good as the movie itself. I may or may not have been crying with laughter and waking up the neighbors with my wails of amusement while watching it. Fuck, even Robin watched it and lost her shit and she normally refuses to watch special features on principle. So stop sucking at the big name studio teat, hit up Cultmoviemania.com , buy this shit and thank me later.
When Scotty Floronic and myself journeyed South to Texas to the inaugural Housecore Horror film festival, I knew that we would be coming home with our bags packed staggeringly full of strange movies. Insert Cult Movie Mania. Now, Cult Movie Mania had a table at Housecore and not only did they have utterly legit flicks for sale but they were also giving out 100% Satan Approved buttons which is pretty great. Also, they lovingly donated a copy of ROT to us for review and promo. Now Rot has a pretty cool cover that looks almost like it could be the cover of an old punk album. We were recommended to be solidly intoxicated during the viewing, which really is just a given, and once home we set about watching. Rot tells the story of Billy Scamm and Tiffany Stinky and how they get a disease called ROT from fucking corpses. Well Tiffany Stinky gets the Rot from fucking a corpse and then Billy Scamm gets it from fucking her and unlike a case of the Clap, this isn’t a disease easily cleared up by antibiotics and the pair begin to slowly decompose.
At Housecore, we were able to meet the director Marcus Koch.. Technically it was outside of a Walgreens and surreal is certainly a word best used to describe that meeting – a pink Mohawked be striped man and a dude with two foot long orange dreads and a drunk girl wearing flowers. If we had been decomposing it might have even been a scene from Rot actually. Both Marcus and Cult Movie Mania warned us that te movie was terrible, and they are both filthy liars because I enjoyed it immensely. Maybe it’s because I grew up as a punker and just enjoyed the subject matter intensely or maybe it’s because it’s something I might have made. The film didn’t try too hard to be something it wasn’t and it appeared that the cast was having a lot of fun. My only queries were as to why Toffany Stinky’s punk rock name was Stinky. In my experience, all the punk rockers I knew rechristened themselves with bad ass names, not schoolyard banter, but hey whatever. I’m not gonna make fun of anyone’s name. Honestly I thought Rot was pretty good. It’s not trying to be a big budget flick, the script is easy and doesn’t try to be a highly stylized Diablo Cody mess and I laughed a lot so that was a plus. I’m actually not sure what was better – the actual film or the Herb Kowalski interview with Marcus Koch. I don’t know who Herb Kowalski is or why his eyebrows keep falling off – maybe he had the Rot, but I really want his number.
I appreciate that some of Rot is filmed at a punk show and that it uses punk rock music (my favourite addition being the Shut Up Fuck Off Fuck You ditty – it was truly like being serenaded by Mohawked angels) a lot of movies and a lot of people actually try to be punk rock or maintain that look and attitude and leave out the most important part which is the spirit and the music. How many horror movies have I watched that throw a Mohawk on a character and go, “okay this is punk”? TOO FUCKING MANY. rot was old school and gritty and I dug it. So grab your beer and a copy from Cult Movie Mania and up the punx!