Director Jason M. Koch — no stranger to controversy with his ABCs of Death 2.5 (2016) segment “M is for Munging” and his grisly feature 7th Day (2013) — tackles Chritsian faith and lack thereof in his latest film, Beneath the Black Veil. The lives and marriage of Genna (Samantha Jean) and her husband Aaron (Michael Acosta) are shattered when their child is killed by a driver. When the driver is not punished by law for the accident, the couple plots to take their anger at God out by killing the driver and breaking all of the Ten Commandments. This proves difficult when Aaron cannot find the willpower to leave their house, and then finds himself growing grotesquely sicker. Meanwhile, Genna’s behavior becomes ever odder, alarming her coworkers and close friend. Koch, who wrote the screenplay based on a story by Stephen Biro (writer of the American Guinea Pig films), doesn’t shy away from blasphemy in this body horror/occult horror outing with dark comic elements. The film has an odd feel to it, as it is deliberately heavy on the melodrama, leading to some borderline overacting for which the style is known, and has somewhat of a David Lynchian vibe to the proceedings at times, as well. Jean owns the screen whenever she is on it, making her character’s arc all the more intriguing. Beneath the Black Veil is meant to get under the skin, and it succeeds well in that department.
Prolific shoestring-budget director Jeff Leroy sends up 1950s giant-human science fiction films such as Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958) and The Amazing Colossal Man (1957) and tokusatsu television series such as Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Ultraman with his latest feature, Giantess Attack versus Mecha Fembot. Diedre (Tasha Tacosa) and Frida (Rachel Riley) are two superheroes with the ability to grow to giant proportions who are having a feud of their own. An evil space queen named Metaluna (Christine Nguyen) forces scientist Doctor Drew (John Karyus) into creating a mecha fembot (Vlada Fox) to wreak havoc and destruction on Earthlings. Frida is left to face the robotic ransacker by herself, unless Diedre can get past her anger toward her partner. This sequel to 2017’s Giantess Attack is rife with scantily clad actresses delivering cheesy lines, jokes of the both the corny and questionable kind (including some ill-advised attempts at humor regarding rape), and special effects that range from hilarious (often intentionally) to those of the “Hey, that was pretty impressive” variety. The carnage delivered to the film’s models and miniature sets is quite an accomplishment in itself. Leroy’s over-the-top outing is highly self-aware, and it is the type of film that will be appreciated by very specific audiences, including fans of ultra-low-budget satires and cornball comedies with lots of cheesecake on display.
Beneath the Black Veil and Giantess Attack versus Mecha Fembot screened at Another Hole in the Head Film Fest, which ran December 1st –15th at New People Cinema in San Francisco.