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Monday, March 18, 2013

The Pizza Man: A Short Film with Extra Cheese and a Whole Lotta Sausage

I'm a short film nut. I love 'em. That's truly why I love judging the Killer Film Festival each year. Hopefully I'll be back again this year, and I'll tell you now that every year the submissions keep getting better. More competitive. Having said that I know that certain movies would do well in film festivals.It's not a premonition but more of a gut feeling. That is not to stay that all films that do well at festivals are actually good, but The Pizza Man is actually good.  The Pizza Man from Matthew Burd is  a contender if it wants to be.

The Pizza Man begins with a very simple premise, someone's on the loose. None of us know where that someone is and a young couple engaged in an abusive relationship has just order a pie for delivery from "The Pizza Man". Guess what happens from there? Yes, it's exactly what you think it is... until it isn't. Slasher film 101 script number 54 takes shape quickly and then, just when you think you have it all figured out, the twist and the laughs and some good storytelling. That's the beauty of Burd's film. In the first five minutes you believe that you have the whole thing figured out and then you'll be enthralled in a story of revenge filled with humor and torture and some genuine creepy moments.

First step: Go enjoy the trailer HERE.

The film suffers from some poorly lit shots. Audio that was not recorded well. Some edits that simply do not work or are choppy. It's a low budget film. Some of the effects work isn't convincing or camp; it's ambitious but maybe to its detriment.  It's independently produced and with a clever story. We'll let some of the "baddies slide. Even thought I mention them there they did not truly detract from the story. Let's talk about what works.

Matthew Burd has a talented cast with which to work. Stacy Casebeer is a fabulous lead who can carry a range of emotions from torment to tormentor and plays it funny. She has a gift for humor. She wore many hats in the Pizza Man production. John Fanjoy, Brian Miller (as THE PIZZA MAN) and Steve Vil (composer for No Clowning Around as well) bring excellent performances. Steve Vil as Mr. Goodchow is most enjoyable all be it with camp sensibilities and near overbearing amounts of good will. For a bunch of folks who are working on their first movie, there's a whole lotta heart here.

Personal favorites: Seeing Late Night at the Horror Hotel on the boobtube during the movie. I laughed. I cried. It's comfort TV and I miss it. Also, I'm a big fan of drilling actually screws into the human body. Well done (for all I said about the effects work earlier this worked well). The music is fitting, original and I love it. Ryan Corrigan, Methodical and Powervalve team up to create a nice soundscape for the picture.

Horror Shop Films should submit this around to festivals. It's a solid story with elements of humor while still be suspenseful and gruesome and dark. That's the kind of movie that will succeed to an audience who is horror or civilian. Matthew Burd recently worked on 6 Degrees of Hell (not my favorite picture) and No Clowning Around (recently reviewed for this site and loved). He's honing his skills though not always as a director, his effort in his recent endeavors is certainly showing that he's got staying power and is a great asset to a production that will have him as a member. Filmed in Phillipsburg, NJ (about 40 minutes from my house) for $1500, it's hits close to home and, I'll admit, it made me hungry. Just writing this damn review made me hungry. I live in New Jersey. Pizza is like oxygen.


Make sure to check out the trailer and follow Horror Shop Films on FaceBook (though not a lot of recent activity). Reviewers who would like to take a look at this movie throw me an email and we'll get you in touch with Horror Shop Films. grindhousehorror@gmail.com (that's Dr. TERROR's email).

-Dr. TERROR


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