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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Rabbit Hole (You've Been Robbed/DVD) - The Rabbit Hole is Deeper Than the Rabbit Hole

Let’s get a couple things out of the way. I’m a huge fan of You’ve Been Robbed Films. I’m a fan of Rob Dimension as a Director , Actor, Podcaster, Writer… He’s a great guy who embodies the positive spirit that is not only essential to being a member of the horror community but for an artist to strive to make meaningful work. Thus I support Dimension’s work. I’ll contribute to a fund raising campaign or share his work with peers. I encourage you to do the same and put your cash where your indie spirit is. This is not a disclaimer as such because I don’t feel that contributing to a project including the one I’m about to review means that you will necessarily love the outcome, but I truly enjoyed You’ve Been Robbed Films’ latest effort Rabbit Hole. I’m glad to have contributed to it by purchasing it during its fundraising campaign. I’m ecstatic that the spirit of independent horror and dark fantasy is alive and well. Both Rob Dimension and Mike O'Mahony at the helm makes for a disturbing, mind scrabbling piece of tripadelic, horror fiction.

Synopsis from You’ve Been Robbed Films:

RABBIT HOLE is a twisted tale of a young mother, Dottie, who upon waking, discovers her child is missing. For Dottie the truenightmares happen when she isn’t sleeping. Can she be saved? If so, from who or what?

May HE have mercy on her soul.

How far will you go down the Rabbit Hole?

What works for Rabbit Hole? The performances by Megan Cunard, Rob Dimension, Kim Dimension and Lexi Lebo are all outstanding. Each actor gives it his or her all conveying emotional characters fraught with turmoil the origin of which comes from a rather unknown direction. The origin is a very real, non-fantasy based sourced though I’ll leave it to your viewing eyes to see just from where it raises its seductive head. The whole thing feels like it takes place in the same world as Carnival of Souls. It’s as if Kim and Lexi’s characters are responding to a force beyond reality; almost reacting to a nightmare that is their lives and wandering through a strange fever dream that may not be their own dream or their own doomed reality. Rob Dimension’s role as a religious, psychotic zealot bent on a ritual based moral salvation is full televangelism-gone-creep-out. Great makeup job on Rob and some good special effects work all around with makeup and costuming that is pure 70’s eerie.

Dimension mentions that he was strongly influenced by David Lynch in the commentary for Rabbit Hole, and it shows. The connection Eraserhead in choice of color palette, dialogue that is cryptic and indirect and a deeper underlying metaphor create a surreal world. The metaphor is a decipherable one, but you have to wait for the climax to feel its full impact. This is a film that you can take as an allegory or you can watch it for the pure visual horror of the thing. It’s important to watch Rabbit Hole twice. Once as a pure horror film. Once as with meaning beyond the visual presentation. Feel just how dark this movie can go on a superficial level and then allow yourself to attach to it emotionally by feeling the deeper meaning.

As luck would have it I watched Rabbit Hole on Easter Eve and though I’m not a religious fella, some of the religious imagery conveyed in Rabbit Hole may be moderately offensive to those of you who don’t want to look for the underlying message in the film and take it for face value critique. In keeping with that strange coincidence of watching Rabbit Hole so close to Easter there happens to be a anthropomorphized rabbit in the movie! The bunny in the film, masterfully puppeteered by the Dimensions and company is beyond freaky. That thing has the best eyes! It works from a metaphorical perspective to create an idea, but as a piece of visual horror, this thing isn’t the fun loving muppet you may be used to in some of Dimension’s other work. I haven’t been this disturbed by a puppet since Meet the Feebles.

Rabbit Hole isn’t entirely a straight forward piece of horror fiction. It’s a deeper hole. It has subtle and not so subtle messages that will prompt discussion and thought. This combined with its surreal elements may not make it accessible for all viewers including those who are simply looking for a monster or hack and slash film. I encourage those viewers to appreciate it for the deeper meaning and enjoy some of the visual queues that provide excellent moments of dread and terror.

The Rabbit Hole DVD that I reviewed is a double disc with some fantastic extras that really make this more of a package rather than just buying a mere short. As I watched the commentaries and additional short films, I realized that the whole package felt like a makeshift anthology picture each movie, though not all directed by Dimension, conveyed a socially relevant concept with deeply dark overtones.

Don’t Try This at Home, from Mike O'Mahony who co-directed Rabbit Hole, is a perfectly engrossing and disturbing short about what happens when you leave your kids alone with a VCR and a mysterious tape. Having ben in that situation before (I Spit on Your Grave was the movie in my case), it’s always a crap shoot. You’re going to love the darkly comedic, gross out of a picture Mahoney delivers with a bit of eroticism and a whole lot of “what the fuck did you just put in my brain”.

M is for Memories, directed by one of my favorite gore-smiths Adam Ahlbrant, was an entry for ABC’s of Death 2 that did not make it. It stars Ahlbrant and Dimension in a strange tale of murder by proxy. It’s beautiful and dirty. It’s the kind of filthy gorgeous we have come to expect and love from Ahlbrant. Both actors offer awesome performances. If you’ve ever wanted to watch Rob Dimension shave, here’s your chance.

Boob Tube, also directed and starring Dimension is a brilliant commentary on relationships, our relationship to the physical and most importantly, our incessant need to be interconnected and dependent. It’s humorous and vulgar without being gratuitous. I mean… I too have though about having relations with a television, and as a tapehead of old my VCR almost lost its virginity when I first saw Sleepaway Camp 2.  Boob Tube also has a commentary track for your enjoyment.

Once you finish disc 1, you have to change your viewing hat. Disc 2 features an episodic documentary following Curt Robinson’s ascension into the world of professional wrestling. This is not a horror picture, but rather a heartfelt love note to Dimension’s son who is an inspiration in his attempt to break into the world of sports entertainment. His journey is not over and it is tremendous. A must watch for folks who love professional or amateur wrestling or enjoy impassioned tales of heroics not unlike a young Rocky Balboa.  I am proud of Robinson’s efforts, and I only wish I had had the chance to see this before meeting Curt at Monster Mania in March. I hope to see him again soon and congratulate him on achieving part of his dream. There’s more greatness in Robinson than we know now, but I suspect he knows just how much greatness he has inside judging by the maximum effort, sacrifice and commitment to his goal.

You can pick up Rabbit Hole now on DVD or a Rabbit Hole t-shirt: http://youvebeenrobbedfilms.blogspot.com/p/merchandise.html

Follow You’ve Been Robbed Films for the next project from Dimension and company here (currently selling preorders of Moritmor Tromblay):

Support indie horror because it really can change the world and your mind.

Full release details from You've Been Robbed:

Disc 1 -

DVD cover may vary

RABBIT HOLE (also w/commentary by Rob Dimension and Mike O'Mahony)
Boob Tube (also w/commentary by Rob Dimension, Kim Dimension and Matt Barnes)
M is for Memoirs
Don't Try This At Home

Disc 2 -
The Journey
Steps 1-5 plus additional match featuring Curt Robinson vs Mr. Sozio

Details:

Rabbit Hole - RABBIT HOLE is the story of a young Mother named Dottie, who upon waking, discovers her child is missing. For Dottie, the true nightmares happen when she isn't sleeping. Can she be saved? If so, saved from who or what? May HE have mercy on her soul. (17 mins)

Boob Tube - Everyone loves television. For some, it becomes an obsession. (This short was something Kim, Matt and I wanted to do since we reached and passed our fundraising goal as a thank you). This film was directed by Rob Dimension and Matt Barnes (6 mins)

Don't Try This at Home - In an attempt to spice up their love life a young couple may have bitten off more than they can chew. This film is directed by Mike O'Mahony

M is For Memoirs - this was an entry into the ABC's of Death from filmmaker Adam Ahlbrandt and stars Rob and Kim Dimension (5 mins)

The Journey Steps 3-5 - This documents the story of a 14 yr old amateur wrestler, who chases his dream to become a professional wrestler. Each episode has been labeled as a "Step", this event will be the World Premier of Step 5. In this Step, Curt Robinson faces juggling school, wrestling season, injuries and more. This film is directed by Matt Barnes and Rob Dimension. You can watch the other "steps" at www.CurtRobinsonPro.com

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