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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things (Vinegar Syndrome DVD)

Director Thomas Casey, the man behind Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things only was responsible for one movie. He wrote a documentary and he even wrote a picture about a group of Nazis who were trying to resurrect Hitler… in Florida. So you can imagine how good Flesh Feast turned out.  Still, out of his own time and out of his location in Florida, Casey actually directed a fairly racy film with raising questions about everything from homophobia to the nature of criminality. Though I will admit that some of the talk about Casey making Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things as a critique of criminality and sexual orientation seems to be a lot of revisionist hog wash. Casey made a movie that has moments of extreme violence and moments of endearing romantic attachment with shades of slapstick humor and overtones of the exploitation era that was about to take 42nd Street by storm. Transplant Casey to New York City, introduce him to Miligan or a sleazy renaissance man and you may have seen a slew of pictures come forth from his loins.

Instead we have a great title. We have an excellent choice of artwork from Vinegar Syndrome that is eye catching and quite frightening (though the movie is not the least bit scary) and an attempt to give a quiet voice in the regional film history of Florida and audience.

Overall I enjoyed Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things. It has some interesting costume choices, and I’m particularly sensitive to its brand of hijinks, but the picture drags on as we try to establish an ending. Of course our partners in crime will be discovered. That’s the formula for this type of movie (for some reason I keep thinking of this as the precursor to Bosom Buddies). A few hits of ultra-violence with and a feeling that the true nature of the criminal is to be a criminal and not to feel sympathy is a stereotype driven home in this picture. I think that my preconceived notion about how the title might play into the story may have been a letdown. I imagined an evil aunt, homicidal and quirky with a high pitched voice and a penchant for killing people in clever ways. You really just get a crime thriller with some dark moments and some misplaced emotions that seem to side and the sexually frustrated and confused.

You can order Sometimes Aunt Martha Does DreadfulThings from Vinegar Syndrome. Be sure to set your expectation for thriller in lieu of traditional Psycho-esque horror picture. This is not the precursor to Mother’s Day and just because it has an elongated 

From Vinegar Syndrome:

While on the run from the law, two criminals decide to hide out in a small Florida town. The ringleader, Paul, concocts a plan to pretend to be his child-like accomplice Stanley’s estranged Aunt Martha. Taking over a large old house, Paul and Stanley attempt to lay low, but trouble soon arises when a local girl takes a liking to Stanley and invites him out with her friends. Paul, becoming increasingly paranoid, decides that the only way they can maintain their cover is by murdering everyone who has even the slightest suspicion of what’s really going on, but Stanley isn’t so sure he wants to keep on hiding…

This bizarre, Florida shot regional film made by one-time director Thomas Casey is less a horror movie than a hybrid of crime thriller and vaguely homoerotic relationship drama, with some bloody death scenes and moments of T&A thrown in for good measure. Nearly impossible to see for years, Vinegar Syndrome and AGFA bring this totally unique piece of low-rent trash to DVD, in its proper aspect ratio for the very first time. Also featuring a new commentary track with cult filmmaker David DeCoteau (rapidheart.com) and film historian Nathaniel Thompson (mondo-digital.com).

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