Literally being finalized mere hours before its first ever screening, Betamax is the diffinition of underground filmmaking, full of ingenuity and low-budget antics. Betamax is a collective response of underground filmmakers to the recent string of anthology horror movies, and it’s without question the most strange, fun, and batshit insane anthology I’ve seen in awhile. The first segment ‘Format War’ takes the Betamax vs. VHS format war to the extreme, imagining as a violent battle between a small, ingenious organization (VHS) and Betamax (a more business-like older man). In a vicious, bloody final confrontation between the one-eyed VHS heroine and corporate whore Beta-man, the film fast forward 20 years as we are introduced to two actors, performing on Hollywood boulevard as a way to get by. In an effort to put their stamp on things , the “actors” go to a mysterious video store where they show him the most obscure films for inspiration on Betamax. The segment is absolutely ludicrous and obviously sets up the background of the film as a whole. Betamax emulates the same grotesque, hilarious, and absurd qualities of other horror anthologies in recent years but what makes it stand out is its satirical assault on Los Angeles’ culture from lack of creativity, to pretentious “artists”, crowdsourcing websites, and fandom, among others. The viewer must keep in mind that this film is extremely low budget but the playful glee and passion of these filmmakers in what they do is intoxicating. The best looking segment is probably one involving a vampire prostitute and Frankenstein type character that’s engaging and mysterious but Damon Packard’s John Carpenter’s Corpse is an absolutely hilarious horror comedy that is a satirical expose of geek culture. With consistently strong segments from start to finish, Betamax is an incredibly fun horror/comedy anthology that’s playful satirical tone elevates it over most horror anthologies.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.