Saturday, February 24, 2018

Quick Reviews: The Poughkeepsie Tapes

It's no surprise that the Film rotted in limbo for nearly a Decade!  Is this both too dark and too silly?  Let's find out...
The basic premise: a Serial Killer left behind over 2,000 (!!!) tapes documenting his crimes.

Yes, he was still recording on VHS Tape all the way through to 2002!
The Film is split between two aspects.  The first- footage of his crimes (mostly the set-ups) with somehow nobody ever questioning why he's filming them AND the bonus of the same 'tape-warping' effects in every one of them.
The second- real(ish)-looking people talking about the crimes and the killer.  Not all of them work, but ones like this look quite real.

...until this woman pronounces 'Lancaster' wrong...even though she's supposed to be from there.
The killer also does this weird mix of being over-the-top in his performances (for tapes that people will see a Decade later) and being a psychopath so violent that I won't even describe some of the things they say he did (since, again, they can't show them).

This also leads to the odd moment where a Performer is interviewed for a Documentary ABOUT A SERIAL KILLER just so he can explain the Plague Doctor Mask seen below.
Without SPOILing too much (since the Film got on DVD last October), the Film makes its Character almost too ridiculously-good at covering his tracks to be believed.

For example, he changes his M.O. many times, at one point even switching so much that they think he's a different guy AND simultaneously-framing a Cop for said crimes.  
Will the Police ever catch their man (even though this was made after the events that happened)?  Will the Film not jump the shark?

To find out, watch the Film (but only if you're really into dark, twisted stuff).  You were warned.
It is so close to being a legitimately-good Film at times.  For all its faults (and there are many), Tapes is a very effective Film at times.  One bit (while clearly inspired by Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) is really tense and delivers big.  However, that same part then devolves the Plot further into insanity.  He stalks a woman for like a week and then waits in her House until night time to attack.  He apparently decided to kidnap her, so he butches the boyfriend to such a degree that the Police just assume that she must be dead too.  To do this, he has to be so 'in-control' that he can stage the Scene to such an absurd degree (apparently doing bad stuff with the guy's body parts) to look like he's 'out-of-control.'  That is a good micro chasm of the Film.  It features some genuinely well-done and creepy stuff...but then makes the killer practically deified in how 'smart' he is.  He has no set victim pattern...until he changes it to one type in order to make his 'non-targets' let their guards down.  He can somehow be caught on camera and taunt the Police (in ASL!), but never be recognized!  He can somehow scrub down entire sites of his prints and evidence, but then leave behind almost three-thousand VHS Tapes that have no prints of them!  Tapes that he had to have handled multiple times (out of wrapping, into VCR, out of VCR, into sleeve and then into box).  Right!  He's somehow so insane that he does the most twisted stuff you could imagine...but also 'sane' enough to hide his crimes and leave behind taunting evidence (the tapes).  If this was less outright sadistic- especially in the torturing parts- and just more about people trying to find him, it would work.  If it featured a few of his creepy tape moments- enough to establish them- and more talking heads that seemed real, it would work.  If the Film didn't make their Lead the 'God of Serial Killers' and maybe gave him an ironic punishment, it would work.  As it is, it is too dark for most (even me to some degree) and too silly for those that love the twisted stuff.  I'll leave you with a Forensic Investigator pantomiming with zero context...
Considering its status as a Film you couldn't find (until last October), it lives up to the hype.  That said, the more I think about the Plot, the less logical and sillier it all gets!

No comments:

Post a Comment