Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Episode 5: Kolobos (1999)

It’s hard to imagine a time when reality television wasn’t dominating every network, but in the 1990s, these shows were few and far between.  Talk shows like Ricki Lake, Jenny Jones, and Jerry Springer were in abundance.  Court TV, up until “The Trial of the Century,” was hanging by a thread.  The only way to catch a glimpse into the lives of strangers was with The Real World and, towards the end of the decade, The Osbournes.  It was still quite a while before you couldn’t turn on the TV without seeing one or more of the Kardashians.  I wish I’d appreciated that time a little more.

In 1999, directors Daniel Liatowitsch and David Todd Ocvirk collaborated on an incredibly dark experiment in raw brutality that was very much ahead of its time: Kolobos.  Much like The Real World, the plot involves a group of strangers who’ve agreed to have their lives videotaped for the purpose of a groundbreaking documentary.  Unfortunately, all fun and games come to an abrupt halt when the cast discovers that the enormous house is sealed off, booby trapped, and a hideously scarred maniac wielding a straight razor is roaming the corridors.

With a story that pulls the viewer in from the very first frame and some pretty realistic special effects, this little-known gem should be a slasher staple.  Sadly, as many of my genre favorites have, Kolobos slipped into obscurity some time in the mid ‘00s (before that, there were many who compared the film to Marc Evans’s My Little Eye, a far less satisfying film with a very similar plot that came three years later).

Admittedly, I’ve been scouring the Internet for years in hopes of a special edition or perhaps Blu ray release of the film, but so far, no dice.  The American DVD released by York Entertainment is essentially bare bones, containing nothing more than a trailer and some bios.  I’d love to hear a commentary track by the directors and maybe see some interviews with the cast and crew.  Perhaps one day.  But for now, let the mutilation begin! 

“Wanted: freeloaders. Artist seeks five progressive-minded individuals for groundbreaking experimental film. Participants will share free lodging in a fully furnished home in the Mount Olympus resorts. If you’re willing to laugh, cry, love, hate, befriend, betray, and confess it all on VHS, I want you.” 

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