FILMS FROM A BROKEN MIND (2015)
Director: Bazz Hancher
Three tales of sordid satire and woe, and an additional mock-umentary, are the brainchild of Bazz Hancher (an English filmmaker, who primarily films in Kidderminster, England – a stones throw away from where I grew up, making their accents a thing of nostalgia for me!).
As our host and in between each tale is a bold, oddly voiced Devil played by Matt Lee. His purpose is to give us those small interjections that tie each story together, and some comic relief – much like John Kassir did in Tales From The Crypt.
This anthology features the following three tales and one documentary:
Leon’s Broken Mind – a story about formerly abused child Leon coping with the death of his mother and haunted as an adult by the lingering ghost of his father. We watch as he begins to spiral into madness. Leon is played feverishly by the splendid Richard Robotham who honestly gives an impressive and interesting performance as the lead battling his inner demons. We empathize with his plight to a degree, with his sad childhood of abuse at the hands of his own father, but as the movie grows and no one is no longer safe from Leon’s evil deeds (animals, the disabled, the pregnant, the homeless!) the compassion lessens.
Bonjour Monsieur Trepas – the tale of a likable and charming gentleman with a dark hidden taste for murder and mayhem. Kevin Varty steps wonderfully into the lead as Mr Trepas, and straight from the start he proves an effective charmer- immediately fooling us into believing he is seemingly normal. However, as the film evolves we see his dark side and the torturous nightmares he suffers, leading him to execute his deepest darkest desires.
Darkest Secrets – a dramatic gangster like thriller which has some heavy hitters, murderous sweet toothed hit men, and intriguing twists and turns. This one took on a more sinister serious tone for me. With the twisted tale of two brothers, two sisters, and a gangster with an agenda, it unravels quickly but hits us powerfully. You’ll recognize some familiar faces and like them in these roles, but ultimately the story that drives this one is different to its predecessors (which I don’t mean in a negative way, as this story is well put together and of a completely different tone to the others).
Rogue Filmmaker – a dark comedy in the vein of a mock-umentary on filmmaker Bazz Hancher and interviews with his prior cast members and family. This is purely tongue in cheek fun and clearly made to give us all a little giggle at Hancher’s expense. Honestly I did laugh a bit watching this and loved seeing some familiar faces and people in Hancher’s life pretend to dissect him and analyze what gives him a crazy desire to make what he makes.
Overall this is a fun feature to watch. It has its dark comedic and even dramatic moments to placate any film fan viewing it. They use some of the finest effects to recreate the gore, and introduce some interesting concepts- one in Bonjour Monsieur Trepas with a corned beef can key, the death of a homeless guy in Leon’s Broken Mind and perhaps the double hit parts of Darkest Secrets are among the most notable!
With an interesting score, credible writing, and amazing direction I cannot fault this indie effort and will keep my eyes open for White Goods (the next offering from Bazz Hancher).