The era of appreciating and paying homage to the grindhouses of 42nd Street and beyond is in its prime. The resurgence that truly began with the founding of Grindhouse Releasing as a digital distributor and preservationist company gave way to the double feature release of Grindhouse featuring Planet Terror and Death Proof by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino respectively offering a mainstream voice to enthusiasts and dare say fetishists, stirring up a hornets’ nest of conservative critics who would have their favorites left to the “old masters” and bringing inspiring a generation of filmmakers to create movies that look dirty. That look used and grindy and grimey and gorgeous (all the good G words). Of course there are plenty of duds that use and abuse the digital degradation techniques made popular in Planet Terror to the detriment of well-intentioned films, and there are far fewer noble efforts to revisit this vision of abuse and dust and burnt film in organic, film fashion. The one thing that is certain and beloved by this reviewer is that the efforts of independent filmmakers is paying off and giving a window into yesteryear now. We are getting creative cult horror and exploitation films the likes of which seemed to pass away in the early 80’s. Surely this waxing poetic a la grind is going somewhere with purpose;All Hell Breaks Loose from filmmaker Jeremy Garner and Frenetic Films embodies the best tenants of an era gone by and should be hailed as a film that embraces the best aspects of old cinema.
From the opening bumper for Frenetic Films that has a perfectly 80’s feel to the dust and scratches on screen, All Hell Breaks Loose feels like a grind movie. Save for some modern day attire choices and some production style (which is more indicative of the film’s budget rather than the intent of the director) you get the feel that you could appreciate this picture on a big or small screen, but that it might be best enjoyed with a large group of like-minded heathens. That brings up an aside, All Hell Breaks Loose had a successful Kickstarter campaign to get it onto the big screen. The small screen experience feels like your watching an old favorite that may have once played a large auditorium full of the best and sleaziest. The experience of a grindhouse style picture is important and All Hell Breaks Lose seems to understand that from it’s attention to some of the common elements that have been bestowed upon older films, worn with age… well loved films. This is where I hear critics of modern day grind movies moan. They worry about degradation techniques. All Hell Breaks Loose gets this right.
The actual story is as far fetched as any revenge flick though the supernatural elements put this one a bit out of the realm of believability or realistic. All Hell Breaks Loose isn’t the first flick to use the resurrected loved one sent forth to save the day, but it does so with a good sense of humor and plenty of gore goodness. You can enjoy H.G. Lewis style bloodletting in one sequence and a gut dropping piles of intestines in another. The gore effects are physical and perfect; this does not mean that they look real mind you. The best gore entertains and inspires a feeling of ick and uneasiness in the stomach. These are the kind of effects you can’t stand to watch if your squeamish or must watch if you’re a sick fuck like me. Fans of the gore get ready for a hearty belly laugh and satisfaction that splatter is alive and well (and dripping).
From music to skin shots to buckets of blood, All Hell Breaks Loose gets it right though it does have moments that could use some work. Notable areas of criticism include the cover art of the limited 200 production DVD that didn’t exactly thrill me as a fan of 42nd Street poster art. The poster carries the style better and appears to have been used on a “rental” style version of the release. The film works as a whole and tells a unique story even in its relation of familiar plot points from a subgenre of exploitation film but it has moments that are perhaps over the top or even too gonzo (moments that can take you out of the picture), the overall effect is good fun. The picture can forget that it has to let the jokes come more naturally and that brevity can be as important as long-winded jokes.
I definitely recommend All Hell Breaks Loose and would like to see it do well. Take the time to pick up the DVD release. You can grab a poster or sticker and set your eyes on Garner’s next project, The Cemetery People.
Bikers, Coffin in tow, occult horror and splatter that matters!
Give em a like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AllHellBreaksLooseFilm/timeline
Check out the aforementioned Kickstarter campaign for fun (it completed funding): https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/993106660/help-get-all-hell-breaks-loose-on-the-big-screen
Synopsis from Frenetic Films:
Based upon obviously not true events, All Hell Breaks Loose is the story of love, leather, and violence. When the Satan’s Sinners, a vicious motorcycle gang from hell, kidnaps one man’s bride, they bite off more than they can chew. Now the man is out to save his wife, any way he can… even if it means dying over and over again. With the help of a shit-kicking sheriff, a perverted priest, and a cowboy who just might be God, all hell is bound to break loose.