Camp Motion Pictures appear to have been somewhat quiet of late, following an initial rush of titles from years gone by such as CANNIBAL CAMPOUT, VIDEO VIOLENCE and GHOUL SCHOOL. Classics one and all. Ahem.

Well, now they're back with SCULPTURE - a rather contemporary film within the scheme of their manifesto thus far, having been shot by Peter Jacelone - the guy behind PSYCHO SISTERS - in 2009.

The film opens in a typically pompous art gallery, where an exhibition is about to reveal artist Ashley's (Raine Brown) sculpture of "the perfect man".

Then we flash back to fifteen years earlier, where gym owner - and all-round arsehole - Frank (Marv Blauvelt) walks in on his wife Rose (Susan Adriensen) painting a muscle-clad dude in nothing but his duds. Frank sees red and it all ends badly.

Fast-forward back to the present day, and we witness a priest lying through his teeth at Frank's funeral, telling the embarrassingly small congregation what a devoted man the deceased was. After the service, Frank's daughter Ashley takes his son Adam (Dustin Kerns) for a drink. It's here that they bump into Ashley's bubbly old friend Emily (Misty Mundae).

It transpires that Ashley, Adam and Emily all grew up together as kids but have not seen each other in quite some time. In fact, Ashley has made a point of staying well away from her home for several years.

But now she's back, and Adam settles her into the family home, even going so far as to prepare her old room for her. Of course, the memories soon come flooding back - and not all of them are happy ones.

While surveying the property and having flashbacks of her fledgling artist days with her mother, Ashley receives a telephone call from gallery owner William (Alan Rowe Kelly) who commissions her to create the aforementioned sculpture. It's just the diversion that Ashley needs.

So, off Ashley heads to Frank's old gym - Steele's Gym - which Adam is now overseeing. It's populated by braindead muscle-heads, who Ashley begins to realise would make great life models for her latest project.

The guys at the gym certainly take a shine to Ashley too. But Adam has a very clear message for them: "do not fuck with my little sister" ...

Events spiral when Ashley takes several of the muscular numbskulls in as models, while Adam begins to display signs of fancying her for himself and Ashley's memories of a wretched past at the hands of a brutal Frank become more apparent. It all ends badly.

Exaggerated character make-up, colourful cheap sets and camp performances give this an air of early John Waters. But the dialogue is much less acerbic, less witty. Instead, the film centres on an air of melancholy that at first seems at loggerheads with the broadness of the actors. But it's a quirk that works, given time.

Beyond that, the film plays cannily with notions of sexual hang-ups and repressed deviancy - the struggle to do the right thing while being compelled towards ill-doing is difficult to convey convincingly, but SCULPTURE seems to get there successfully.

Frisky, occasionally sexy and gory from time to time, the film is an engaging and fairly original piece of work that - despite some bad acting and an underuse of Mundae (although, naturally, she gets naked for a softcore scene) - succeeds as an enjoyable modest dissection of America's obsession with the body beautiful.

The twist is fun too, if you'll forgive the film for its crappy FX.

SCULPTURE comes uncut and uncensored in a generally pleasing anamorphic 1.78:1 transfer. Images are a tad soft at times and brightness is not always what you'd hope for but, for such a low budget production, it all seems perfectly adequate.

English audio is provided in 2.0 and 5.1 mixes. Both are healthy, well-balanced affairs.

The disc opens with a static main menu page. From there, there is access to the main feature, extras and a link to the Alternative Cinema catalogue. There is no scene-selection menu but the film has remote access by way of 18 chapters.

Extras begin with a good Making Of featurette, which offers lots of illuminating behind-the-scenes footage from the 13-day shoot. Jacelone is on hand to present the featurette as are a couple of other cast and crewmembers during this SOV effort, and the end result is one that is interesting and enlightening.

"On The Set Of Sculpture" is perhaps self-explanatory. It's 6 more minutes of decent behind-the-scenes footage. Again presented by Jacelone, although for whatever reason he looks completely different here. There is a slightly more serious nature to this than the preceding featurette.

Footage from the film's premiere at New York's Anthology Film Archives in July 2009 follows, including a nice mixture of interviews, stills and Q&A footage over the course of 7 minutes.

"Rose's Fantasy" is a 10-minute short film shot in stylish black-and-white and continuing the theme of bodily obsession in a similar comic-horror style.

A mock commercial for Steele's gym and awful music video follow.

Better than those are five deleted scenes that come with their own sub-menu, allowing you to either watch them individually or together as a whole by opting for the "Play All" function.

Finally we get a trailer for SCULPTURE, along with trailers for BOOK OF LORE, ROT and SHOCK FESTIVAL.

SCULPTURE is a decent film and Camp Motion Pictures have given it a great DVD.

Review by Stuart Willis

Released by Camp Motion Pictures
Region 1 - NTSC
Not Rated
Extras :
see main review