A pretty brunette runs panic-stricken through smog-filled alleys at night. She stumbles over a bloodied corpse, and before she can catch her breath to scream is approached by a zombie brandishing a strimmer.

The action then cuts to Ethel (Misty Mundae, SHADOW: DEAD RIOT; VAMPIRE VIXENS etc) watching the above scenario on a monitor. The clip belongs to the latest film she is making under her pseudonym Rebecca Raven. Ethel is disgusted by the scene ("A weed whacker?!" she cries), and determines to confront the studio's boss, Frank.

Frank has his own ideas though, and fires the prima-donna actress on the spot. After raging about how his budget studio owes it's success to her popularity, Frank reminds Ethel that Rebecca Raven is his invention - and he has a younger model in mind to fill the role.

Fuming, Ethel flees to the country for a fortnight's rest in a holiday home. She tells her friend that under no circumstances should anyone visit her or attempt to contact her - she needs the time to reflect on her future. This point is reinforced when we learn that Ethel has asked the telephone company to disconnect the landline ... and thrown her mobile into a nearby field.

Meanwhile Frank is mortified to discover his replacement Rebecca has been jailed for attempting to fellate a cop in return for drugs. With three films contracted to be made in a few days' time, Frank needs a new Rebecca fast.

His assistant suggests they watch a film from their archives that features a girl he believes could fill the role. And so the pair of them sit back to watch "Mechanoid", an enjoyably trashy homage to 50's sci-fi monster movies, complete with Ray Harryhausen-esque stop-motion animation and flying saucers.

"Mechanoid" follows the exploits of debt-ridden junkyard owner Jedd (Rob Monkiewicz, BITE ME!) as he battles against a tiny alien that has made a lethal robot out of scrap metal. Jedd is ably assisted by his sexy ex-girlfriend Linda (Caitlin Ross, HOTTIES).

Linda fails to excite Frank, however, because she never gets naked - and the role hinges on his actress having nice tits. So his assistant pulls another film from the archives - "Lonely Are The Brain", with lots of nubile cuties getting naked as mad scientist Julian Wells (LUST FOR DRACULA; SPIDERBABE) taps into the dark sexual desires of young volunteer guinea pigs.

Meanwhile, back in the country, Ethel discovers she is not alone when she learns that the holiday home was previously occupied by a Satanist intent on raising the dead. Oh dear.

Originally conceived as an anthology, Brett Piper's third film for ei Cinema (the previous two being SCREAMING DEAD and BITE ME!) realises an ambition he has harboured for many years.

His conviction shows on film. This is easily Piper's most accomplished work to date, an affectionate homage to the films he grew up loving, with the director also turning his skills to editing, writing, co-producing and even masterminding the impressively lo-tech special effects.

But there are other factors to enjoy here. Jon Greathouse's music, for example, is a perfectly stirring nod to classic B-movie melodramatics - in perfect keeping with the film's agreeably campy feel.

Then there's the performers. Wells is as competent as ever, never turning down the opportunity to get that fit body of hers out on display. Whereas Mundae exercises her acting skills further than ever before as the self-serving Ethel/Rebecca. Cute as ever, it's great to see Mundae being given the opportunity to act as well as show off her bits (although we naturally get to see them too!).

The anthology aspect doesn't work quite as well as it could have done, with the two films-within-a-film coming across as enjoyable but mildly intrusive diversions. However, they give Piper an excuse to explore the different sci-fi/horror sub-genres of his childhood, which he does with gusto and humour.

In fact, Piper injects the script with wry humour throughout. Some is good (Mundae's parody of her own persona) and some is embarrassing (jokes about testicles getting caught in zippers).

The film is well-paced, well-shot and well-edited. Very well-edited, in fact. The FX are deliberately cheap and cheesy, and will no doubt bring an appreciative grin to most viewers' faces. Although it must be said, I was seriously impressed with Piper's gory heart-ripping set-piece ...

The finale is predictable and disappointing, but it doesn't dampen the overall 'fun' factor that SHOCK-O-RAMA delivers in spades.

Shock-O-Rama's disc offers the film in a reasonably sharp 1.78:1 transfer, enhanced for 16x9 TVs. Shot on Super-16mm and edited in Hi-Def, the film looks decent here with vibrant colours and minimal ghosting. The 2.0 English audio is loud and impressive for the most part - although I detected unwelcome hissing in places.

As ever, Shock-O-Rama don't scrimp on the extras.

First up is an engaging commentary track from Piper and the film's producer, Michael Raso. Raso takes a back seat (seeming not too familiar with the film at all!) as Piper gushes enthusiastically about the film's genesis, the complicated shoot, the budget FX, his refusal to employ CGI, and so on. Well worth a listen.

Raso and Piper also get interviewed in a 16 minute featurette, where they talk some more of the production and the fact that the idea began fifteen years earlier as an anthology.

A 9 minute Behind The Scenes featurette takes us on set with the likes of Ross and Mundae, along with the lovely A J Khan - all of which speak openly fondly about their parts in the film.

Footage from the New York screening premiere follows, with more cast interviews filmed at the post-screening party and an affable audience Q&A session with Piper. The combined premiere footage last approximately 11 minutes.


SHOCK-O-RAMA is colourful, lurid and cheap. It's fun, and has no allusions of being anything more - although the swipes at Mundae's screen persona (her own real name is Erin Brown) are enjoyably self-referential, if you're looking for that kind of thing ...

Enjoyable sci-fi/horror hi-jinks on an above average disc.

Review by Stu Willis

Released by eI Cinema
Region 1 - NTSC
Not Rated
Extras :
see main review