>> Fantastic Fest 3: Blood, Boobs, & Beast (John’s Review, 7/10)

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0502-web-bbb-poster.jpgDon Dohler is extraordinarily ordinary. It’s this quality that makes it interesting that this is the man behind a dozen z-grade sci-fi/horror flicks, but it is also his ordinariness that keeps this documentary on his career as a filmmaker somewhat mundane. The film makes no real points about what kind of a man it takes to create video store schlock, instead offering a passive view of his friendship with collaborator Joe Ripple and the minor horror convention success Dohler has achieved.

A native of Baltimore, Dohler worked a nine-to-five publishing job during the day, and used his nights and weekends to create his chintzy alien movies, filling the cast with family and neighbors. He’s smarter than Ed Wood and more in-touch than Uwe Boll, but his movies are still inept little treasures, usually featuring a rubber-suited monster to fulfill at least one of the three requirements one of his distributors asked for years before: blood, boobs, and beast. It’s the adherence to that formula that provides the film’s tiniest bit of conflict. Dohler is never 100% comfortable with nudity and gore; Ripple finds it necessary to a fault.

There is probably an exceptional documentary somewhere in the two years worth of footage that filmmaker John Paul Kinhart shot–something close to the genius of Chris Smith’s superb American Movie. Dohler is exceptionally likeable, shrugging off his cult status with truthful modesty, and his collaborators are an interesting bunch, but Kinhart’s film lacks an emotional through-line. Kinhart keeps the audience at arm’s length from getting into Dohler, opting instead to focus on Joe Ripple’s scheduling conflicts and interviews with fans that feel, at times, remarkably staged.

I remember seeing the video for Galaxy Invader decades ago, but never rented it. The only time I even saw footage from it was plastered over the end credits of an entirely different movie on an episode of MST3K. Not once did I ever consider the proud Baltimorians that made the film. Blood, Boobs, & Beast did succeed in getting me interested enough to want to check out one of Dohler’s films, specifically Blood Massacre, a “cannibals vs. criminals” movie, with what appears to be a decent amount of sicko gore. The doc made me nostalgic for mom and pop video stores and lousy monster movies on UHF stations, things that are starting to feel like a lifetime ago. Basically, Don Dohler is a regular guy making awful movies, as a way to turn a buck and hang out with loved ones. That’s not so bad.

7 on a 1 to 10 scale

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1 Comment

  1. […] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptBlood, Boobs, & Beast did succeed in getting me interested enough to want to check out one of Dohler’s films, specifically Blood Massacre, a “cannibals vs. criminals” movie, with what appears to be a decent amount of sicko gore. … […]


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