Monday, March 5, 2012

Dr. Chopper (USA, 2005)

Dr. Chopper is the first of five full-length direct-to-video films that New Jersey born director Lewis Schoenbrun has made to date (March 2012), and while we have no idea what the quality if of his other illustriously titled films, we can only hope that they aren't any worse than this piece of shit. (In truth, however, when looking at the trailer to his "film" The Amazing Bulk [2010 / trailer], it is easy to assume that they well might be.)
Seeing, however, that for all the flaws found in Dr. Chopper, the actors are at least kept in frame, the sound mic is never to be seen (though the sound often sucks), and the camera is usually in focus, perhaps the true failing to the film lies less with the director than with "scriptwriter" Ian Holt, whose cobbled-together script throws half-baked ideas together with disparate clichés to create a variety of scenes that ignore any true sense of flow, build no tension, and garner no true laughs. Holt, who has a problem keeping track of just how many cannibal nurses there are to his story (though you only ever see one to two at the same time, they seem to vary between two to four and even reappear after supposed death), also appears briefly in the opening sequence as one of the broadly acted detectives, but his acting can hardly be faulted: it is 100% congruent to low quality thespian talents evidenced by all actors involved, who alternate between continual somnambulistic lethargy (Robert Adamson) and sporadic Shakespearian histrionics (Costas Mandylor).
But let us not be too harsh on this film, for it does have a redeeming factor. Or rather, two redeeming factors: the immobile plastic mounds gracing the first female victim (Tamara Nelson) who, despite strapped down on the operating table in the opening scene with a ball-gag in her mouth, screams like the best of them as the nurses rip out her eyes. Yes, them thar hills may undoubtedly be 100% artificial, but nekkid titties are always a plus – regrettably, throughout the rest of the film, all other females, graced with far more realistic proportions, never get past their bras despite the fact that virtually all of them find a reason to take off their shirt. Had Schoenbrun made his film a mini-melon festival, the movie would at least have a continually present element of interest, but by demurring to the modesty of his cast, he robs the film of anything and everything that might have helped make the film worth watching as you do the dishes or change the kitty box or iron. As it is, however, Dr. Chopper is not sleazy enough to enthrall, not scary enough to interest and not funny enough entertain, but is bad enough to bore. And the "big" mid-film twist is obvious from the very second Nick (Robert "Lethargic" Adamson") tells his girlfriend Jessica (Chelsey Crisp) that among the possessions of his just-deceased mother is a deed to a cabin in the mountains.
Dr. Chopper opens by introducing the titular Dr. Copper (Ed Brigadier, who just recently killed himself, on February 26, 2012), a reputable chopper-riding plastic surgeon who, in his search for immortality and eternal beauty, goes off the deep end and begins murdering people for their organs; he and his two crazy nurses, however, are never jailed for they simply disappear once uncovered. Twenty years later, in the backwoods region of Lake Tatonka – "Friendly Place for Happy People" – he and his now acne-faced cannibalistic nurses harvest their needed food and body parts from lesbian campers, sorority girls, and fun-loving teenagers; the group of five (Nick, Jessica, [Butch Hansen], Reese [Chase Hoyt of Legion of the Dead (2005 / trailer)] and Tamara [Ashley McCarthy]) that the film focuses upon the most are of the latter subgenus.
Yep, that 80-plus-year old Dr Chopper in his leather outfit and WW II goggles is a scary sight, and he and his pocket-faced vixens are well nigh impossible to stop! But in the end, not only do they underestimate Jessica's "inner-bitch", but they piss-off the local sad sack of a park ranger with a tragic past (Costas Mandylor, the ex-husband of Talisa Soto, who, as evidenced in the film Mobsters [1991 / trailer], was once sorta good looking) by killing someone he didn't like in the first place...
That the filmmakers intended to make a funny slasher is obvious by both the flick's premise and congruent title – but the best laid schemes of mice and men go oft awry. And in the case of Dr. Chopper, they fail miserably. So if you choose to watch this piece of brain-dulling flotsam, don't say you weren't warned...

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