Arrow Video's August '16 Releases
The Bloodstained Butterfly (August 26/16)
The Bloodstained Butterfly details the legal shenanigans that ensue after a man is arrested for a crime he seemingly didn't commit, with the narrative focused mostly on said crime's investigation (and trial) and the impact these events have on a wide variety of laughably underdeveloped characters. Though it opens with a fair amount of promise - the film irresistibly introduces the protagonists through onscreen title cards (a la the opening credits of a television show) - The Bloodstained Butterfly almost immediately segues into a deliberately-paced and hopelessly repetitive narrative revolving almost entirely around the aforementioned investigation and trial. The picture, which plays out like an especially tedious episode of Law and Order, boasts exceedingly few elements designed to sustain the viewer's waning interest, and it doesn't help, certainly, that scripters Gianfranco Clerici and Duccio Tessari have populated the thin narrative with an unreasonably large assortment of one-dimensional figures (ie it's impossible to care about their ongoing exploits and, ultimately, to even tell them apart from one another.) Director Tessari's third-act efforts at cultivating suspense and tension fall completely flat, to be sure, and it is, in the end, difficult to understand how The Bloodstained Butterfly is considered a minor classic within the giallo genre.
An inept joke of a movie, Microwave Massacre follows Jackie Vernon's sad sack Donald as he turns to cannibalism after murdering his wife. It's ultimately difficult to understate the degree to which Microwave Massacre leaves the viewer cold, as the movie, which runs a short yet endless 76 minutes, suffers from a pervasively amateurish atmosphere that's reflected in its various attributes - with, especially, the various actors delivering performances that would hardly pass muster at a grade-school production. Vernon's passable work as the put-upon protagonist is effectively rendered moot by Thomas Singer's simplistic and eye-rollingly silly script, as the actors find themselves forced to spout ludicrously stupid bits of dialogue that are about as far from funny as one could possibly imagine (eg "I'm so hungry I could eat a whore!") Filmmaker Wayne Berwick seems to be going for a sketch-comedy type vibe - ie there's a continuing emphasis on stand-alone set pieces here - but the ineffectiveness of virtually every scene in the picture ensures that this approach simply doesn't work (and, worse still, results in a complete lack of forward momentum). Microwave Massacre is, in the end, far from the fun and goofy cult item promised by its title and premise, as the movie's extreme incompetence ensures that even the most open-minded of viewers will find nothing worth embracing here.