Amateur Porn Star Killer Series DVD Review

 

Written by ZigZag

 

DVDs released by Cinema Epoch

 

Official Site

 

Amateur Porn Star Killer 01 Amateur Porn Star Killer 02

 

Written and Directed by Oliver Noble
2007 - 2008, Region 0 (NTSC), 71 minutes (Part 1), 80 minutes (Part 2), 78 minutes (Part 3), Not rated
Amateur Porn Star Killer released on November 6th 2007
Amateur Porn Star Killer 2 released on May 13th, 2008
Amateur Porn Star Killer 3: The Final Chapter released on January 13th, 2009

Starring:
Shane Ryan as Brandon
Michiko Jaminez as Stacy
Kai Lanette as "Victim 19"
Regan Reese as Nikki

Amateur Porn Star Killer 03 Amateur Porn Star Killer 04

 

Review:

 

Brandon is a smooth talking man who travels the country picking up young women for on-camera sex in sleazy motels. The victims are a bit camera-shy, but Brandon convinces them to let down their guard and take off their clothes. Once the girls have satisfied his sexual needs, Brandon concludes each video by killing his female co-star.

 

The Amateur Porn Star Killer series is built around the idea that a serial killer would rent lesser known catalog titles at area video stores and record over the tape with his own "home movie." Many weeks later the videos would turn up to the surprise of local customers, long after the murderer had moved on.

 

Amateur Porn Star Killer 05 Amateur Porn Star Killer 06

 

Amateur Porn Star Killer starts with a message about the existence of "snuff films." After a brief introduction to our antihero Brandon (Shane Ryan), we meet a girl, Stacy (co-director Michiko Jaminez), that while claiming to be 18, later confides that she is only 13. This is the shrewdest move Ryan makes in the entire series. The content is salacious on its own, but to add the underage factor into the mix is a stroke of uncomfortable genius. The film plods along in real time with some occasional flashbacks (that break the authenticity vibe) before arriving at the physical aspect of the title. It would appear Brandon is the titular amateur porn star as the audience is subjected to his homemade fuck tapes.

 

Amateur Porn Star Killer 2 continues the misadventures of Brandon, America's favorite douchebag. The real-time shenanigans play out this time with an unnamed girl (co-director Kai Lanette) who is willing and able to fight back. She manages to briefly turn the tables on her attacker before being lulled back into his trap. More hardcore penetration shots are followed by the inevitable murder (spoiler?) and our killer escapes justice once again.

 

Amateur Porn Star Killer 3 (This Time… It's Again) concludes the series with an aspiring actress (porn starlet Regan Reese from Blow Me Sandwich Part 10) meeting an untimely end at the hands of Brandon. The third entry goes for the unexpected changeup — no more motel rooms — this time the action takes place in a car.

 

Amateur Porn Star Killer 07 Amateur Porn Star Killer 08

 

Shane Ryan has created a monster that could live on in a thousand variations. It is frustrating that the idea (similarly on display in the mainstream The Last Horror Movie) is powerfully simple, but never fully explored. Instead of repeating the formula of following one victim for an hour, I had hoped for more variety. One sequel could have approached the material as more narrative from the perspective of the local police tracking Brandon.

 

Each APSK film features the footage of earlier murders, most effectively in part one, where a previous victim's tape is played (via picture in picture) while the new girl is being courted. Part two features quick flashbacks to previous victims. while in part three an intro kill is followed by two encounters intercut before moving on to Nikki. The opportunity to unsettle is missed due to over-editing, resulting in "cutty" scenarios that negate the leisurely introduction of each film's central female character.

 

The "victims" in the series are all attractive women who give believable performances. The strongest actress in the series is Michiko Jaminez as Stacy, completely immersed in the role of an awkward 13-year-old camera-shy girl. She conveys a vulnerability that is crucial to passing the material off as a pseudo-documentary. The other victims never fully convince the audience that this is not somehow just pretend. The consensual rough sex with Kai Lanette as "Victim 19" is a nice setup for understanding why this intelligent character would fall victim to Brandon. Nikki (Regan Reese) in Amateur Porn Star Killer 3 is subjected to much more verbal abuse than the earlier victims, and she comes the closest to escape.

 

Amateur Porn Star Killer 09 Amateur Porn Star Killer 10

 

The series works as a trilogy, but just barely, as the limited subject matter has never grown in presentation and is scraping the bottom of the creative barrel by the third film. In each episode, hardcore penetration is on display (although the blowjob in part one has been significantly darkened) more than the climactic murder that, each time, happens surprisingly out of frame. Shane Ryan directs and edits each film with a distinct vision, but stumbles under the weight of the exploitation elements to which he is tethered.

 

It is unfortunate that a series that caters to the "snuff" crowd has spent so much time manipulating the images in post production. Excessive editing and music defeat the authenticity the filmmakers strive for. The best presentation is the "snuff version" of part two, a disc that features no menus and simply presents itself upon loading. Cast and crew credit lists undermine the authenticity, as do the occasional burned-in subtitles.

 

The Amateur Porn Star Killer series has a place in the low-budget world, but it does not really belong within the horror family. Once the sequels shift the focus almost exclusively towards sex, it becomes more of a movie about "watching the director score" than about the terror of watching a snuff film.

 

Amateur Porn Star Killer 11 Amateur Porn Star Killer 12

 

Video and Audio:

 

Each title is presented in the original 1.33:1 full frame video with a series of aging filters that offer a "film" look. The filters are overused at times to obscure content and unfortunately darken some material beyond necessary. The audio is a straightforward stereo mix that is nothing fancy (nor should it be) and it serves the production well.

 

Amateur Porn Star Killer 13 Amateur Porn Star Killer 14

 

Special Features:

 

Amateur Porn Star Killer includes interviews with the crew, trailers, a crime scene walk-thru, and a collection of five short films (that while arty and fun, are awkward here following a "snuff" experiment).

 

Amateur Porn Star Killer 2 offers no supplements (aside from the alternate version of the film).

Amateur Porn Star Killer 3: The Final Chapter
presents a list of other titles available.

 

Amateur Porn Star Killer 15 Amateur Porn Star Killer 16

 

Grades:

 

Movie: Twostars Amateur Porn Star Killer Amazon Us Amateur Porn Star Killer 2 Amazon Us Amateur Porn Star Killer 3 Amazon Us
Video: Onestar
Audio: Onestar
Features: Twostars
Overall: Twostars

 

 

Conclusion:

 

Sadly the aftertaste smacks of missed opportunity. Micro-budget can be enjoyable, but to stretch a weak presentation over three repetitive movies is hard to forgive. Luckily the trilogy is being concluded with a parody chapter: Amateur Porn Star Killer 3D that spoofs the series.

 

 

 

 

 

© 2009 HorrorTalk.com. No use of this review is permitted without expressed permission from HorrorTalk.com.

About The Author
ZigZag
Author: ZigZag
Staff Writer
ZigZag's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
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