Directed by: Andy Wilton
Production Company: Once Upon a Tyne Productions
Release Date: 2010 original, 2013 international
Running Time: 97 minutes
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Reviewed by: Reverend Leviathan
Final Score: 4.0 Moons (out of 5)
Behind the Scenes of Total Hell isÂ a mockumentary done in the spirit of This is Spinal Tap, except instead of following an 80’s hair band around, it chronicles the attempts of amateur filmmakers who are trying to produce a horror movie called Totalitarian Hell (later shortened to Total Hell), which looks like a British version of The Blair Witch Project–only with worse directing and an even lower budget.
Actor Grey McCulloch plays Jamie Gunn, the writer/producer/director of Total Hell.Â In a way, he could be described as a modern Ed Wood; he has a deep passion for film-making, but lacks the funding and talent to make a good movie.Â Not only that, but when production finally begins, he’s also lacking a script and is constantly making changes on the day of shooting.Â He does a great job of coming off as the perfect smartass, big-headed director; he thinks all his ideas are brilliant, doesn’t accept criticism from cast or crew, and eventually blames the failure of the film on bad acting, rather than bad directing.Â The actors and actresses, on the other hand, are total troopers.Â Despite lack of accommodations and Jamie’s attitude, they all stick it out so he can get his film made.Â Well…some do.
One of my favorite aspects of this movie is the fact that some of the actors are unaware that they’re making a mockumentary; they seriously believe that they’re trying to make a horror flick.Â So in these “behind the scenes,” you’re occasionally witnessing true emotions and real conflicts of actual human beings.Â It does a very good job of coming off as a reality show, especially with the use of censored profanity.Â (At times you’d think you were watching The Osbournes with how many bleeps you hear in one scene.)Â The camerawork and angles also add to the reality show feel of it, and, perhaps with an homage to Monty Python and The Holy Grail, there are bits of animation placed in certain turning points of the story which add a nice touch.
Whether or not this film would appeal to Goths I think would depend on the individual and his/her taste for comedy.Â (I know I’ve run into a couple who try to live up to the stereotype that Goths see laughing and smiling as an abomination.)Â Many of my fellow goths would definitely appreciate Jamie’s desire to make an independent horror B-movie, and it left me wondering if the internal Total Hell film could have been salvaged if only Bruce Campbell was in it.
Overall, Behind the Scenes of Total Hell rekindled my love for mockumentaries.Â To quote one of the actresses: “I hope the documentary is going to be good because the film is not going to be.”Â The documentary IS the film and it’s definitely good.
Story: 4 Moons
Presentation: 4.5 Moons
Gothic Fit: 3 Moons
Final Score (not an average): 4 (out of 5) moons