When I was young, I would rent anything. I would walk around the video store and choose a movie based on no information other than the title, back cover synopsis, and box art. Mainly the title and the box art, honestly. Most of the time this did not work out well for me, but every once in a while, I would find a diamond in the rough.
I currently live within walking distance of a video store. A video store that carries quite a few low budget horror movies. This is my attempt to recreate that feeling of discovery I experienced as I walked around the video store looking for a movie to rent as a teenager. It will probably not work out well for me.
It was a really nice day out, and I had the day off work, so I decided to go for a walk. The video store is about a mile away from where I live, so the walk to the store helps me feel better about wasting a nice day inside watching a bad movie. The store is a regional video store chain that is currently sharing building space with a dental office. It used to be quite a bit bigger, but it seems like the video store portion of the building might be on its last legs, so sharing the space seems more like a necessity at this point. The nostalgic part of me should feel bad about this, but I used to work there, so I know that the pay is shit, and they don’t let their employees take lunches, so fuck ‘em. Not the people that work there, but the company itself. The people that work there seem very nice.
Once inside the store, I did a lap to scope out the selection. On my first lap, I narrowed it down to about five movies in my head; so, I pivoted and turned back around and did a lap the other way to narrow it down even more. Even though I had it narrowed down to a handful in my head, my heart knew instantly which one it was going to be. I knew from the moment I saw the name and the box art, this film would be the one I would be taking home on this hot summer day:
I’ve been on a bit of a slasher kick recently, and METALFACE looked right up my alley. Judging by the cover, he seemed to be a take on Leatherface, but with pieces of metal on his face, hence, Metalface. Judging by the sillhouette on the bottom he kinda looks like the guy from I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER too. That sillhouete is weird, by the way. It’s like a completely different body type than the main picture of Metalface. Plus, he’s wearing some sort of fisherman’s hat in the sillhouete. SPOILER: He’s never dressed like that at any point in the movie. I honestly like the get up that Metalface is wearing in the main picture better anyway. I like the bloody handprint in the middle of his chest. It’s almost like Metalface is getting ready to start his own line of minimilast serial killer t-shirts he could sell at Hot Topic. Anyway, I quit putzing around and walked up to the counter, METALFACE in hand.
There are three trailers included on the DVD for METALFACE.
THE COVENANT: Not the 2006 film starring Taylor Kitsch and Sebastian Stan, but a new haunted house movie. It looked pretty cheesy, but honestly, it looked better than the 2006 movie.
HUNTING GROUNDS: This movie looked really dark. Not in tone, but in picture quality. I couldn’t make out enough of it to figure out what it was about really. It looked like it takes place in the woods. The end of the trailer does feature a hysterical ten second-long cackle over the title card.
BORNLESS: Another possession movie. Kind of an EVIL DEAD type it seems. This was probably the best trailer of the bunch.
Fair warning, I’m going to spoil this entire movie.
METALFACE opens with a fight scene between a police officer and a tactical soldier in the woods that is intercut with a chase between Metalface and a young woman, also in the woods. The tactical soldier is revealed to be protecting Metalface from intruders so Metalface can go about his business. Metalface’s business turns out to be catching women, tying them to a tree, ripping half of their shirt off, slitting their skin above the breast, and collecting their blood in a soup can as it rolls off the exposed breast. This is all very strange, and not very well shot, but it’s probably the fourth best part of the movie. Metalface is a weird slasher too, but we’ll get back to that later.
After the fight scene and blood collecting, the movie cuts to a mysterous man in a shiny bathrobe sitting in front of a computer screen. The man watches Metalface from the room and seems kind of turned on by the ordeal playing out in front of him. He takes a puff from a cigar –actually he might not, but in my head he definitely does – and proclaims that it is now time for a new girl to be brought to him.
The “New Girl”: Cindy.
Cindy is currently living in either an apartment or a seedy motel complete with a creep of a landlord who offers to allow her to skip out on her rent in exchange for sex. Cindy is grossed out by this, as she should be, so she tries to find another way to pay rent, and she heads back to a job she was recently fired from. Cindy is immediately greeted by her ex-boss’s wife who proceeds to throw her out of the office because her husband tried to “get fresh with her” in the past. Emboldened by the current political climate, the woman decides that throwing Cindy out of the office isn’t enough, and threatens to call her sherrif nephew and have her thrown out of the country. Cindy gets back in her car and heads back to her apartment/motel room.
Creeped on by her landlord, threatened with deportation by her MAGA co-worker, Cindy is at the end of her rope when a mysterious package shows up one her doorstep. Before Cindy can open the box, her phone rings. The woman on the other end of the phone informs Cindy that the keys inside the box belong to a car outside, and Cindy needs to use the car to get to a location where a mysterious, well-paying job awaits. Cindy sees no problem with any of this, so she hops in the car and starts driving.
We are then treated to one of many, very slow, driving scenes. There are like 3 or 4 scenes where characters just drive places, and these scenes take up what seems to be twenty minutes of screen time. After this first long-ass driving scene, Cindy is greeted in the middle of the woods by Phone Woman who arrives in a golf cart. Phone Woman still doesn’t explain what Cindy is going to be doing during her time in the woods, and instead informs Cindy that the house she will be staying in is still an hour away. Cindy shrugs her shoulders at this, and hops in the golf cart to head up to the house.
After the second long-ass driving scene – this time in a golf cart – they arrive at the house where Cindy will be staying. Thank God. I was half-expecitng someone to show up and say, “Sorry, Cindy, your job is in another castle”. This is where Phone Woman finally explains to Cindy what she will be doing for the next couple of months: Apparantly, the owner of the house is out of town and he needs someone to look after it. That’s it. That’s the only explanation. Cindy never follows up with any sort of questions like, “Hey, couldn’t you have just posted something on craigslist? Why all the stuff with the mysterious package and car and golf cart?”. Cindy does at least ask what happened to the last girl who was working at the house, to which Phone Woman replies, “She died… Just kidding. I’ll check back in about a month. Bye”. Cindy is kind of confused by this, but mostly just happy to have a house, so she brushes it off, grabs a bottle of wine and has a dancing montage.
This is as good a time as any to talk about Metalface, I guess. He’s a weird one. And he’s kind of a shitty slasher, honestly. During Cindy’s dance montage it’s revealed that Metalface is actually in the house with Cindy, but he never does anything to her, he just kind of hides and reaches out toward her before pulling his hands away when he gets close. It’s all very odd, but it is all explained when the Bath Robe Guy tells him not to kill Cindy through some sort of headset. It turns out that Bath Robe sprung Metalface from a Bolivian prison, and now he gets off on watching Metalface kill the women he brings to the house. Still, be oyur own man, Metalface. Jason wouldn’t listen to Bath Robe. He’s not Pamela Voorhees.
Bath Robe isn’t the only one with weird kinks though; Metalface has some strange ones as well. I don’t normally believe in kink shaming, whatever floats your boat imo, but I think both of these gentlemen take things a bit too far. In addition to the aforementioned collecting of boob blood in a soup can, Metalface collects body parts as well. After being told not to kill Cindy, Metalface sulks back to his lair in the woods where he has set up some sort of shrine to the different body parts of the women he’s killed. After staring at them for a while during another too-long montage, Metalface starts vomiting through his mask. It’s fucking hilarious. It’s like a South Park gag, and it is the best part of the movie.
Anyway, nothing happens for awhile until the police officer from earlier in the movie shows up at Cindy’s door. The police officer informs Cindy of Bath Robe’s plan to kill her using Metalface. Cindy kind of believes him but she is there to clean -that’s all she knows- so she takes his tactical vest, complete with flash grenade, and throws it in the dryer. The police officer finds out she did this and goes, “seriously?”, because seriously what the fuck? As he grabs the vest from the dryer, a group of tactical officers arrive at the cabin and attempt to take down the police officer. Metalface, feeeling better after vomitting all over his shrine of body parts, shows up and starts clubbing the tactical guys in the head with a big hammer. Cindy, and the officer, take this time to bolt their separate ways out of the house and into the woods. Everything is going fine until Cindy runs head first into a tree branch and knocks herself unconscious. The second best part of the movie.
What happens next is fascinating, and showcases Metalfaces weird kinky side once again. Instead of just killing Cindy, Metalface bends her over a giant fallen tree branch in the woods, and pulls her pants down. After exposing her butt, he produces a giant tree branch and gets ready to jam it up her butt. Seriously. This is how Metalface plans to kill the final girl in this movie. What a weirdo. It is also the third best part of the movie. Anyway, the police officer shows up, shoots Metalface, and he and Cindy get away. The end.
Is This a Good Movie?: No. It’s mostly pretty boring, and Metalface sucks as a slasher despite his weird kinks. Apparantly, this movie was originally released under the name “Playing with Dolls” a couple of years ago, and there was a sequel released last year where Metalface kills a bunch of people on a reality television show filmed at the house. I’ll probably watch it.