Posted by Ken Spivey
In the film “Dark Reel,” we are treated to an adventure. In the days of Prohibition, a fledgling filmmaker gave a promising ingenue a chance at celluloid immortality. This shot at fame sadly cost the young actress her life. Years later, the curse of this murder would haunt the movie set and crew of the production of the “B” movie, “The Pirate Wench.” Meanwhile, chubby and terminally apathetic Adam Waltz (played by “Terminator 2’s” Edward Fulong) won a walk-on role in the campy pirate film. He quickly develops a passionate relationship with the female lead, Cassie Blue (Tiffany Shepis), much to the chagrin and dismay of the director and rival actors. After Waltz is connected to a possible murder on the set, the film’s producer decides to increase the perpetually indifferent contest winner’s role from extra to co-star. Afterwards, the on-set murders continue, a ghost makes a cameo, then we find out who the killer really is. All of these amazing events and more make up the breathtakingly horrible, yet wonderful, movie that is “Dark Reel.”
While watching this film, I repeatedly said aloud, “I am disturbed by how much I am loving this movie.” For a film as campy and terrible as this movie should have been, “Dark Reel” was a delight. My theory explaining this film’s enchanting nature has little to do with its needless gore or the random shots of beautiful and scantily clad women; rather I feel this film was educational and taught me many things which I will cherish until my last days. Firstly, I learned that serial killers often times like to slap a victim before slitting their throats. I believe this is to establish a power dialectic between “killer” and “killee.” Next, I learned what happened to actress Mercedes McNab, aka “Harmony” from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Apparently, although she appeared to be in incredible shape after these past few years of career remission, she is unfortunately made out of a cake-like substance. When she was stabbed in the tummy, she lacked any bone structure. When Cassie Blue and Adam Waltz finally consummated their love for a shocking 15 second sex scene, the filmmaker then transitioned from an enthralled couple to a tree (possibly an oak). This tree did not, on the surface, hold any meaning. In fact, I rewound the DVD to make sure of this. It is my belief that filmmaker Josh Eisenstadt wished to make a brief ecological statement. By directly contrasting the image of lovemaking to a shot of a tree, he may very have been attempting to relay the message that “trees need love too.” This assumption may be untrue, but I do not wish for anyone to tell me any different…for I want to live the green dream.