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Do you like strange, low-budget films, gore, and random butt-metal? If you said yes, you sound cool, and we should hang out--but also, you should look into the early work of Vick Campbell.

Spanish filmmaker Vick Campbell has gained a small international cult following for his 2010s low-budget horror flicks. With films like Erotic Nights of the Blind Dead (2007) and Derangement (2016), Vick made a name for himself while seemingly paying tribute to genre legends with modern, frugal resources and grime. Before this, however, Campbell cut his teeth with a flurry of splatter-ridden experiments in shot-on-video horror during the early 2000s.  Recently, four of these DIY splatter films saw a limited run release from Toxic Filth Video on DVD-- which is how I got my hands on them. The Vick Campbell Short Gore Film Collection (Vol.1) contains four microbudget short films that feature demonic forces, ridiculous masked killers, and a back alley exorcism.

Barbarie Carnicera

Within the first seconds of Barbarie Carnicera, screeching garage-rock drowns-out the electronic background hum, which is always a good sign. A group of men visits the local occult practitioner because one of the friends promises it will be "a blast." When they arrive, things don't go well, and the masked "voodoo doctor" decides not to let them go home. Soon, zombies pop up (painted with what looks like mustard), the adjacent cemetery gets foggy, and there is a loving, barebones Romero-style gut-buffet finale to take us home. It's all somewhat inexplicable but equally enjoyable. For the record, the dude in the cloak and mask has some genuinely creepy moments. If I saw that guy running around in a random cemetery, I would mind my own business and keep stepping. At the very least, I wouldn't want to ruin any good LARPing.

Cerebros Podridos

Jumping further into the surreal and adding some off-kilter comedy, Cerebros Podridos follows off-brand, gloveless Freddy Krueger and his buddy the mummy as they abduct women to carve up. This ups the ante in the type of gore on display so far, even if the hard plastic nipples betray the illusion a bit. It's a little repetitive as it strings together a short pattern of a scene type; however, nothing sticks around long enough for that to be a problem. It has a silly uncontained attitude, even going low-rent Benny Hill at the end. For some reason, I got the idea that it could have been a Butthole Surfers music video (take from that what you can). I liked the zany, mean-spirited madness, and the ending dance party is a plus.

Exorcismo En Sants
While it is probably the more somber of the group, Exorcismo has the classic tropes and includes grainy hints of the eye for style that make the filmmaker's later full-length work stand out. The piece is also the part of the collection most reliant on dialogue, as I likely could have equally enjoyed the other three with or without subtitles. Besides all that, it still nails the backyard gross-out theme and fits in. The incredibly dedicated demonic lady's makeup looks like it cleared out the fridge. Plus, there is some blue milk! At times, this tale felt like it had escaped from Olaf Ittenbach's anthology The Burning Moon (1992). The 42-minute flick is an honorable, slimy, no-budget homage to the possession genre, lubricated with grime and goop.
Valencia Gore
I love this one, although I had seen it before this collection. It's pretty much a Spanish cousin to Violent Shit, and I could easily watch a feature-length movie. In the twenty-six minute project, an escaped mental patient in a party mask hacks and slashes his way through people hanging out in the woods. This, for some reason, includes a purple-haired girl in a bodysuit that looks like anime cosplay. It is barebones, excited to show off its homemade guts, and wants to gross you out. I think the white mask dude needs to come back for a full-Length feature, some sequels, and a cross-over showdown with Andreas Schnaas' Karl the Butcher. In all seriousness, and to my great enjoyment, the amateur, cinematic blitz is just a bunch of stabbing, people running around trees, and pure soul.
Vick Campbell pushes DIY gore cinema to imaginative, often disgusting places, a’ la Olaf Ittenbach, Andreas Schnaas, and a dash of classic euro-sleaze. The showcase of fucked up, passionate, camcorder-horror with more motivation than capital makes a satisfying variety pack of some of my favorite things. If that sounds like your kind of entertainment too, the director's work is worth a look. Watch it with your like-minded friends that totally exist.


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