In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Dead On Arrival.

I've been on a pretty solid run of VHS titles recently so this time I picked something that was almost surely to be of questionable quality – Juan Mas' The Coroner from 1999.

After narrowly escaping from a serial killer (Dean St. Louis) – who just happens to be the city's chief coroner – Emma (Jane Longenecker) sets out to prove his guilt at all costs.

The Coroner totally reeked of the trash that was populating video store shelves in the early 2000's. I'd forgotten how wretched some of this stuff was. From the first few scenes, I had several uh-oh moments that made me thanking God that it was only seventy-five minutes. Fortunately, it became less terrible as it went on, as it turned out to not just be ladies being chained up and tortured for the entire run time.

Jane Longenecker & Dean St. Louis in The Coroner.

Actually, it was quite the opposite, as there was barely any gore at all. You would think a movie about a serial killer would have some actual kills, but no. In fact, pretty much the only thing I recall was nonsense cutaways and flashbacks, some pilfered from other (better) movies. I could've sworn I saw a bit of Slumber Party Massacre flash onscreen at one point. That's super lazy, guys.

I will give it up to Longenecker though, as she was giving it her all. She had a Bridget Fonda-like quality that kept me at least semi-interested. The Coroner was really all over the place, with random sex scenes that sometimes made me wonder if I was watching a horror movie or a soft core porn. With wonderful nuggets of dialogue like Exhibit A below, I tend to lean toward the latter...

It's just a weird mixed bag, including cops that even for movie cops were way too mistrusting, a killer who used blow darts of all things to subdue his victims and that Emma, a defense lawyer, somehow had access to C4 explosives. It all added up to an ending that made no sense, especially considering the scene that proceeded it.

The Coroner was Z-grade stuff, but considering its merciful length and Longenecker's committed performance, it was still fairly painless.

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