Unless otherwise noted in the post title, these are not
reviews, per se. They are articles for people who have already seen the film or read the book in question--meaning that there will be spoilers. If you're already familiar with the material being covered, or don't mind the plot being spoiled, please read on and leave a comment.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Heart Attack! The Early Pulse Pounding Cinema of Kelly Hughes (2012)

In 1991, aspiring filmmaker Kelly Hughes began production on his very own horror-suspense anthology series entitled HEART ATTACK THEATRE, which aired on Seattle’s public access television. The schedule was a rushed one, from script-to-broadcast in one week’s time, and the budgets were decidedly limited. What was not limited, however, was the passion and dedication needed to crank out a new mini-movie week after week. Shot on VHS and utilizing a rotating roster of local performers, the themes ranged from drugged-up freak-outs to psychotic breaks, but each one was down and dirty exploitation. If John Waters was Rod Serling, then this would be THE TWILIGHT ZONE.

Hughes also went on to direct a couple of feature films—TWIN CHEEKS: WHO KILLED THE HOMECOMING KING (1994) and LA CAGE AUX ZOMBIES (1995), the latter of which featured Russ Meyer starlet Kitten Natividad as an obscenely large-busted victim that unwillingly supplied a pair of cross-dressing zombies with breast milk. That’s a sentence that pretty much sums up the nuttiness that runs rampant in Hughes’s work.

HEART ATTACK! THE EARLY PULSE POUNDING CINEMA OF KELLY HUGHES functions as both a documentary and a retrospective of the man’s filmography. Composed almost equally of talking-head interviews with those in the know and clips from his films, this was an utterly fascinating look into a side of moviemaking that rarely gets attention: not the Major Studios like Universal or Sony; not the Major Minors like Full Moon or Troma; but the real minors, the true independent that exists solely because the creative force behind it is simply too determined to quit.

Full disclosure: I had never heard of Kelly Hughes before watching this doc, and I had certainly never seen any of his movies. But now? Now I want to see every single one of them, so I would have to say that this was a success. HEART ATTACK! was fascinating, entertaining, and more than a little inspirational. This was truly one of the most special films I have seen in a long time.

If you’re a fan of cult, horror, exploitation, or micro-budget cinema—and especially if you hope to someday create your own—this is the best piece  of advice that I can offer you:

Watch. This. Movie.

Visit Kelly Hughes's webpage by clicking HERE, and rent/purchase a digital copy of the documentary HERE.

(Special thanks to Kelly Hughes for the screener) 


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