In the days of the video store, a ton of weird movies would end up on the shelves. Some were better than others, and some were just unwatchable. They would lure you in with cover art, but you’d soon discover that the content within was worlds away from what you were promised. There was no way to check out a trailer or google search reviews on your phone, you just had to take a gamble. Or maybe ask one of the workers or patrons if they knew anything about the movie.
By blindly renting whatever I hadn’t already seen in the store, I was exposed to true B-horror. I feel like that term gets thrown around a lot when describing 80’s horror films. I wouldn’t consider Evil Dead 2 or Re-Animator B-horror, even though I’ve heard them described as such. True B-horror is the stuff that is so weird that you can’t even tell if what you’re watching is good or bad. There are the prime examples of this from studios such as Troma and Full Moon, a lot of those movies have stood the test of time and are still talked about today. Then there are the ones that only a select few remember, the ones that have faded into obscurity as video stores closed all over the country. Once Netflix began their service, few felt the need to leave their homes to find movies. Even Troma and Full Moon provide their own streaming services and have put some of their libraries on Hulu. Netflix may have gotten rid of human interaction, but there are still plenty of B-Movie gems and oddities to be discovered. In fact, I came across a movie titled Patchwork on there and realized that the days of discovering weird genre films is still alive and well. I stumbled upon Patchwork by chance and was drawn in by the zany, gory clips they showed in the preview. The film is about three girls who wake up sewn together in the same body. They then spend a majority of the movie trying to figure out who did it to them. Within the first three minutes, I wanted to shut off. I then decided to give it more of a chance, but then wanted to shut it off at about the twenty minute mark. Again, I decided to push forward. I was ultimately rewarded…in a way. The film has a strange vibe that makes it work. Not only that, but there were some really funny performances and even a pretty good twist towards the end. One of the things that really caught my attention was how the film reminded me of a particular B-movie director from the 80’s, Frank Henenlotter. Henenlotter was known for such films as Basket Case, Brain Damage and FrankenHooker. His movies had a style that gave them a bizarre type of charm, Patchwork reminded me of that charm. Like Henenlotter’s work, the movie was so weird and bizarre, I found myself drawn in again and again. It reminded me of that time where for better or worse, I’d take a chance on some B-movie shlock. Also like Henenlotter’s work, there was an “anything goes” attitude about plot points. For example Frankenhooker’s Jeffrey is as a super genius who can pretty much do anything, from building self working lawnmowers to bringing the dead back to life. The main antagonist in Patchwork is very similar to Jeffrey in this regard. I’m glad that I watched this weird little flick as I was inspired to create something focused on B-Movies as a potential ongoing series. I’m going to be on the lookout for more bizarre flicks like this. Patchwork has made me nostalgic for the days of the video store and so I will continue this Journey into Obscurity!