For horror specialists, one of the interesting horror movies on Tubi is EFFECTS. To see the poster of this disparaging horror movie, and to read its rather tame name made me want to watch it practically right away. These feelings kind of clicked when I found that Tom Savini was part of the cast as both special effects specialist and actor.
Not to be confused with “F/X”, even if the name sounds the same. The movie as a whole, but especially the message, is worthy of note because when this movie came out, it was way, way ahead of its time.
The story is about a movie crew in an isolated, countryside location. They’re filming a horror movie and they like to spice up their daily work with heavy drug abuse. They go through the industrial motions that entail the making of a movie by a small independent crew. Everything seems more or less normal and slice-of-life until after some time together, the real personality of characters takes over.
“Effects” has moral teaching, but also a social commentary. Its commentary, I understood it to be related to mental derangement and committing inexcusable excesses in the name of art.
Like I wrote in the first paragraph, for me the highlight of the cast was Savini. Everybody knows that in horror, Savini is the man and it was very funny for me to watch him performing in an acting role once again.
All the other characters were okay, except maybe for Barney, who was too histrionic for my taste. He personifies a very annoying member of the filming crew.
I didn’t like the exploitative elements used, like mashing together three or four of them: laziness, drugs and snuff films. But that’s okay. After all, what are horror movies for if they can’t disgust you? And “Effects” did make me quite disgusted.
There’s a mixture of eroticism, hard drugs, psychopathy, and (less more so) gore. Most of it is pushed on the others by the director, who also leads in the, downright life-threatening, degenerate thinking department.
I liked the implementation of the snuff theme. The movie builds you up to it, and by the time the snuff part comes, you’ve forgotten that you chose it because it’s from 1979 and it advertises itself as being about snuff.
The erotic imagery is incredibly racy and the sadistic/snuff angle kind of shocking for 1979. There were scenes that felt like watching an illegal feed on the dark web. I know it sounds strange to say something like this, but you’ll see it when you watch it.
The fact is that it took ages for the snuff topic to become something familiar. Still, it’s not difficult to see how this movie’s shock mechanics work. I guess that its high degree of shock was achieved was by subverting something from the underground by means of using it as a substance for a commercial, alternative, but ultimately mainstream, product.
One of the Horror Movies on Tubi that goes too far
The moral of this film, to me, was this: cocaine abuse, when coupled with horror movie-making, scantily-clad young women, and a corrupting, deviant director can, and will, end up in a bad way.
How the plot drags, and how the movie rushes to its conclusion on its last ten minutes may be bothersome to some.
Still, I think this movie is a muster for every serious horrorist that wants to watch everything that’s required on the road towards horror mastership.
I think that to make a movie about snuff films in 1979 was just too smart. If back then there existed a market for that kind of movie in the underground, a movie exposing it had to be made. “Effects” is that movie.