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Brett Piper is an independent filmmaker that has been producing movies since the 1980s. If one were to take a look at his body of work, the viewer can tell that he LOVES 50s style monster movies. People in monster suits, globs and blobs, fantasy worlds, stop-motion gigantic creatures – it’s all good. Piper ups the ante by usually adding a pinch of comedy and a dash of T & A into his productions. I’m not complaining.

While I have done one or two reviews of Brett Piper’s films on the site, I decided to pool everything to gather and do a bit of a mini retrospective. With the help of guest reviewer Hugh Robertson, we take a gander four of Piper’s movies: DRAINIAC, BACTERIUM, MUCKMAN, and THE DARK SLEEP.

Join us – won’t you – as we delve into the creativity of Brett Piper’s creature romps. While his movies won’t be winning any Academy Awards, there is now denying the dedication and the passion the man has – to put out the best damn movie he can for the low budgets he’s given. All in all, they’re pretty damn fun.

Drain peek

DRAINIAC (2000)

A review by Robert Long II ©2014

Written and Directed by Brett Piper

Starring: Georgia Hatzis, Alexandra Boylan, Ethan Krasnoo, Samara Doucette, Robert Gorden, Philip ‘Phip’ Barbour, Andrew Osborne, Todd Poudrier, Adrienne McCleave, Leslie Culton

House

On a snowy winter night, Two bums – freezing from the cold – stumble upon a deserted house. Entering the basement, one of them is disposed of in a liquid spray from the plumbing. The other hightails it out of the manor – horrified beyond speech.

Astonishment

Go forward a few years and a young woman Julie (Georgia Hatzis) goes up with her overbearing father (Steven Bornstein) to clean up the aforementioned house (her dad buys houses to turn over). Her high school friends come out to help, but there is a demon living in the water pipes of the structure…

sewer

I like this movie. Of course I like a lot of Brett Piper’s movies. The budget for DRAINIAC was $10,000 and every single dollar of it shows up on screen. Plus – he shot it on film in the mid 1990s. Does it have its bumps and blemishes? Sure it does. But on the other hand it has a lot of fun parts and some really cool effects to recommend it.

group circle

The acting is a little uneven between the actors. On the commentary, Piper says that the talent pool is not huge in the New Hampshire area. I will give kudos for the fact that everyone is giving it their all. There is an earnestness present which I can appreciate.

blood door

I have to hand it to Brett Piper – he really gives us the works as far as effects go. For such a small budget we get some awesome miniatures and practical effects. Monsters, spiders, imploding house, car sucked into the ground, floating spirits, bursting water pipes – I dig it.

skull wall

Piper also makes sure to mix in a little humor, and it works to break up the times between the drama between the daughter and father. Besides the horror factors already expressed, there is a creepiness factor with the high school bully that shows up to cause trouble.

Bath tub

The audience member gets a little skin as well. Georgia Hatzis does a full frontal (although I really wished she had put makeup over her butt tattoo – it’s jarring to see in the scene) and there are two beautiful spooky spirits that show up toward the end of the movie.

nudie

It may not win any awards but it was a really fun watch. The actors are giving everything they’ve got, there some skin to look at, and Piper is is throwing himself into making sure the effects have the most bang for the buck. It’s entertaining – what more do you want?

mud water

The DVD has a very good commentary track with it. If you love creature feature monster movies and B-movie supernatural elements, then I think you enjoy this.

 FINAL RATING: 7/10 Plumbing Fixtures. I recommend it. Buy it HERE.

Bacterium

BACTERIUM (2006)

A Guest Review by Hugh Robertson ©2014

Written and Directed by Brett Piper

Starring: Alison Whitney, Benjamin Kanes, Miya Sagara

A team of Paintballers run afoul of a renegade scientist, government agents, and a biological weapon in Brett Piper’s 2006 science-fiction movie “Bacterium.” After an opening car chase between a melting scientist and government agents (which results in a fiery death), the movie focuses on a pair of Paintballers who are hunting their teammates in the woods.

Bact 1

After spying some government agents with automatic weapons, Beth (Alison Whitney of Kinky Killers) and Jiggs (Benjamin Kanes of Transformers) come across an abandoned house. Thinking their teammates may be hiding inside, they break in and separate for their search. Jiggs sets off a tripwire and falls down the steps, knocking himself unconscious. Beth is captured bya man in a containment suit. She’s forced to strip and is placed in a decontamination room.

Bact 2

The man in the containment suit is a scientist who starts working again on his experiment, but falls asleep. Jiggs is found by another Paintballer, Brooke (Miya Sagara), who tells him that she was shot at by the government agents outside. Meanwhile, the scientist wakes up and checks on Beth – who overpowers him. The other Paintballers find Beth, and tie up the scientist. He explains to them that he is a renegade scientist, hiding from the government because of his work on a new biological weapon. Unfortunately, since he is tied up, his experiment malfunctions and the biological weapon crawls out. Surrounded by government troops that won’t let them leave, and trapped with a deadly creature roaming the house, the rest of the movie details the Paintballers’ attempts to survive and escape.

Bact 3

Mostly shot on location at Ft. Totten, New York, Piper makes good use of the set by creating a claustrophobic, gloomy atmosphere inside the abandoned house. Shooting with a Sony HDV camera, he overcomes the camera’s limitations and achieves good lighting without artifacts, and maintains a clear sound quality throughout most of the movie. Unfortunately when he goes off the location to set pieces with the government monitors and politician scenes, the low budget becomes apparent with black backgrounds and CG effects. The acting ranges from mediocre to bad with only Shelly Dague – as one of the sympathetic government scientists, standing out with a nuanced portrayal.

Bact 5

Unfortunately, the special effects don’t make up for the other parts that are lacking in the movie.

I give “Bacterium” a 4 out of 10 on the Smash or Trash scale.

You can pick up Bacterium  HERE.

06

THE DARK SLEEP (2012)

A movie review by Robert Long II ©2013

Starring: Taylor Nicole Adams, Bob Dennis, Steve Diasparra, Ashley Galloway, Ken VanSant

Written and directed by Brett Piper

Genre: horror

I have been told that this is based off an H.P. Lovecraft story. Forgive me, but I am not familiar with much of his work, so I will take the filmmaker’s word for it.

01

So here’s the story. Aspiring novelist Nancy Peterson (Ashley Galloway) has a new house – scott free – from her realtor ex-husband (just to get her off his back). The only stipulation in the deed is that no one can paint over the pentagram that is on the basement wall. Although this is strange, Nancy doesn’t think anything of it and signs on the dotted line. That is, until really odd things start to happen to her at night when she goes to bed. Nancy starts having these incredible nightmares in the otherworld, and her sister (Taylor Nicole Adams) comes to stay and take care of her. A college professor (Ken VanSant) is called in to check out the pentagram and the strange goings-on… and from that point on the movie dives into dark surreal insanity. What is real and unreal – who is friend or foe? The lines are blurred.

02

The first thing that became apparent to me is that the character of Nancy Peterson is pretty much written as a bitch. As this is the person that the audience will be called upon to identify and side with, this is not a good thing. It is hard to find much sympathy in her plight when she starts off hard nosed, irritable and sarcastic straight out of the chute. The other characters are better flushed out; the ex-husband, the sister, and the teacher. Some are heros, some are villains, but all end up being pretty interesting.

03

The acting was top notch all around, and the two male leads were in Piper’s previous movie MUCKMAN. The camera, lighting and audio work are professional and competent. The location is superb with nice little touches to make the dream house not all that it seems to be. Outside of the main character being written a bit too hard (her demeanor does soften a little towards the end) the story is solid and interesting.

04

Brett Piper’s effects are the real reason to tune into this movie, and here he does not disappoint. Stop motion monsters and tripod robots, barren landscapes, and foreboding castles inhabit the dream world. In my opinion these effects come off better than those in Phillip Cooke’s DESPISER. I attribute this in the fact that Piper does things old school – meaning models and stop motion rather than with CGI.  The effect comes across with more meat and depth to them, where as CGI – unless done very carefully – can come off flat and a bit like watching a video arcade game. Piper’s work here gives the film great atmosphere. The stop motion monsters come off quite creepy.

05

The disk I got was a screener disk, so I do not know if there are any extras. I can say from past movies that I really enjoy the commentaries that Brett does, and I hope this one has it as well. If this were rated it would probably get a PG rating. The last couple of movies Piper has done has been a little more light weight (no gore or nudity) and I kind of hope he goes back into the R rated area. When doing genre monster movies stuff, it doesn’t hurt to have those elements in there. I am looking forward to the next movie he is working on, which involves a giant crab.

07

So when all is said and done I do recommend THE DARK SLEEP. It is not as sexy as DRAINIAC or BACTERIUM and it is not as fun as MUCKMAN, but Brett Piper still delivers on the story and the effects so it is worth that alone.

Rating: 7 out of 10 nightmares. You can pick it up HERE.

MUCKMAN ©2009

A review by Robert Long II ©2012

Directed by Brett Piper

Written by Brett Piper and Mark Polonia

Starring: A.J. Khan, Alison Whitney, Ian Piper, Jared Warren, Danielle Donahue, Ken Van Sant, Steve Diasparra, Bob Dennis, Mark Polonia, Buzz Cartier, Mike Crum, Robin C. Jones, and Christina Jones

Genre: Horror/Comedy

Released by Chemical Burn Entertainment

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I am getting to be a real Brett Piper fan. This guy has been at it for 30 years and really knows his stuff and his audience. He is not ashamed to put out quality B-movies that are entertaining. Bravo! So this on-air monster hunter (Steve Diasparra) has been off the air since being shown to be a fraud. He was doing a story on the infamous Pennsylvania MUCKMAN when everything fell apart; turns out ol’ muckman was a guy in a rubber suit under the employment of Steve.

Laughed off the tube, Diasparra is desperate to get back in front of the camera. He finally – FINALLY – cons – I mean convinces his producer to give him one more chance. The stipulation is that he  has to bring in a story on the REAL Muckman, with a new on-screen talent and crew. So this band of misfits pack up into a trailer and head off to the sticks of Pennsylvania. It’s here that they meet three yokel locals (led by Ken Van Sant) who swear they’ve seen the creature. So it looks like an all night stake out will be in order…

I’m not going to go into the whole story as it will spoil a lot of the fun. Just go out and BUY this! What a blast! This has just about everything you could wish for in a party movie.  There are one or two FAKE Muckmen, but the design of the real deal is awesome! Plus Brett Piper provides some really incredible stop-motion animation towards the end of the film; I’ll take this any day over CGI!

Oh, did I forget to mention the babes? Three of them (A.J. Khan, Alison Whitney, Danielle Donahue) and all equally HOT. And before you give me any crap for saying that, this is a GENRE movie and their appearance is par for the course. What was wonderful is that they all had great acting chops and super comedic timing. On the other end of the genre spectrum there IS a little gore on display – but I will say this; not all is as it seems.

Be sure to stick around for the epilog at the end of the film which is hilarious! I wish I could say something about the extras, but alas I was only sent a screener. If they are anything like the extras that were included on Drainiac and Bacterium (two other great Brett Piper movies) then they are just thick gooey icing on an already delicious cake.  I give this a hearty 9/10 swamp fiends of a rating. The only thing holding it back from a 10/10 is that none of the lovely ladies get nekkid.

Run – NOW! – over to Chemical Burn Entertainment and pick up this fun diamond in the rough. You will not be disappointed!

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Interested in finding out more about this talented filmmaker? Head on over to his website HERE.