Weird, Disturbing Garbage<br/><br/>One axiom is true about any given art form: It did not exist before a person made it. One of my primary interests in evaluating art forms in a critical manner is to contemplate the motivation behind the decision to execute the work. I have no idea why anyone would have made a movie like BARN OF THE NAKED DEAD, though after seeing it I can understand why folks want to see it: Great title.<br/><br/>Existing these days as scummy old rental tapes [including a preposterous version called NIGHTMARE CIRCUS, that is worse if possible] and the occaisional underground re-record, I managed to snag one of the original rental tapes by Ariel Entertainment, whoever they were, and was able to assess an "uncut" 87 minute print of the film. I was not prepared for what it had to offer.<br/><br/>I love low rent "B" grade horror, especially European 1970's stuff, and have just begun delving into some of the American made examples beyond DON'T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT or COUNT YORGA. I was enticed by the name Andrew Prine, a magnetic veteran actor of many a B exploitation movie romp -- his role in SIMON KING OF THE WITCHES might be one of the great overlooked performances of the 1970's. His role in BARN OF THE NAKED DEAD is one that I hope he eventually got over, because films like this can wreck a career especially when an actor throws himself into the role, something that he was not apparently able to resist. I wonder if he got to view his daily rushes, or even if there were any daily rushes -- My thought is that the entire film was shot in about a week & a half, and exposed/edited only afterwards when nobody could stop the cinematic car wreck that unfolds onscreen.<br/><br/>THE PLOT: Man has lived in near isolation on former Army nuclear testing grounds in Nevada [interesting premise], family having long since deserted or otherwise been rendered ioperable. Prine compensates his lack of company by sitting up in a duck tower with a rifle and putting a bullet through unsuspecting car engines.<br/><br/>These cars are all driven by skanky looking 70's B supporting actresses, whom he cons into coming back to his farm. There they are taken prisoner and chained inside of a large barn. The majority of the film consists of footage of the girls chained up to these little posts and cowering with fear, trembling with cold, and discussing their situation. Between conversations Prine lurches in [sometimes dressed as a big top circus M.C.] and drags one of them off to be abused -- verbally, psychologically, physically, and in the movies sole moment of true interest [though the outcome was cut], by a snake. Ahem. He also talks to himself and plays with a toy windup bigtop. He is not a person but a mannerism -- weird behavior for a movie plot with legs attached. I doubt if he was allowed a single 2nd take.<br/><br/>At the end of the film a not too secret horrifying secret is revealed, and everyone dies except the two girls that went crazy during their ordeal, which I guess is to make you think, "Gee ...". The End. How they all die I will leave to be a discovery for those stupid enough to seek it out: Don't let my description of a thirty second clip of Snake Sleaze tempt you: BARN OF THE NAKED DEAD just plain sucks.<br/><br/>The "cinemetography", on all levels of considerations, sucks. The script sucks, apparently an attempt to adapt the Ed Gein story to a contemporary "issue", though just what that issue would be remains undefined ... Be angry at the Army for atmospheric atom testing, maybe. Don't take the long scenic route when you can fly, perhaps. Watch out for maniacs that have been exposed to nuclear fallout? Nahh -- too easy. Maybe it will come to me at some point, but like I said this film seems to have been made without any real intent, unless that intention is to disturb.<br/><br/>And rest assured, BARN OF THE NAKED DEAD is disturbing. Folks may have some bondage romp in mind but BE WARNED: this film lacks even the slightest touch of erotic charm. There is sleaze, but it is not arousing sleaze, unless wondering how the girls go to the bathroom when chained up gives you a rise -- that was the only thing that the film made me wonder about. Then again I guess they didn't need to, since all of the barn scenes could have been shot in one afternoon, so maybe nobody had to go before they were finished.<br/><br/>Avoid this film. Avoid it like you would a burning car at a gas pump.<br/><br/>Avoid it like you would avoid an open cesspit. Avoid it like you would avoid someone with a bad case of bubonic plague. Don't be suckered in by a kinky box cover or descriptions of unspeakable horrors. They are unspeakable, allright -- so awful that I can't manage one more word.
Barn of the Naked Dead
Barn of the Naked Dead
Three showgirls on their way to Las Vegas have car trouble and are stuck all night out in the desert. The next morning cheerful Andre offers them help in fixing their car. However, Andre is really a maniac with a lot of family problems; his mother ran out on him when he was a child so now he keeps kidnapped women chained up in his barn and trains them to perform circus tricks. Andre's father is still around of course, but because the old homestead is next to a nuclear test site he has been transformed into a raving homicidal mutant that Andre keeps locked up in a shed.
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