Spectacle | 124 South 3rd Street
Dir. Daniel Liatowitsch & David Todd Ocvirk, 1999
US, 84 min.
15TH ANNIVERSARY SCREENING!!!
Five strangers agree to live in a lavish house together under constant video surveillance, supposedly for an “experimental film”. The first night unfolds along the lines of any Real World episode, with the attendant personality clashes and flirtations – that is, until blades shoot out of the kitchen appliances, disemboweling Tina, the spastic raver girl, just as the doors and windows slam shut, trapping the survivors. With even more senselessly brutal deaths awaiting them in every booby-trapped room, they turn on each other, eventually uniting their suspicions against their most unstable housemate, artist/mental patient Kyra (who can’t find her pills). But Kyra frantically warns them of a mysterious man she glimpsed on TV slicing his own face off with a razor blade while cackling and chanting “Kolobos…today…I…exist…”
Horror films with a Big Brother-inspired reality TV premise would eventually emerge as a familiar trope in the early aughts with films like “My Little Eye” and “Series 7: The Contenders” but KOLOBOS predated all of them, completed months before Big Brother itself debuted in the US.
Uncommonly for a direct-to-video slasher film, Kolobos’s main source of inspiration is Dario Argento, and it is an impassioned tribute indeed, with hyper-gruesome practical effects, set-piece murders, expressionistic lighting, surrealistic logic and an effectively Goblin-esque knock-off score. Loaded also with overt references to Fulci, Bava and early Carpenter, Kolobos is one of the earliest explicit odes to 80s horror, even as some of its ghostly phantom effects anticipated films like Ringu and Dark Water. Kolobos is truly an under-appreciated and ahead-of-its-time horror film awaiting rediscovery.