Drive-In Dive In: 7 in the Torture Chamber

Posted: May 25, 2015 in Drive In, Horror, Reviews
Tags: , , , ,

blonde-smokeYou’ve had this one circled and underlined in your appointment book for weeks. As soon as the trailer flashed up on the big white screen in the field a few weeks back during the Coming Attractions break between movies, you swore by all that is unholy that you would be back at the drive-in for the opening weekend of 7 in the Torture Chamber. For aspiring exploitation directors and screenwriters everywhere, always bear in mind that the single most important marketing aspect for your film is a title that grabs the would-be viewer by the goodies and squeezes. You need a title that will have 11-year old boys conspiring to somehow, someway get in to see the film without knowing a single additional thing about it.

7 in the Torture Chamber fits the bill nicely.

Yes, yes, disappointment is inevitable if you are less than expert at managing expectations. The dedicated drive-in audience member is always first in line outside the Freak Tent at the Carnival Sideshow. He/she will go into the tent time after time, waiting for the gem that invariably reveals itself, even if it means suffering through a slew of charlatans. And for the first eight glorious minutes of 7 in the Torture Chamber, the true believer is rewarded.

The opening scene of this movie should be broken off from the rest and preserved intact as an example of exploitation excellence. It is nearly flawless, from the setup, through the shock, to the “are you effing kidding me” denouement. You may find yourself shaking and asking yourself if you have stumbled onto the Holy Grail. “Could this be the Texas Chainsaw Massacre of our time?” you dare to wonder. It doesn’t get better than that.

Literally, it doesn’t get better than that. In fact, the rest of the movie doesn’t even come close. Most of what’s left is not even a horror movie. In a fascinating if completely fractured genre mash-up, the torture porn story gives way to a reform school girls genre flick and then shifts to a slasher movie before finally becoming something of a whacked out feminist revenge film. “Uneven” does not even begin to describe this one.

It breaks down like this, as Vincent would say: seven very naughty girls have been sent away in the woods to a boot campish campground that just happens to be the old stomping ground of Jason Vorhees. Oh yeah, it’s Crystal Lake or as much Crystal Lake as it can be without either getting sued or paying for the rights. So – wink, wink – we get a guy in a hockey mask briefly, but it’s the “slow” maintenance guy, conveniently named Guy. who actually seems to have more on the ball than the two lunkheads who act as guards. After all, it’s Guy who found the hole to peek into the girls shower.

That’s right, sports fans, there’s both the requisite lesbian prisoner shower rape scene (which the victim has to point out in a later scene as the editing leaves this sequence visually incoherent) and the optional lesbian prisoner sex scene (well done, proving that no editing is sometimes the best editing).

With everyone nice and clean and more or less tucked in for the night, our killer returns, once again wearing a modified Ronald Reagan mask. It’s a nice tip of the cap, by director Griff Furst, to the 1980’s, Jason’s heyday. The Infinity Killer goes about his work, but, honestly, his heart doesn’t seem in it. Geez, he actually just shoots some of the victims as if he ran out of creatively disgusting ways to dispatch them. (Don’t worry, there are a couple of those. One involves barbed wire and the other vomit.) Still, time remains for the familiar sexual education warning for young unmarried females: engage in premarital sex, and you will be penetrated by something other than his member.

Best lines during this sequence:

“Where’s the guy with ax?”

“He’s not using an ax anymore.”

Hell, yes, you have to see 7 in the Torture Chamber. We established that when we went over the title. Come for the opening scene, stay for the shower. The last two minutes are pure drive-in cray cray. And stay tuned – the folks who came up with the first eight minutes of this one are going to do something great one day.

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