Blood Gnome (2004)
A series of unusual and mysterious deaths are being investigated by the police. Within their team is Daniel - a mentally scarred Police photographer, who openly tells bystanders details of crime scenes, and is constantly reminded about "all he's been through" since he was released from a mental hospital. When his work buddy points out that the infra-red camera can see right through women's blouses to get a perfectly clear view underneath, Daniel discovers it also enables him to see the otherwise invisible Blood Gnomes. And they are also at the crime scene.
Now these gnomes are not the jolly, pointy-hatted, garden variety that sit on toadstools in suburban gardens. They're actually invisible, vampiric creatures, reminiscent of Ghoulies or Gremlins but without the budget or the sense of humour.
Meanwhile, the police are trying to figure out what it could be that connects the blood-spattered murder victims they keep finding trussed up in bondage gear. And it turns out they were all into BDSM sex. Well I never. Daniel goes online to find out more about this mysterious subculture. And in the "Whips 'n Chains" chatroom he asks, "Can anybody tell me about BDSM?" before he is laughed off the website.
In comes Divinity, one of the original crime scene bystanders, who likes to replicate the passion and pain of her sexual role play in her severe eyebrow plucking. She is surprisingly unfazed by being alone in a strange man's apartment which has blood red walls and photographs of crime scene victims tastefully framed on the wall. (Including one of his ex wife with her face blown off. One for the family scrapbook if ever there was). Daniel asks Divinity to tell him what BDSM means, so she suggests he get his camcorder and video her having sex with another woman in the garage. Which apparently is not at all an odd thing to do with someone you've just met at the scene of a murdered friend. Well surprise surprise, it turns out he needs a bit more explanation later, so she educates him further by tying him up and tearing his clothes off. Well you can't say this film isn't educational. In fact, the biggest two things I learnt about BDSM from this, are that people do it while keeping their underpants on, and they like to do it in garages and warehouses with black plastic sheets covering the walls.
Our intrepid, over-involved, over-sexed, loose-lipped police photographer takes to his car where he talks loudly and clearly to himself, as if explaining the plot to a very slow audience. And it turns out 'blood sports' (cutting someone for sexual pleasure - and nothing to do with a pack of hounds and a fox) is what really gets the little monsters raring to kill.
Now, the Blood Gnomes might look like cheaply animated rubber puppets with eyebrow piercings and no visible genitalia, but they are actually impressively savvy. Not only do they understand how to rewind and record over video tapes, but they have conversations with Daniel via Instant Messaging on his computer. I kid you not.
There are many things wrong with this movie. For a start, I can certainly see why the acting didn't get nominated for any Oscars. The camera work uses too many uncomfortably in-your-face close-up shots (because of confined locations), there are some views looking directly down from the ceiling, and some pointing upwards towards the light, presumably to show off the dust and smudges on the lens. Some sections are badly over-lit. There are a couple of sequences where characters simply walk right into the camera lens. You can spot camera crew and equipment in shiny surfaces, and at one point a boom microphone is clearly visible in the reflection of a glass door throughout the whole scene. This is not a good film. However, what it does offer you - in great abundance - is boobs, bondage and blood. If those (especially the first two) are your thing, you probably won't be disappointed. But if you're looking for scares, you probably will be.
As for me, I have to say there is a certain appeal to a movie that features scenes with puppet monsters feeding rubber hands to a gnome-birthing octopus-thing in a box. Or fight scenes where someone off-camera is throwing rubber gnomes at an actor. Which sounds much more my cup of tea. It isn't the funniest bad movie I've seen, but it is entertaining in its silliness, and its misguided attempts to keep a straight face throughout.