DVD Review-Ass Studios Presents: 4 Short Films

“Four short films from the minds of Courtney Fathom Sell & Reverend Jen!”

Currently Available thru MVD Distribution

Going into this dvd of 4 short films I never heard of Ass Studios. Now, not to be mistaken with asses that run studios, I think I have heard of a few of them before. This dvd has 4 shorts that run a total of an hour long. So let’s look at this dvd and see what these indie NY artists are offering. Right from the get go, they throw up the parental advisory label, that either warn us or make us very excited deciding what kind of sick fuck you are, that the following material will be offensive in a violent, sexual and disturbing way. Now, someone like I am when I read this stuff, I set my sights up very high to know that people are going to try and offend me. No offense to director Courtney Fathom Sell to throw that kind of warning sign in the beginning, you better be ready to deliver. And no offense, that is the one thing I can say after watching this dvd, she did not offend me and I thought that while certain aspects were sort of disturbing that as a whole, she should not have set the bar up that high with that silly warning. Now, I am not saying this is a good film or bad film, but I am saying that maybe she is really overthinking this film, and trying to over sell it. So let’s look at what this woman is offering us.

Our first short runs close to 20 minutes and it is called The Sinful Bitches. This is basically a story about a couple just getting in to NY and looking for a cheap place to stay and runs into a drunken lush of a landlord and her odd son Mangina. The shocker to this short I guess is that it focuses on a couple who seem very uptight and a son who has a man vagina. So, if watching an old man masturbating having a vagina is shocking to you, this film may speak to you. The landlord also drugs up the woman and whores her out. While this was harmless, I just expected it to really shock and offend me. Again, why have this big warning sign if you cannot deliver on it. And, no offense but a woman in her clothes being mock raped while a man sticks a vibrator in his fake vagina does nothing to me, but just sit there and try to figure out what you are trying to accomplish. The bar is set too high these days to say you are offering offensive material. Everyone is doing that without having to oversell it, and delivering. When people try their hardest to offend, is when they fail. Like I said, this was harmless and ok for what it was but I just wish it would have tried to offend and more to tell a story and entertain.

Second up is The Bitches of Bowery, this ran a little under 10 minutes. I liked this more than I should have. I am very into the 70’s New York movement of art films, and also I am a huge fan of the god that is Richard Kern. This was shot in black and white, and instead of dialogue it was all music. This seemed like The Gun is Loaded meets Death Valley 69. 3 I assume bad ass girls just walking around trying to cause trouble anywhere they go. And then they take a young schoolgirl and give her an awakening and make her part of this gang. Unless you are a diehard fan of art house cinema and maybe 70’s Lou Reed, you may not like this a lot. This next statement will come across as sexist but I have to say it. These shorts so far are lacking in nudity. What made Kern work is that his actresses and actors had no problem doing sick ass shit in front of a screen, for the greater good of art and how it will be accepted. Your studio is called Ass Studios, you are promising human depravity, why not deliver on it? Again, I am a fan of this style of film making, but I think you need to up the sleaze factor and not make an attempt at trying to create your idols work. Create your own idol, not to try to imitate them.

The third one is called Killer Unicorn, and also it ran under 10 minutes, thank god. This film is about a gay man who is bullied by a bunch of people on the corner, and he gets a mask in the mail one day he is transformed into a killer unicorn to kill them all. I am starting to see a trend with these shorts, they have the same crew and seem like they were all shot in the same day. How does this film try to be shocking by exploiting bullying by calling a gay man a faggot about 20 times or so. I won’t even start about how bad this short was, I thought the humor it was trying for was lost on the pure hate that this made me feel. I get the concept and what you are trying to attempt with this, but you need acting and a script to pull this off. This lacked both and it showed throughout. While the concept seems ambitious, it really came across as amateurish. I was born in New York, and as a New York native I would have wished that they would have made this more of a love letter to the state more than a hateful lack of comedy short. This could have been so much more and you have one of the greatest places on earth New York to use as your backdrop, this is the best you can come up with? While the second short felt like homage to New York’s underground art scene, this felt like an insult to New York as to say they are closed minded ex-jocks who lack personality. That may be a small part of the state, but what state does not have those kinds of people?

The last one is called Elf Workout, and it runs around 9 minutes or so. This woman called Reverend Jen hosts a workout and tries to make it as sleazy as you can with all your clothes on. This dvd offers a weird variety of shorts, we get the hate homophobes, the black and white art movement, and the shocking wanna be, and now a workout. I am truly lost for words, as to why I sat thru this and did not shut it off. I am so upset that this dvd started off with that warning, because it raised my hopes up so high to think I was going to get some very vile stuff. Instead I got some ambitious very boring uneven material that seems like it was thought of and acted on the fly more than thought out. If I was on the set of any of these shorts, I would have had to speak up and say, “What the fuck are you thinking? This is not funny or shocking and seems bland”. Then, I will be on any social media bitching about why I was fired. For comedy you need a director and writer who have a personality or at least the resources to provide them with someone who does. To provide shocking and offensive you have to be fully committed to it. You cannot say you are, and then give them some dumb plastic vagina and jokes about semen and the word gay people hate, and say you are delivering. If people are buying a dvd from a studio called Ass, and see the art work, I am thinking that the warning is a little silly. Just offer the material, I think you’re following or buyer will be old enough to handle whatever you throw at them. The elf workout is unwatchable and utterly the worst thing I ever seen committed to film ever.

All in all, this was such a mixed bag of ideas that should have been more thought out and maybe at least changing out the actors and throwing in different faces to add some kind of different. I did like the black and white art one, but then again that is a cheat because anyone and their mother could have created that one and may have even been better. The first one with the man and his plastic vagina was tolerable, just did not live up the pre hype that they gave us. The rest I can say made me wish I would have stopped sooner and not reviewed them.

2 out of 10