J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Anarchy Parlor: Ink & Blood

In Lithuania’s sketchiest tattoo parlor, allergies and infections are the least of the customers’ concerns. Of course, a group of entitled tourists’ combination of stupid hipsterism and a crushing lack of intuition is just asking for trouble. The mystery “Artist” will duly oblige in Devon Downs & Kenny Gage’s torture corn Anarchy Parlor (trailer here), which opens this Friday in limited markets.

Somehow Amy and her friends managed to graduate from college, so they are now partying it up in style. By far, her dumbest friend is the human embarrassment called Brock, who is inexplicably picked up at a party by Uta, a goth tattoo apprentice-artist. Against all common sense, Amy tags along when Uta takes Brock back to her master’s establishment. Amy wants a tattoo, so heck, no time like the present. Naturally, the Artist is happy to oblige, taking quite the shine to her. She has great skin, don’t you know. As we fully expect, she and Brock quickly find themselves strapped to tables with sharp pointy objects headed their way.

Eventually, Amy’s friends will realize they have not returned, but first there will be plenty of graduation sex. During the search, time will also be taken to visit a high-end strip club, sort of the way O.J. Simpson would search for a mysteriously missing girlfriend. At least that allows the casting of British pin-up model Joey Fisher as Zala the “exotic dancer.”

As horror films go, Parlor is pretty lame and awfully conventional, especially in the wake of more ambitious releases like It Follows, Spring, and We Are Still Here. This is your basic strap the victims down and go at it kind of exploitation fare. In fact, the narrative is especially weak, forcing characters to do things that make no sense in hindsight, just for the sake of audience misdirection.

Still, one can see why Parlor was conceived as a vehicle for the heavily inked Robert LaSardo. He is certainly distinctive looking and has an intriguing presence. A Navy veteran, LaSardo has also appeared in Touched by an Angel and Ghost Whisperer, so you can’t say he doesn’t have range. He was also in Human Centipede 3, so Parlor isn’t even his worst film. Some up-and-coming genre filmmaker could definitely build a horror franchise around him, but this is not it.

Downs & Gage make an attempt to craft some mythos-backstory, but it never makes much sense. Sensitive viewers should also be warned, the violence gets pretty grisly. Frankly, this film is about as much fun as an infected tattoo needle. Although we might like to see LaSardo in more featured roles, Anarchy Parlor is disappointingly derivative, neither worth recommending to any extent or working up any outrage over. Nevertheless, it opens in select theaters this Friday (6/19).

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