So, one day, I was scanning through Youtube, watching trailers for horror movies, trying to decide what I was going to watch next. Netflix had run it's course months ago and, after watching a movie called "Black Water Vampire, I was sure the horror genre was in the toilet. When I came across a trailer for a little indie movie called "The Orphan Killer".
The trailer showed quite a bit of violence, some crazy special effects and what everyone needs in a horror movie, a hot blonde chick.
The movie begins with, what actually turns out to be one of the last parts of it. A woman, scantily clad and coated in blood is crawling away from someone on a roof top. He's brandishing an axe, and his face is covered with a mask, that is covered with blood and gore from what one can only assume is- previous kills. And he's limping pretty well, so one can only guess she laid a beating on him.
The woman, Audrey, gets grabbed by the ankle and spun around on her back. He places the axe head on her throat and stares down at her, she looks up at him, and gasping for breath spits out, "I've known since birth."
He wails out loudly and brings the axe above his head, swinging it downward towards her head. And we cut to the credits.
I don't want to give away too much about the plot of this hidden gem of the horror world. But this writer has got to admit that writer/director/star Matt Farnsworth has introduced one of the best slashers to hit the horror world since Adam Green brought us the unforgettable Victor Crowley.
Marcus Miller a.k.a. The Orphan Killer, and his sister (who we later find out is Audrey) were orphaned at a young age when their parents were brutally murdered in a home invasion. They are shipped off to an orphanage where she gets off to a good start. Getting along well, Marcus on the other hand is abused by the nuns for acting out repeatedly, so much in fact that they make him wear a mask as part of his punishment for being bad. As his need for violence escalates, his mask wearing becomes a near permanent thing.
Fast forward a few years, and no longer little Marcus, played superbly by David Backus, is one of the baddest mothers I've ever seen on the screen. His anger comes out with each swing of his chosen weapon. He destroys everyone he touches. The best part about this particular evil doer, is unlike the killers before him, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Leatherface... Marcus Miller speaks. He lets the watcher know exactly what his intentions are, bad. And he lets you know that he really despises his lovely sister for making a life and forgetting about him in that nun ran house of lies and abuse.
To me, Marcus Miller is a combination of a lot of my favorite slasher's of the 80's and 90's. But on a completely different level. To quote a review on Dread Central, "I've never seen anyone swing an axe this hard, or with such bad intentions, as this new serial killer,". There's just something mortally evil about Miller. But you can't help but feel a little bit of empathy for him considering what he went through while he was younger.
The knocking of the catholic church, and the inclusion of priests and pedophiles are taken to another level here to, with Marcus exacting his revenge on a particular vicar by removing two of his tools of the pervert trade. You can't perv on someone if you can't touch them.
Audrey, played by the smouldering Diane Foster, who is one of the feistiest scream queens that I have seen since Nancy Thompson refused to give in to Freddy Krueger's charms in A Nightmare on Elm Street. She proves to be quit the adversary for her big brother, taking him to the limit and back to again with her determination not to die.
Director Farnsworth even makes an appearance as Det. Mike Hunt... Get it... Mike Hunt... anyone remember Porky's? Huh? Anyone? Ahhhh... bite me. :)
Back to Miller, the monster on screen is only as good as the man who plays him, David Backus plays Marcus Miller with a passion and fever that can only be matched by, in this writers opinion, Kane Hodder when he played Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood. You can just feel the tension exuding from him everytime he appears on the screen. And the torturous ways that he kills his victims leaves nothing to the imagination. I read a quote somewhere, I think it was IMDb that stated that "David is a menacing presence and is sure to be the Robert England of the 21st century,". And I have no trouble believing that what so ever.
The writer, Farnsworth, who penned another one of my favorite movies, Iowa, a rarely seen gem that also stars Foster, Backus, Rosanna Arquette, Michael T Weiss, Muse Watson and John Savage, to name a few. It to is a great movie. But, for me, it didn't leave the lasting impression that The Orphan Killer did.
From beginning to end, Farnsworth takes you on a hellacious roller coaster ride that's not for the weak stomached or faint hearted, as Marcus Miller slices and dices his way into horror history as, not only a force to be reckoned with, but a future horror icon in my opinion. Total kudos to Farnsworth for having the balls to make a film that pushed the limits. That kicked total ass. And that, somehow, managed to get banned in Germany!!! The land of poo and pee porn banned a horror flick... how's that for standards, eh? But none the less it gave The Orphan Killer some street cred. Come on, what horror fan doesn't want to see a banned movie, even if it's not banned in your own country, it's still banned somewhere.
There are a few downfalls to the movie. But like most low-budget fares, they all have a problem of two here or there. But when you get introduced to as violent a person as Marcus Miller, you tend to take the shortcomings as they come along, and just enjoy it for what it is, horror art.
With a huge Facebook and Twitter following (I myself am a proud #Brother of @TOK_Family) this movie has reached a success that I bet Matt Farnsworth himself couldn't have dreamed possible. As a horror fan, I walked away from watching this with a smile on my face, and a new horror icon that I can wake up in the middle of the night screaming about.
On another note, if your into heavy metal, metalcore, and some damn good screaming, the soundtrack to this movie is phenomenal. With songs by First Blood, Affiance, Born of Osiris, and Asking Alexandria, it's a hard and heavy marathon of screaming, pounding drums, and strong guitar riffs that add a certain terror to the character of Marcus Miller.
I'm going to end this article, but before I do, I've included that trailer to this fine horror flick that is definitely a nod to the classics in the genre, but also something new, bold, and totally disturbing beyond all belief.
I'd like to close with a line from one of the near-end sequences that is burned into my mind forever. Marcus has his Audrey chained up, he's placed and dug a barb wire crown of thorns into her scalp and forehead, blood is trickling down her cheeks, he looks her in the eyes and holds a pair of scissors to her mouth and says
Audrey's excuse: "I was only 5."....
For more information on this great installment in what I hope is a long series of movies check out @TOK_Family, @Mattfaarnsworth, @dieannfoster and @Theorphankiller on Twitter.