'Anarchy Parlor': Film Review
Hapless tourists fall victim to a diabolical tattoo artist who skins his subjects alive in Devon Downs and Kenny Gage's horror film.
Neither the Lithuania tourist board nor the owners of tattoo parlors worldwide are likely to be thrilled with Kenny Gage and Devon Downs' slice of torture porn set in the picturesque city of Vilnius. Concerning a gaggle of young, well-toned tourists who fall prey to a diabolical tattoo artist — he calls himself "Artist" for short — Anarchy Parlor is a low-rent horror film only notable for the genuinely creepy performance by Robert LaSardo in the central role.
You'll recognize LaSardo even if you don't know the name. The lean, bald, character actor, heavily inked in real life, has 110 acting credits on his IMDB resume, including a recurring role on the television series Nip/Tuck, and was recently seen as part of the "human centipede" in the third installment of that egregious trilogy. This film offers him the rare opportunity of a leading role, and he makes the most of it.
The simple plotline finds the six tourists, who might as well have the word "victim" written on their foreheads, partying the night away in a crowded nightspot. Two of them, Brock (Ben Whalen) and Amy (Tiffany DeMarco) decide to visit a nearby tattoo parlor — the former because he wants to get down and dirty with Artist's sexy apprentice, Uta (Finnish model and real-life tattoo artist Sara Fabel, whose body is a walking advertisement for her services), and Amy because, well, she wants to get a tattoo.
But as anyone who saw Hostel and its endless imitators can attest, the pair should have checked out a few Yelp reviews before patronizing this particular establishment. Brock, and eventually several of his fellow travelers, winds up getting skinned alive by the soft-spoken Artist who periodically interrupts his horrific decorticating to deliver erudite lectures about the medical properties of skin and the history of flaying through the ages. Hey, you can't say the film isn't educational.
The filmmakers clearly relish the opportunity to showcase the art of flaying in all its gory detail — props to special makeup effects artist Christina Kortum — as well as, strangely enough, the periodic bladder emptying by the hapless subjects. When that isn't being displayed, sex is, and lots of it, with the randy tourists seizing every opportunity for energetic humping. Fortunately for the target audience, much of the exposed female skin is still on its owners' voluptuous bodies.
We eventually learn the reason for the Artist's unique method, and a few narrative twists are thrown in for good measure. But the film is otherwise wholly generic, with its one-note characterizations, profanity-laden dialogue and generally amateurish performances relegating it to strictly bargain-basement status.
Cast: Robert LaSardo, Sara Fabel, Jordan James Smith, Ben Whalen, Claire Garvey, Anthony Del Negro, Beth Humphries, Joey Fisher, Tiffany DeMarco
Directors/screenwriters: Devon Downs, Kenny Gage
Producers: Bill Ceresia, Brett Donowho, Thomas Mahoney, Andrew Pagana, Todd Slater
Executive producer: Tony Distefano
Director of photography: Edd Lukas
Editor: Ralph Jean-Pierre
Composer: Adrianna Krikl
Not rated, 99 min.