Late fee (2009)
Late Fee is a low-budget 2009 horror film released by Shriek Show and was directed by John Carchietta and Carl Morano. John Carchietta previously co-directed the 2007 short documentary The Cult Of Ichi which is about Takashi Miike's cult classic Japanese gangster gore-fest Ichi The Killer. Carchietta also produced films such as The Hills Run Red, Wicked Lake and Shadow:Dead Riot starring Tony Todd. Carl Morano also co-directed The Cult Of Ichi and some various special features on other Shriek Show releases. He also wrote and produced Class Of Nuke 'Em High parts 2 and 3.
The movie Late Fee takes place on Halloween night and begins with a couple going to a video store, or as they're known as these days - a DVD rental store. As they arrive at the door they meet the owner dressed as Satan and closing up for the night. They beg him to let them in to quickly pick out something to rent as they had planned to have a quiet night in watching horror films. Eventually he gives in and lets them in and inside they find a store decorated for Halloween and packed full of people who the owner claims are his close friends there for a private party. After some chat amongst the customers which is really just some shameless promoting of other Shriek Show releases the couple finally pick out two movies to rent. At first the owner is reluctant to rent the couple these particular films but he finally gives in under the strict condition that they return the films that night before midnight. So back at their apartment the couple settle down in their living room to watch the movies. Right away we notice that their living room wall is covered with posters for various films such as Zombi 2, Ichi The Killer, Visitor Q and loads of other Shriek Show and Tokyo Shock releases, some more shameless advertising of their own films. (I was curious as to why they were plugging Tokyo Shock releases and it turns out some of the producers of Late Fee also produced Tokyo Gore Police and The Machine Girl.) When they play the first film "The Pick Up" we get to watch the film as well which makes the couple and the video store story the actual wrap-around story of an anthology movie, similar to Creepshow or the more recent VHS and VHS2. "The Pick Up" begins with a hot leggy blonde (Georgia Kate Haege) walking out of a mansion and is soon picked up by a guy (Chris Cusano) in a car. We soon figure out that she is a feisty hooker and her John is a stuck up prude but it's hard to tell if she is the killer or is it him. When they reach their destination the Starlight Motel they are greeted by an over-enthusiastic motel manager (Srgio Jones) who clearly knows the hooker well and reveals that she's a regular there. Not to give anything away but this tale ends with some cool Japanese style gore and is reminiscent of Tokyo Gore Police. The second film "Damnation" begins with Justine (Kerri Miller) driving down an empty country road during the day when she is suddenly pursued and pulled over by a cop car. A female cop (Georgia Kate Haege again) steps out of the car and marches up to Justine's car looking more like Ilsa:She-Wolf Of The SS than a police officer. (Funnily her character's name is Elsa) Justine is then cuffed, thrown in the cop car and knocked out by injection. She then wakes up in a prison run by a crazy judge/warden (Sergio Jones again), Officer Elsa and a mad doctor (Chris Cusano again). Later on Eugenie,the girl in the cell next to Justine's is brought to the mad doctor for some experimentation in birth control which is a bit too late as Eugenie points out herself since she's about 6 months pregnant. But no, we are then treated to some good old fashioned foetus extraction by what appears to be a reject from one of the Wrong Turn films. The cannibal woman then chows down on the foetus for dinner as she crawls back into her hole. After this Justine is put in a car with some weird guy and brought to a motel room covered in plastic for I presume was either to film porn, snuff or both. Here we meet two other sleazy looking guys and a chainsaw wielding psycho called Satanico. The ending of this story had a couple of twists that made no sense and kind of sucked compared to the first story. So back to the couple who are waiting on a pizza to arrive when they realise it's after midnight. They aren't too worried about this until their pizza arrives with some 'extra' toppings on it, followed by a brick through their window with a warning message attached to it. Finally their door gets kicked in by Satan the video store owner and some of his friends who give them a nice gory death involving their own DVD collection. I can't help but think if Blockbuster were this strict maybe they wouldn't have gone out of business?
As a massive fan of the low-budget cheesy schlock of companies like Troma I really enjoyed Late Fee as it was similar in tone. I found myself mesmerised by Georgia Kate Haege, an actress from either Australia or New Zealand who unfortunately thus far hasn't been in much else but hopefully will in the future. She plays the ultimate bitch so well! Even though there wasn't as much of it as I’d like the gore was great. However I do think the film would've been better if it was based around an actual video store set in the 80s and without all the self-promoting riddled throughout but I guess free advertising is the best kind. And I wish I had discovered this film back in October as it's the perfect Halloween film for anyone looking for something other than, well... Halloween.