The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at] I'd love to check out what you got.



Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

First and foremost, it appears a dubious site has claimed the old url, meaning any link in any review that goes to the old mattmovieguy url is corrupt. I'm in the process of trying to remove them all, but it's a lot! It's best not to click on any link without hovering over it first to make sure it doesn't have mattmovieguy in the url.

Second, it appears since my last trip to the blog, Photobucket has decided to charge for third party hosting, meaning none of my images are appearing anymore. That's simply an aesthetic issue, but still annoying.

Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

When a Killer Calls (2006)


After The Asylum's solid showing with the horrible yet fun and hilarious Transmorphers, I was excited to give them another shot. I put this flick on my Netflix queue, anticipating a silly throwback to the old slasher films I used to watch with my friends growing up. I was going to watch it myself strictly for a review on the DTVC, but some friends and my roommates were interested, so I screened it in the living room. Bad idea.

When a Killer Calls is a ripoff of When a Stranger Calls, and this DVD's release coincided with the other film's release in the theaters. Anyway, in this one, a girl is babysitting and gets these bad calls. She thinks it's her boyfriend, but it ain't, and people and kids start dropping. Eventually she's the only one standing.


This was atrocious. Not a good atrocious either. It was a big pile of suck. A disgusting pile. One that requires HazMat suits to dispose of. This may be the most depraved sack of asscrack I've seen this side of Pay it Forward. I'm serious about that. I hurt for a good while afterwards. I'm still kind of hurting. And my friends and roommates have barely forgiven me. Not lookin' good, Asylum.

First off, this film depicts the brutal killing of kids. Not cool. For me murdering kids only works at the beginning of a bad action film, and it's up to said bad action film's protagonist to avenge that heinous killing. It never works in a slasher film. It's just gross and weird. Nobody has fun watching children murdered in a movie, it's just not my idea of a way to spend a Sunday night. After the movie was over, I turned on the Making Of short included in the DVD, mostly because my friend and I wanted to see how anyone could come up with something so stupid and hurtful. We had to turn it off, though, when they were interviewing the little girl who was killed while being babysat by the heroine. The guy who played the bad guy was talking to her on camera asking "Now, do you know why I killed you?" And she's like "Because I didn't clean my room?" And he says "No... remember?" It was too much, and my roommates mutinied, making me turn it off. I couldn't blame them. Just disturbing.


Second, there were a lot of atavistic moments that weren't funny or frightening but annoying, gross, and ridiculous. One of the girls (who also stars in Transmorphers... if you can say anyone really stars in a movie like that) is tied up with her shirt off, and the bad guy slashes her twice above her breasts, then covers the open area with Jaegermeister. Why? The girl's boyfriend has his mouth slashed by the bad guy, and for the rest of the movie he's shown with this big, black, nasty gash in his mouth with some teeth missing and whatnot. Not only is it impossible to do that to someone with a knife the way the bad guy did it, but they kept zooming in on the gross spectacle. Again, why?

Third, there wasn't much actual footage filmed for this. Most of it was flashbacks from parts we'd already seen and long shots held on one person. The lead girl is knocked out and tied up by the bad guy. She's shown tied up for maybe 15 minutes-- literally. Not trying to escape or anything like that, just there, tied up. Fifteen minutes. The actual movie couldn't be much longer than 45 minutes-- and that's being generous. I can get behind silliness like that from a bad movie I like, but when it's so depraved like this one is, it annoys me. Who wants to see flashbacks to scenes from earlier that I didn't want to see in the first place.


There was one shining moment here: Frank. Frank was the heroine's boyfriend's friend. Frank was awesome. He had great lines. One of them after his girlfriend asked if he wanted to play a game: "Yeah, let's play Fuck Frank". My roommate was adamant that he wasn't written, but just improv-ing his role. I didn't see that. Frank was a legitimate creation by the screenwriter; a lone bright spot in a dark, dark, evil movie. And, as the saying goes, you can only be a diamond in a sea of shit for so long before you become a shit covered diamond. Frank was killed off before we really got to enjoy him. Quelle une disappointment...

The Asylum is one-for-two, which means they're still at .500. We'll see how they do for the next movie of theirs I'll be screening: Snakes on a Train. Do not, under any circumstances, rent this abomination of film making. I'm giving it my highest condemnation: it makes Manos: The Hands of Fate seem tolerable. I'll have to go through my previous 200 plus posts, but I believe that's a first for The DTVC.

For more info:


  1. You totally should have invited us!! We watched When A Stranger Calls in the theater!!!

  2. Sorry about that. I was planning on watching it myself two Sunday nights ago, and Brett wanted to come over and watch soccer. He expressed an interest in it, and when I asked my roommates if I could use the TV, they wanted in too. Believe me, you really didn't miss much.