The Vault: KOLOBOS

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If I had to choose three subgenres I’d say I’m most fluent in, it would be female-centered exploitation films, films now-famous actors wish they could scrub off their resumes, and late 90s-early 00’s slasher films.  I’ve been fortunate enough to find some crazy gems over the years at my small town thrift shops, but last week’s score was a 1999 film by the name of KOLOBOS.  Judging the film by it’s cover of a port lipped model about to be seemingly attacked by some yellow-eyed beast, I assumed I was going to be in for some weird monster flick.  The title was something I mispronounced until I heard the word spoken in the film, and I’ll admit my boyfriend and I only bought the film because the VHS cover was iridescent.  People can shit on the 1990s for being a lackluster year for horror all they want, it doesn’t change the fact KOLOBOS is freaking awesome.

The film follows the story of a bunch of twenty-something adventure seekers that respond to a newspaper ad and all agree to live in a house together and have their lives recorded for an art documentary.  The story may sound overdone now, but KOLOBOS came out only a few years after the start of MTV’s THE REAL WORLD and was made long before reality television sucked the souls out of everyone with a TV set.  As you can guess, these reality TV contestants aren’t alone in this house and they each start dropping off in a pretty gruesome manner.  KOLOBOS takes the traditional cabin in the woods-esque slasher tropes of the 1980s, but the use of reality television fast tracks it to a film that’s way ahead of its time.  Instead of keeping these teens in a faraway land, they’re trapped in a fancy house in the middle of suburbia.

The leading lady is played by Amy Weber who many may know better as a short lived WWE Diva.  None of the actors in this film are particularly memorable, but the dialogue is way more entertaining than it should.  Whenever they talk, it feels like something Diablo Cody would have written in a high school creative writing class, and that’s a good thing.  One of the characters plays a former indie horror darling and insists that the group watches some of her old movies.  This proves to be a genius move on behalf of the filmmakers because an underscore of screams and scary music is justifiably coursing throughout the film.  Our killer is a man without a face, and it’s one of the better faceless makeup jobs I’ve ever seen, which is surprising considering this film couldn’t have been made for any more than the cost of a laptop computer.  Is the film great? No. But it’s really entertaining.

KOLOBOS is not without its surprise ending and it’s got a really interesting use of POV in the beginning, but I can’t understand how this film didn’t make the rounds as strongly as some of the other duds of 1999.  If you see this somewhere, take it home and enjoy yourself.

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