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Hellblock 13
[] Buy posters from this movie
by iF Magazine

"Got a free evening? Of course you do."
3 stars

When you’re not letting the manchowder fly courtesy of the latest Factory 2001 release, how about giving lefty a rest and enjoying a fine Troma feature – let’s make it HELLBLOCK 13.

First thing we’ll do on the way to the video store is throw a brick through the window at Blockbuster. Then we’ll check out the cool ass Mom and Pop video store that only has about a week left to live now that ol’ Blockbuster’s cut off their windpipe. Here we’ll find depression, emaciation and damn it, Jim, HELLBLOCK 13. Before we leave let’s say goodbye to proprietor Grandma Jacobson … oops, don’t think she hears what we’re saying through all her sobbing.

The next thing we’ll do is check out the cover, looks like we’ve got Gunnar “Leatherface” Hansen horror’s favorite Icelander … and what’s this … Debbie Rochon as a featured player in TROMEO AND JULIET, TERROR FIRMER, THE TOXIC AVENGER IV: CITIZEN TOXIC, GLADIATOR EROTICUS and EROTIC SURVIVOR … oh and it looks like the film was directed by somebody named Paul Talbot (FREAKSHOW, CAMPFIRE TALES) … by the way we’re not looking at the cover while we’re driving are we? If so, it is a well-known fact that if you hit someone while reading a DVD cover and driving at the same time you’re exempt from any legal action! That’s true! Look it up!

So we’re home, just me and you, the candles are lit and smooth jazz is coming out of the stereo ... you kinky devil!

After your exquisite meal of macaroni and cheese served with a fine vintage of Maddog 20/20 (label says it expires in 2002). We pop in HELLBLOCK 13 and snuggle.

Turns out HELLBLOCK 13 is one of those crazy horror anthology films everybody’s talking about. It seems that a murderess Tara (Debbie Rochon) is having a conversation with her executioner (Gunnar Hansen) – who apparently has no qualms with violating the confidentiality of his role … this prison must be in Texas. It turns out that she (gasp) believes herself a witch and, much worse, a serious horror writer. The executioner who has nothing but free time decides to give her tales a listen.

Now at this point the film’s tagline proves true – “Once inside you’ll pray for the chair.”

I push myself away from you, your bad taste in films has suddenly caused strain in our relationship.

The first story, Watery Grave, tears its central concept from yesterday’s headlines. A mother kills her two young children in order to be closer to her cad boyfriend. Of course what she doesn’t know – and folks this is common knowledge, so there is no excuse – is that whenever you murder your children they will return from the dead and kill you … duh!

Tara and the executioner appear and after a little thumb breakage lead in to the next lurid tale.

White Trash Love Story, is another tale of revenge gone bad. An abused housewife decides to consult the local witch on how to get rid of her louse husband. The witch gives her a potion to mix which will “eliminate” the problem. Of course there is one thing that must not happen in the preparation of said mixture, and of course it does ... chaos ensues.

More Gunnar and Debbie.

I’m trying the front door, but you’ve locked it. I can’t get out.

Big Rhonda is the tale of a biker gang who have a guardian angel/demon that eliminates undercover cops from their ranks. By the end of the tale it does its job.

Gunnar leaves to prepare for the execution. Debbie reveals that she has a straight razor under her prison dress and before you can say “can we turn this crap off” she’s dead. Of course she writes in blood, before death takes her, “Publish Me.”

These words feel more the plea of the filmmakers then the character we’ve come to love.

There is one more surprise waiting, but to find that out will cost you a rental.

I’ve finally come to my senses, learned to appreciate the fine cheese that is limburger, and am all yours … let’s pop that W.A.V.E. video in next!!!

Now using the keen critical skills we honed in that English course we failed, let’s be Truffaut and “Les Cahiers du Cinema” this crap.

There really is no point in bashing the special effect in a film that cost 7 dollars to make – and that includes coffee and toast for the crew. So you should consider yourself lucky that the transformation that occurs in “White Trash Love Story” which owes quite a bit to the transformation in THE TOXIC AVENGER - Lloyd Kaufman if you read this, sue their asses even though you do distribute this film – is as convincing as it is. You should also thank the stars that the Muppet that plays the part of a reanimated corpse can sort of be interpreted as such if you squint your eyes and drink a lot of liquor beforehand. Please forget the papermache dog corpse and the monsters that look like college kids dressed in masks from the dollar store.

The acting, well if you’ve ever seen Gunnar Hansen act, please contact me through this publication, I’d love to see what it’s like. Debbie Rochon, who can be good (TROMEO AND JULIET) here plays Tara the murderess like that obnoxious Goth chick you knew in high school – complete with overly dramatic actions and an exceptionally cursory knowledge of horror, which really doesn’t chill the heart as much as roll the eyes. The other actors are passable.

The direction by Paul Talbot is as inventive and unique as any episode of FREDDY’S NIGHTMARES.

The DVD release from Troma is but a skeleton of what that label offered before. There is no Tour of Troma, No T.I.T. test, no tongue-in-cheek trailer for the feature, no Tempting Tromabillia, No informative intro by Lloyd ... stop me before I start crying.

All we get is the feature digitally remastered, a smattering of trailers for other Troma features, Interactive scene access and the Radiation March commercial, which has been proven to cause mass suicide in laboratory rats! The presentation is 1:33:1. The sound is fine, the picture clear, no subtitles. The disc plays when you put it in your player. What more can be said.

(Note: for those of you wondering how such a film could have gotten the grade of C-, it is simple in the “White Trash Love Story” segment the following dialogue occurs [paraphrased, of course]:

Wife: I think I’m going to move back in with my mother.

Husband: Oh honey, don’t move next door.

If that isn’t worth a C-, then my college professors passed me for the sex and not my amazing writing skills.

Now let’s cue up the Kraftwerk and dance the night away.-- Andrew Hershberger

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 03/31/01 13:27:15
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User Comments

7/08/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess The stories were cliche, but any film that kills the moralist can't be all bad. 3 stars
2/13/04 Hoagz this film is better than most other troma titles!! 4 stars
1/11/04 Jess Dunning 7 years later, I still smell the gel from underneath the mask. 5 stars
8/03/01 Danny Walsh Excellent Troma movie! 5 stars
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  08-Jan-2000 (R)


  08-Jan-2000 (R)

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