‘Making movies can be murder’
Effects is a 1979 American horror-thriller film about a deranged director who is trying to make a snuff film on the set of genuine movie.
Written and directed by Dusty Nelson (Necromancer), based on a novel by William H. Mooney.
The movie stars horror FX maestro Tom Savini (From Dusk Till Dawn; Night of the Living Dead ; Dawn of the Dead), Joe Pilato (Day of the Dead), and John Harrison (Tales from the Darkside: The Movie).
A filmmaker (John Harrison) is making a low budget horror movie in rural Pennsylvania. During the course of production, the cinematographer (Joseph Pilato) and a female gaffer (Susan Chapek) begin to enter into a romantic relationship.
Unbeknownst to the pair, the film’s director is secretly making a snuff documentary with an unwilling cast and crew…
In the US, Effects was released on Blu-ray on August 22, 2017, via American Genre Film Archive (AGFA). It was transferred in 4K from the only 35mm print in existence. Charles Forsman designed the reversible artwork above. Special features:
Audio commentary with John Harrison, Dusty Nelson, and Pasquale Buba
After Effects making-of documentary with optional commentary track
Ubu and Beastie short films
Liner notes by Joseph A. Ziemba of AGFA
In the UK, AGFA has partnered with 101 Films to release Effects on Blu-ray on 21st February 2022.
” …the “real” activities are seemingly being guided by an off screen presence instructing certain characters what to do – a sort of Survivor for horror geeks. This gives the film a certain grandeur belied by its meager budget; it also has a discombobulating effect – purposeful, and not due to any continuity or story issues one would normally associate with a low budget effort.” Daily Dead
” …the film plays like a good example of the (then-waning) grindhouse era, mixing violence and sexy bits to hang them up on a rather thin storyline […] And while the film isn’t perfectly structured by any means, it does feature a highly original and rather exciting finale, plus in a macabre way it does anticipate today’s fascination with reality TV.” Search My Trash
“The multi-layered script must have been good for everyone to jump onboard with good intentions, but what results on-screen is only half-successful. Approaching subject matter like a snuff film, which is surefire exploitation material, writer/director Dusty Nelson seems instead interested in creating a “what is real, what is fantasy?” mindf*ck for the audience.” DVD Drive-In
“I really enjoyed Effects up to a point. I loved how director Dusty Nelson got you wrapped up in the minutia of low budget filmmaking. Having been on a few film sets before, a lot of what I saw rang true. In fact, once the “plot” involving snuff films kicks in (about an hour into the movie), it actually kinda ruins everything.” The Video Vacuum
” …though the Pittsburgh-based production is of interest, utilizing several George Romero regulars on the technical side […] the film itself lacks any sense of the dramatic.” Phil Hardy (editor), The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror
Shot in 1978, the film received its world premiere at the King’s Court movie house in Pittsburgh on November 9, 1979. The film was signed up by International Harmony and received a limited distribution before the company went bankrupt.
In October 2005, Effects received an official DVD release by Synapse Films.
Also known as The Manipulator.