The Horror Honeys: 6 Degrees of whut?

6 Degrees of whut?

A Head Honey Review

6 Degrees of Hell (2012)

From imdb: Six individuals are caught up in a supernatural perfect storm, as an evil lays claim to one of them while threatening to tear apart the soul of a small Pennsylvania town. I'm not sure how much sense this makes in the context of the actual film, but reading it after the fact... I'm still confused. 

The plot(s): 
Now, I say plots because there is literally SO much going on in this film storyline wise that I wasn't exactly sure what the fuck to focus on.  I'm a distracted bunny at the best of times, but I was GENUINELY lost for a large portion of the film, and my ADHD-style notes prove it.  The film opens at a haunted house, which the website tells me is supposed to be an "actual" haunted hotel, which is actually the best detail about the film.  The haunted attraction acts as the catalyst for a demon to enter this plane and wreak some possession style murder, mayhem and havoc, starting with the attraction attendees.

There's also a psychic, some ghost hunters, and a pregnant chick.  Also a zombie.  Yeah.

The 4th Wall:
The website for 6 Degrees of Hell explains that the unique thing about this film is that it focuses on breaking the 4th wall.  The 4th wall is a trope explored in early theatre where a character breaks the imaginary bubble between actors and audience and there is an innate awareness of the fact that "it's all a show." Shakespeare used this concept in almost every play he wrote, using aside and quips that were meant for the audience alone.  My favorite usage of this device is by the devilish Aaron the Moor in Titus Andronicus
Sadly, 6 Degrees of Hell is not Shakespeare.

Having taken the time to read the website and blog and work myself up a bit for this film, I was extremely disappointed that I was left waiting for and LOOKING for that 4th wall breakage until about 20 minutes from the end of the film, which seemed only to manifest in people screaming about the haunted house "not being real"...which hey, fair enough.  As pissy as I was about having to wait around for it, this device always works for me and I actually really enjoyed that screaming.  Halloween is the best time to kill someone and prop the body on your porch; no one would say shit.

The Best Scene:
The utterly incredibly done flashback possession murder of the sister - right down to the shuddering hand over her mouth.  Just.  WOW.

I will ALWAYS lament the fact that readily available/inexpensive stage blood isn't dark enough to be taken seriously by anyone over the age of 20 unless you do some serious doctoring to your mixture.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things:
The Shitter Board - I paused for several minutes to take it all in and make notes.  It's like the board of death in Cabin in the Woods.  13 Hail Mary's (obviously), Evac. recommended for Panic Attacks, and "Notify for kitty litter where needed."

The Artefacts - As a serious collector of fucked up shit, I REALLY enjoyed the attention paid to the set dec.  Creepy dolls, medical equipment, old photographs, skulls, antique reliquaries, yeah...put it all in my house.  Loved it.  I would have loved to have seen these items play a larger role in the story, or one of the stories, or something.  

The Medium - Now this was a story sideline that I wish had gotten more airtime.  Tenderly played by Jill Whelan, I honestly wish that her story was played up to match the amount of dialogue that builds her up to be a great psychic and less about just being able to figure out that a lead character is pregnant.  

Things I Don't "Get":

The American Obsession with "Haunted Attractions" - SERIOUSLY.  What the fuck, America.  I enjoy haunted houses - Y'know, ACTUAL haunted buildings that are full of creepy shit. But paying money to walk through dark spaces full of social rejects in bad makeup (yeah, I said it) who like to jump out and go AAHHH isn't my idea of a thrill.  That's also why Eli Roth's Goretoreum failed miserably.  And yes, I have friends who work at haunts, and I have friends and students who do makeup for haunts, and while I applaud your efforts every Halloween, I don't get it. If ANYONE can explain to me WHY it's such a thing, I'll also ask you to explain the American obsession with rubber masks (and you can't just say Michael Myers and then walk away because I WILL kill you), which I also don't find scary and am genuinely confused about.

Corey Feldman:  Why is he a thing?  I'm going to quote directly from my viewing notes here (ahem):

"How do I NOT get annoyed with Feldman??? GAH"   

"He even has a vaporizer."  


"I want to punch his hair"


Feel free to use any of those quotes.  I stand by them.

Clowns - Someone needs to explain to me why clowns are scary.  Or maybe, why the need was felt to make clowns into scary things.  I know a few individual stories (which are totally legit), but having never had a personal trauma featuring a clown, maybe it's just because I can't identify.  I also don't find clowns funny, just painfully awkward.  Todd McFarlane's Clown in the Spawn comics (and John Leguizamo's amazing performance in that shit storm of a movie) is the closest I've ever seen to a scary clown.  And if anyone wants to discuss John Wayne Gacy and his clown thing, I'm happy to take that elsewhere.

The Honesty:  I don't really take a lot of pleasure in ripping movies apart (OK, that's a baldfaced lie.  Sometimes I REALLY do).  I know how much they cost to make (no matter how crappy), how much time, effort, and literal blood, sweat and tears go into making these things.  Whether they're blazing dumpster fires or amazing works of art, at some point in time, someone loved something about these films and believed they were worth making.  In the case of 6 Degrees of Hell, I know that somewhere in this mess of a film is a love letter to someone's childhood memories and things that they thought were amazing.  The journey of a film from conception to reception is a rocky one.  Ideas change, scripts get revised, revised again, someone asks their sister's boyfriend to be the makeup department key and then someone casts Corey Feldman.

Head Honey Says: Clocking in at about 45 minutes too long for what was actually being expressed as a film,  I was honestly lost in what the actual plot and point of the story was.  With some bright spots in acting (Brian Anthony Wilson), flashes of surprisingly good dialogue (again for Brian Anthony Wilson), and some small homage paid to classic horror films (Dawn of the Dead, Hammer Horror) visible in makeup styling and shot blocking, 6 Degrees of Hell is what I would classify as a good starting point for something more. I'd be more interested to see 6 Degrees of Hell broken down into episodes of something like Supernatural, or a web series that actually pays some attention to the writing and can focus more on the character relationships and development.

The Verdict: 3 eye rolls out of a possible 5