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May 20, 2011

Movie Review: Eyes of the Chameleon

So, at first glance, Eyes of the Chameleon really has a lot going against it. First and foremost, it's a Troma release. Gentle reader, you may or may not know this, but Uncle Lloyd has owed me $50 for about ten years now. When you are as broke as I am, that $50 could be a downright windfall. Secondly, I'm not thrilled about the title. It kind of sounds like an episode title for the 1970s Wonder Woman show. As in, watch now as Lynda Carter stars as Wonder Woman in Eyes of the Chameleon! You see what I mean? But, before I even popped the movie in the DVD player, my eyes fell across music to my, well, my eyes... directed by Ron Atkins. Ron FREAKING Atkins. I knew, at that point, that this film was going to be a wetwork-laden freak show... which is a good thing, if you were confused.

Long story short, Ron Atkins is the director of gonzo cult films like Necromaniac, Schizophreniac, Eat the Rich, Mutilation Mile (highly recommended by the way) and many more. So, if you are familiar with Ron's work, get ready. If not, then strap your ass in. I was a little disappointed to see that Ron hadn't written Eyes of the Chameleon as well, being the blubbering fanboy that I am, but I digress.

Our story begins... Sara (writer/star Ann Teal) is a loser bartender in Vegas. She gets hooked up with some cult-thingie and then starts a psychotic downward spiral that sees her friends get bumped off one by one and he own personal safety comprised from the outside (bad guy) and the inside (lots of sex). There is a very nice little twist to the ending that I don't want to give away right now.

The best part, though, is Atkins took what would probably be a decently psychological, no-budget thriller and injected enough stylized lunacy into it to make the film very enjoyable. There is a ton of the wet stuff, a ton of the naked stuff and riddles a plenty. Our lead (Teal) turned in a respectable performance, but the film really works on a different level. My only real complaint is the Dogma95-esque lighting (meaning, sometimes it was really hard to see... but this did not happen often).

Being familiar with Atkins' previous work, one knows his affinity for the exploitation classics. In this case, channeling Giallo Thrillers from days gone by (which explains the title... at least there is no plummage in it), Eyes of the Chameleon delivers the same POV menace that Mario Bava could instill with a single edit.

Troma is a hit or miss company (mainly miss), but this time they've done the right thing. Eyes of the Chameleon is a nudity-filled, blood-soaked romp through the mind of a mad man. I'll give you one guess who that is...

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