Death Rattle LSD is one of the latest films from extreme exploitation filmmaker Ron Atkins (Schizophreniac, Cuckoo Clocks of Hell) and, in all reality, it is his most autobiographical one. Now, not in the sense that he caused co-star Lawrence Bucher (Mutiliation Mile) to nutbag psycho, get hopped up on the titular recreational drug, and kidnap, rape and kill some folks… although I wouldn’t put it past him. When I say autobiographical I mean an exploration of filmmaking, Atkins particular brand of filmmaking, and its affect not only on the viewer but on the performers themselves. Although I doubt Atkins wants to be considered mainstream, this is his entry in the meta-horror field of films. Death Rattle LSD is self aware.
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This film is different, though. We’ve seen Atkins take on exploitive true crime in Mutilation Mile very effectively and the Harry Russo films are gems, but this film is a bit more sinister than those. Even with Mutilation Mile there was a sense of escapist fun involved… but not here. A lot of that goes to the uber-intense performance of Lawrence Bucher. Playing the role of a struggling actor isn’t difficult (for some of us) but Bucher turns on the heat during his scenes struggling with inner demons and when dealing with those that have ‘wronged’ his character. There are moments when the scenery chewing is just obnoxious, but they are few and, overall, Bucher’s performance is highly effective. If it weren’t, the film would fail miserably because his character is the driving force behind it.
I recommend Death Rattle LSD to anyone willing to delve into the darker side of independent filmmaking. It isn’t for the weak at heart.