This week’s B-Movie Enema article comes from our neighbors to the north. Kenneyville is an interesting piece of independent media. I am going to label it as a horror movie because I think it deals with some concepts that some indie horror movies of the 70s dealt with. However, I also have to label it as exploitation as well – for the exact same reasons.
Let’s dissect that a bit, shall we?
A couple months back, I covered the infamous depravity known as Bloodsucking Freaks. I explored some of the core concepts that lies under the surface of cruelty and violence toward women in particular, and, to a certain extent, elitist scholars. It’s a movie about a guy who twists brains and drives women to insanity to do his bidding. I posited that the movie featured a more violent side of sexual kink. A desire to dominate and control as well as the attractiveness of twisting a submissive object of desire. Bloodsucking Freaks possesses layers of making you feel icky.
Well, this week, Kenneyville has a similar angle that it takes toward that particular control kink that plays out in a slightly different way. If you visit particular, um, sites, you probably don’t get too far before you venture into your particular, er, likes. You know, you will probably find yourself exploring your particular kinks. And, hey, I’m not here to kink shame or nuthin’. Whatever you’re into is fine by me – feet, big black dick, cake farts, humiliation, diaper play, whatever. It’s cool. But if you are into the more vanilla to the slightly more kinky stuff like your BDSM or the more obscure, but quite vibrant, hypno-kink communities, then you have likely come across Kenneyville even if you didn’t know what it was.
There’s one particular scene that we’ll be getting to in a bit that features our main villain Adrian (played by Michael Scratch) and our main damsel in distress Kelly/Megan (yes, that’s two names and I’ll explain later, but this part is played by Vanessa Broze) that features her being conditioned by Adrian under a helmet and basically being brainwashed into being a government assassin. That speaks to a lot of fantasy in the kinks of people into that mind control/hypnosis fetish world. It partially comes from the very true MK-Ultra stories that were revealed over the decades (which also fuels a lot of present-day conspiracy theory) as well as those more science fiction/cartoony use of brainwashing, mental conditioning, and hypnosis that a lot of the kids of Gen-X were growing up watching. I mentioned that in the Bloodsucking Freaks article as well.
I wanted to connect those dots. The reason why is that while Bloodsucking Freaks goes with the extremely violent, over the top, and quite disturbing and distasteful side of sexual assault and torture, Kenneyville here deals with the same kinds of ideas in a more fantastical way that you’d likely be able to get your partner to role play with you if the two (or more I suppose) of you are into that sort of thing. This movie was written by Vincent Galvez and director Brooks Hunter. I’m curious if this is a bit revealing to either a kink by one or both of them or interest in the old MK-Ultra stories or maybe even both. Either which way, we’ll surely be talking about this in further detail as we begin to unwrap this onion and reveal a lot of various comparisons to Bloodsucking Freaks as well as a couple other exploitation flicks as well.
Alright, so away we go. The movie opens with what appears to be some guy getting yelled at by a woman while she paws at him going on about being family and stuff. She plans to stick him with a needle full of something to make him “feel real nice”. He clearly does not want this. He says something about how they have kidnapped one too many girls and something had to be done about it. We lead into the credits while we see weird clips of science things and mannequins while intercut wtih various roads being traveled in Canada.
The credits end and smash cut to a woman on the news talking about tensions in the Middle East rising as Iran is beginning to produce unacceptable amounts of weapons grade uranium. It is also stated that despite the United States being gung ho (of course), Canada is not interested in getting involved. As the camera pans away, it moves across several missing notices of mostly women, and some pretty scary looking people in wanted pictures as well. On the desk of Patrick Kennedy (played by Dany Gehshen), we see the missing bulletin of a woman named Kim Browning.
In walks Patrick’s partner, Megan Desmond (Broze). She says that that something is up at a company named Kontek. She called and asked questions about Kim and they never heard of her despite, apparently, they should have. Patrick is already hip to this kookiness of Kontek by saying that, while looking at the company’s shipping manifest, he sees they ship things to every major city in North America like Toronto, Washington, New York, etc., but they also had a shipment to a town in northern Ontario called Kenneyville. This seems to be a very odd thing to stick out among these major metropolitan places because, his words not mine, Kenneyville is like a podunk bum-fuck Ontario know-nuthin’ town.
Okay, those were my words, not his.
Patrick comes up with the idea that they go undercover to Kenneyville to snoop around. As they are, indeed, snoops. Patrick says that Kim’s family has paid them more than enough for them to hold off on any other investigations and run off to this shithole town. He mentions they can go undercover as a couple with Megan taking the name of Kelly and Patrick taking the name of Charlie. Now… question. Assuming these people are good private dicks, but maybe not, you know, world famous, would they need to assume different names? Even if they are “Ontario famous”, do they necessarily need to come up with different names? Is this some sort of subtle subtext of subversion to say that they are playing different roles to uncover a plot that turns people into different people to become assassins or something?
Either way… We’re less than ten minutes in and we see that these two people are investigators, looking for a woman, getting paid well enough to go undercover and not take any other cases currently, and that while they are posing as boyfriend and girlfriend on a hiking trip, they also seem to have a little bit of romantic chemistry already. Okay. Got it. We’re good.
Also, Vanessa Broze is very cute.
Now, here’s where we get into our first exploitation trope. “Charlie” parks the car on the side of the road so he and “Kelly” can look less suspicious as hikers that happen upon the town. As they walk down the street, they approach two people who are just kind of hanging out on the side of the road. It is a blonde woman with cocaine eyes and a vaguely Asian looking gentleman. The guy is just kind of an affable goofball really. He seems friendly enough even though he is part of some fucked up shit. He at least doesn’t look like he is moments away from stealing your kidneys while you sleep. The lady with the cocaine eyes though…
You run the fuck away from this. You run far far away. I mean first, spend a second wondering if she would rock your world because eyes like that don’t lie, but run. Run fast. Run hard. She will harvest your body parts. Shit, she’d sell just one of your testicles for a cigarette. You have many body parts and she has many, many addictions.
So these people are just chilling on the side of the road and Charlie and Kelly approach. The affable goofy dude is named Ben. He says the other woman is his sister Victoria.
I’m-a have to assume they are half siblings. Also, guys, run. Mirror universe Stevie Nicks is about to harvest your ass. Anyway, Ben and Victoria offer to bring Kelley and Charlie back to their place for beers. Kelly doesn’t like this idea because I assume she understands the score with Victoria, but Charlie insists that they could use a drink.
Victoria calls a suspicious looking guy to say that they may have a good looking girl available. He tells her to call another dude to take care of the situation. Hours pass and shit gets weird. It’s night, and Ben is telling a story about getting his ass beaten like “when a dude beats another dude for having sex with his woman” and that’s weird. Ben offers up a joint and, again, Charlie is like, “Hell yeah!” even though Kelly is like, “Hell no! These people are fucking weird, man!” Victoria calls a guy named Marshall and has a fight with Ben about how she seems to be a little too into this little business they have and he’s not really feeling it anymore.
But it’s maybe too late because Marshall has shown up. This motherfucker is that guy that is friends with one of your friends and in every situation you don’t want him to be there, he’s always there. You go to a bar and spot a girl that you really think you’d like to go up to and have a chat. You’re pretty sure she’s in your league, and you think you have things in common. Besides, you’re both wearing geeky Star Trek shirts or something. Anyway, this is the type of guy who would be there talking about how much he got screwed over for a promotion because his co-worker is black. You are at your wedding to another girl (because Star Trek t-shirt girl was no longer an option thanks to Marshall), and he decides to tell your fiance’s mom how much he likes to crank it to Swank. In the middle of the service. He’s the guy that, when you’re on your honeymoon with yet another girl (because options 1 and 2 are completely gone thanks to him), happens to show up at the little New Zealand beachfront bar, somehow, and tells your new wife how you and he went to Boys Town in Mexico and got confused as to which one of you fucked the donkey show stripper. On stage.
In short, he’s all these things and worse. He also has a gross situation on the back of his head. I also hope that is makeup and not the actor’s scar tissue or some other medical condition that is truly unfortunate. He comes in, beats the shit out of Charlie (and Ben for trying to help Charlie), and just up and steals Kelly.
Anyway, Kelly’s loaded up, but before Marshall and Victoria made off with her Ben grabbed some sort of “package” that Marshall was carrying for this mysterious Adrian guy. So Marshall and Victoria play up that exploitation concept of the unassuming locals who might just be local weirdos but definitely look nefarious as all get out. Remember, Victoria will harvest your body parts. Marshall is that friend of a friend that somehow ruins your whole life. That’s something like your Texas Chainsaw Massacre thing where you see weirdos in a place you are not familiar with or an outsider to and they are not as harmless as they don’t look. It’s not just TCM that this trope played into during the heyday of exploitation horror/thriller flicks. It’s the easiest one to point to with that comparison.
Shit, even when Charlie goes to a local shitkicker bar to get help from the cops, a rando comes up and immediately wants to fuck Charlie up for being a stranger and claiming Marshall roughed him up.
This guy clearly has a short fuse because Charlie’s bleeding from the head and asking for help. This guy has a shirt that makes me uncomfortable because the back says “GENOCIDE” and I don’t know if it is something that ties it all together or if it is a shitty racist shirt to prove he’s a bad dude. Either way, this guy has issues. Charlie gains a friend, though, who helps him out of this scenario. This new friend of Charlie’s has the lowdown on what’s going on here in Kenneyville and it’s one of those “if you wanna see your girlfriend again, you gotta trust me” situations.
Speaking of, Marshall and Victoria deliver Kelly to Adrian. He’s talking to a familiar face – Kim. Kim’s been turned into a smiling idiot. Adrian is talking to her, asking her questions, etc. Basically, he just finished scrambling her skull eggs and now he is checking in on the progress she’s made. Of course, as she walks by Kelly on the way out of the shitty dungeon room that makes up this part of Adrian’s compound, Kelly is pretty darn sure that is that Kim lady she’s been looking for. The good news is she found her. The bad news is, her skull eggs are a little too cooked.
This portion of the movie makes me think of another exploitation movie – Terror Circus (or Nightmare Circus or Barn of the Naked Dead). In that movie, you’ve got Andrew Prine as a psycho who picks up women on the side of the road, in particular, as we see in the early parts of that movie, three showgirls on their way to Vegas. He says he can help, but he just chains them up in a barn and forces them to perform dangerous circus acts or be tortured and/or killed if they disobey. I think the general dirtiness of the setting that Adrian uses for these women makes me think of them basically being shackled in a shed or barn. It dances along the edges of a women in prison exploitation flick, but it’s mostly torture porn – without the grossness of the early 2000s gory flicks like Hostel or what have you. I get that very heavy influence there, but it also feels like Bloodsucking Freaks and, to maybe a lesser extent, Isla, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks. Hey! Also, there’s a touch of the flavor of Two Female Spies in Flowered Panties too.
Okay, so this new friend of Charlie’s, Donovan, explains that he knows what goes on in town and what is likely to befall Kelly. He has just enough knowledge for Charlie to help save Kelly. Donovan scolds Charlie for putting her into trouble over assuming that people like Ben and Victoria were good people. He tries to impress upon the city slicker that things aren’t normal out in the sticks. You can’t just assume people are what they appear to be.
Meanwhile, back at Adrian’s prison barn, Adrian isn’t so happy that Marshall didn’t kill Charlie. And he is really upset at Ben for taking the item that he nabbed earlier. He gives the order to kill Ben. He then locks Kelly up in one of the dungeon shed’s cells. At Donovan’s place, things are getting a tad hairy…
The guy with the shirt that makes me somewhat uncomfortable shows up to kill Donovan and Charlie. Donovan shoots the dude and he falls out of the upstairs window. The next morning, Ben is still on the run with the “item”. Marshall is on the lookout for him. And poor Kelly has had probably no sleep whatsoever.
Adrian comes to see Kelly and he explains that he will have her out of there in no time at all. He also apologizes for Marshall being so Marshall, but I dunno… That doesn’t make it any better after he continuously fucks with your life. Kelly begs to be let go swearing that she won’t say anything to anyone. Adrian cuts the duct tape from her wrists and ankles and tells her to follow him.
Meanwhile, Donovan and Charlie find Ben. They chase him out behind some sort of derelict factory making Canadian things. Charlie begs Ben to help. He says he took the item from Marshall so Adrian can’t finish the terrible shit he’s gonna do to Kelly. He’s just about to explain everything when he gets sniped by Marshall. So now Marshall is chasing Donovan and Charlie. Donovan shoots Marshall in the leg and Charlie does what we all would like to the Marshalls in our lives, he starts kicking him while he’s down. When he says something lewd about Kelly and calls Charlie a pussy, Charlie shoots him. They take the crate and beat cheeks.
Back at Adrian’s, he offers Kelly some water. To prove the water isn’t all fucky, he opens it up and takes a sip. He then offers her a second bottle that is likely very loaded with ruffies. He invites her into the house for some breakfast, but she takes off running like Herschel Walker. She gets to about the 10 yard line and gets tackled hard by Victoria who then commits some unnecessary roughness by punching Kelly a couple times. A weird scary zombie lady stumbles around the treeline on the property too. Not sure what that is, but it was kind of creepy.
While in the house, Kelly goes to use the bathroom and has a trip. She everything looks weird and moves in super fast speed and funky edits and stuff. I don’t know what any of it means, but I’m not sure she ever makes it to the bathroom. When she comes back downstairs, Kelly is a little loopy and starting to dangerously cross over into smiling idiot territory. She’s then force fed some milky shit. I guess that’s the beginning of the procedure that Kelly is going to go through.
After Donovan and Charlie figure out what’s in the package Ben took off with, Donovan says that he knows this Adrian Black dude is kidnapping girls and brainwashing them to be sex slaves. He doesn’t know what Ben meant when he said something about “killing”. Now the clock is ticking extra fast for the guys because it’s not going to be long before Adrian starts in on Kelly.
And, sure enough, we’ve reached the part of the movie that will either make or break it for you for the rest of the movie.
Up to this point, it was standard exploitation fair. Guy kidnaps women, maybe drugs them, they turn into smiling idiots, and they are sold off or whatever. There’s Victoria who will harvest your shit. There’s Africa skull guy and Marshall that make you remember all those assholes you’ve had to put up with in your life. But when the chips are down, this is what you have – a guy doing bad stuff to one of our protagonists and two more protagonists are chasing after him. With 36 minutes to go, now you’re going to have to decide if what you’re going to see for the rest of the movie and the science (fiction) of it all has room in the exploitation movie you are currently watching.
We’ve reached the Saturday morning cartoony stuff. Now, I’m not going to say this isn’t going to work for anyone. Some people are going to dig the headset followed by Adrian removing her shirt and kissing her while she giggles and smiles lovingly at him. It takes the movie to a different place, but is it okay with you? This is the stuff of roleplay for young lovers. It then goes yet another level of this sci-fi stuff when Adrian drills into her head and injects what he calls an “accelerator” directly into her brain. This is some serious Dr. Mindbender stuff. A little Saturday morning action cartoon stuff mixed with that thing in “The Best of Both Worlds” when the Borg stick that needing into Picard’s brain.
Donovan and Charlie arrive at Adrian’s and set up their plan to infiltrate. Charlie, an idiot, decides to go in literally guns a-blazin’. Donovan plans to follow, but has to take on evil Stevie Nicks. He asks where Kelly is. She says she’s dead. Victoria then punches him in the dick and knocks him out. Inside the house, Charlie finds Kim. He tries to talk to her, but she just laughs at him and acts like a 12 year old. She tells him that Kelly is in the shed. Meanwhile, we get an extended look at that stuff from the cold opening. It was Victoria speaking to Donovan. She then beats the shit out of him.
Charlie finds Kelly, but… Okay, let me talk about this for a minute. I’ve been calling them Kelly and Charlie because that is what everyone is saying and calling them. Because that was their undercover names, remember? Their real names are Megan and Patrick. When Charlie/Patrick is sneaking around looking for Kelly/Megan in the shed, he keeps saying, “Kelly! Kelly!” When he sees her he’s like, “Oh Kelly! I’m glad I found you! You… uh… you wanna roleplay that one thing with you in that chair and shit from earlier? I bought a brand new Oculus! That would look pretty close!”
But seriously, why is he calling her Kelly still? That’s not who they are. He should be asking others about Kelly and calling out “Megan” when he’s done with the strangers. Oh fuck it. He finds her, she tells him to run, Adrian attacks.
He wakes up strapped to the dining room table, Donovan tied up and gagged too, and Kelly all dolled up. Adrian says some shit about freeing Kelly from the shitty fake reality of her old life, but she’s her true self now. Still… I suppose things could be worse.
A little later, Adrian is met by an army dude. The army dude is looking forward to seeing a demonstration of Adrian’s goods and stuff. He takes him into the shed and shows off that there were some women that were failed attempts and rejects, but I guess he keeps them around specifically for him to show them off in this scene because we’ve neither heard nor seen them before this army dude is here. It could just be women from town he paid to have something to show as being hard work and having some bad results and some that just like to scream at him and shit. I dunno. He takes him into the main area of the barn where Kelly is perched in the rafters like a… a… Like a sniper maybe? A super sexy sniper?
And then there’s everyone else here for the demonstration with Charlie and Donovan to be used in the test.
However… And maybe this is just me, but if I was the army dude, I’d see Victoria over there and would be left with many questions.
My questions would be up to and including:
- Is she okay?
- Will she possibly try to eat my ear and/or insides?
- She twitches a lot. Are you sure she’s okay?
- Has she seen her reflection in a “Landslide”?
- Is she planning to start her own Tex Mex restaurant in Arizona?
Basically, Adrian is making assassins that will serve in this escalating issue in the Middle East. He says to Charlie that Kelly is no longer the person he knew. If she and/or Kim are on a mission and they are captured, they will never give up secrets no matter the pain or torture they may go through. He also reveals that as long as they take these pills once a day, they will always remain in this suggestible state. Adrian then orders Kim to use a straight razor and kill Charlie. He ducks and dodges and his ropes are cut by the blade. He has Adrian untie Donovan and they plan to leave. However, Victoria attacks and Charlie kills her. Then Donovan shoots the army man, then Kim (oops, I guess they may need to refund her parents that private dick deposit), and then Adrian. Kelly then nearly attacks, but Charlie knocks her out.
They leave without freeing the others in the barn like the swell dudes they are. The last several minutes of the movie are Donovan and Patrick hiding out with KMegan as she detoxes. The connections run deep as the trio are now deemed murderers of a “beloved” Kenneyville local and five others. We also get some insight on the government work to make the assassins and how they are on the look out to find and kill the fugitives. Eventually, Megan snaps out of the mental conditioning and we’re left wondering if this movie only took place over like 2 days or several days?
There’s a much better alternate ending to this movie. In the scene that Adrian was having her sex up Charlie on the table, he gives her a sword to kill Charlie. She instead uses it to kill Adrian. We then see her, Charlie, and Donovan escaping and driving away. She is apparently unfazed and completely unchanged by Adrian’s mental conditioning. As they drive away happy and victorious, things get a little weird…
That’s a cool dissolve. It then goes back to Adrian’s. He and Victoria are cleaning up the place after she killed Patrick and Donovan. It’s apparently either a simple misdirect for us or what she is dreaming about while she sleeps. It’s a much better ending than what we got, but it isn’t very happy I suppose. I am curious when this other ending was shot. Vanessa Broze looks a little different than she did in the original ending. Even Dany Gehshen looks a little differently as Patrick. Was this an earlier scene shot or was it shot later as a possible alternate ending to include on the DVD or possibly second guessing themselves a bit? I dunno. It doesn’t have the same feel as the rest of the movie.
I’m not sure how I feel about this movie. It’s nowhere near as brutal as Bloodsucking Freaks or some of the other exploitation classics I mentioned previously, but it is certainly not for everyone or the faint of heart either. It’s more psychological in both the subject of the movie and the effect it can have on the viewer, but that doesn’t make it a higher form of cinema either. The larger story of the brainwashed assassins feels so shoehorned in but it is also the very central element of the antagonist’s purpose in the movie. Maybe it was meant to be sex slaves or something but it was decided that maybe that’s not such a great idea in 2011. I really cannot tell you.
Then, it’s not well acted. Michael Scratch is good as Adrian. I don’t know if Scratch has that tick in his face or if it was just something he added to the part, but it was effective. Some of these folks might be solid actors on their own right and the performances is a result of maybe not so great directing. Either way, it doesn’t exactly help the movie.
Anyway, let’s talk about what we’ve got going on between now and next week! Tomorrow, come here to http://www.bmovieenema.com and check out episode #6 of B-Movie Enema: The Series. This week, I’m going back to another one of the very earliest articles of B-Movie Enema with The Teacher! Then, next Friday, we’ve got to prepare for a very savage weekend with, um… Savage Weekend! Be sure to check that out! Until then, don’t go hiking in northern Ontario with your cutie partner. Things might get real weird.