“PARLOR” (Screamfest Movie Review)


In this mostly miserable mash-up between MIAMI INK and HOSTEL, a group of drunk, horny teens living it up in Lithuania fall prey to a tattooed madman and his evil assistant. Pretty much anyone who’s seen a horror movie knows that an Eastern European Bloc party is not going to end well… and of course, that’s what we’re hoping for when the lights in the theater go down. But when it doesn’t start well, that’s trouble. 

We meet our cookie cutter casualties shaking things up in a dirty dance club.  Amy (Tiffany DeMarco), Kevin (Anthony Del Negro), Jesse (Jordan James Smith), Brock (Ben Whalen), Kelly (Claire Garvey) and Stephanie (Beth Humphreys) are drinking up and hooking up when they’re lured away from the dance-floor by an inked and insolent stranger named Uta (Sara Fabel). The bottle-blonde bitch leads them to The Parlor, where she works as the apprentice to the greatest tattoo artist in the land, appropriately named Artist (Robert LaSardo). Unfortunately, he wants to do more than just draw pretty pictures. (Which actually are not very pretty… the artwork created for the film is quite amateurish.)

Once the victims are secured, the torture porn begins. And goes on, and on, and on. Folks are flayed, secured in stocks, and basically tormented. Mostly they submit to the pain and humiliation, but occasionally they pipe up and yell unimaginative, repetitive epithets as they soil themselves (repeatedly… once would have been enough for us to get the gist). I hardly expect a horror movie victim to recite a soliloquy while bleeding and stumbling around in the dark, but the dialogue throughout the entire film was absurdly stilted.

The shame is the characters of Artist and Uta should live on in a better film. Robert LaSardo, who’s got an incredible body of work (too numerous to list, but my favorite role of his was as Escobar Gallardo on the TV series NIP/TUCK), is truly sinister and quite magnetic. Sara Fabel’s acting may be a bit dodgy, but she’s got screen presence which exudes sexy treachery. Best of all, both of the actors’ tattoos are 100% real and they rock the look.

Sure the premise is intriguing, the villains are vile (in a good way!), and the setting is darkly magical… but those they aren’t enough to elevate the poor acting, atrocious dialogue and ugly, nasty violence.


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Staci Layne Wilson

Redhead. Raconteur. Mannequin enthusiast.

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