It’s officially October, my favorite month, and I can’t think of a better, and spookier time to resurrect this blog from dormancy. RISE FROM YOUR GRAVE, SUBHUMANZOIDS!
To be fair, things on the subhumanfront have been far from dormant. If you subscribe to my Patreon, for instance, you know I’ve been working hard on a new comic called Monster Flight. For now, it’s going to be a Patreon-only series, but only because I’d like to pitch it soon. Stay tuned for more on that, because it’ll end up on this blog at some point regardless.
Now, back to October. I’ve been watching a ton of movies lately, and I’m going to attempt to kick it into overdrive this month. I doubt I’ll be able to do a movie every single day, but I’d still like to squeeze in 31 over the course of the month. That means the project has started in earnest, and the first movie I watched on October 1 was a little indie flick written and directed by Graham Skipper, SEQUENCE BREAK.
Much like another movie I like that happens to star the eternally-passable Chase Williamson—Beyond the Gates—Sequence Break is a thoroughly okay movie. It’s definitely not on the level of Gates, for which I have a strange affinity, but I’m usually pretty happy if an indie horror movie can get through its runtime without having some black-eyed, basement-budget screeching possession effect.
Instead of going that route, Sequence Break sticks close to its subject matter: Video games. Williamson plays Oz, a dumpy dude who ekes out a living repairing arcade machines for an old man named Jerry (Lyle Kanouse). His life changes for the better when he runs into the enthusiastically nerdy Tess (Fabianne Therese), who instantly wants to be his girlfriend for reasons beyond the capacity of understanding. Their relationship seems especially doomed since Oz just found out the shop is going to close and he’ll soon be out of a job, but Tess doesn’t mind.
Around the same time, a shady vagrant shows up, drops off a mysterious envelope, murders Jerry—which is something Oz never seems to notice or wonder about—and spends the rest of the movie showing up at the arcade dealership to mutter cryptic ramblings and threaten Oz and Tess. At the center of his threats lie the contents of the envelope: an arcade board with an inexplicably alluring power.
Being the crack repairman that he is, Oz quickly gets the board up and running in one of his empty cabinets, and from there Sequence Break tries its damndest to be the Videodrome of video games. The more Oz is drawn to the cabinet, and the more time he spends tapping away at this bizarre vector shooter with no name, the livelier the arcade board becomes. It’s soon pulsating, oozing, and drawing Oz into a psychosexual mindscape from which he may never be able to escape.
That last part may make Sequence Break sound cooler than it really is, but it never quite reaches its lofty goal of morphing into Video(game)drome 2017. Graham Skipper and his crew do manage to create some decent atmosphere at certain points, and the effort put into making this living arcade game into the throbbing mess it eventually becomes is admirable. There are plenty of practical effects that make the grodiness pop, even if the narrative and characterizations aren’t quite strong enough to prop up a full-length feature.
Sequence Break isn’t going to scare anyone into the seasonal spirit; I certainly watched way more appropriate stuff that had me feeling the Halloween vibes last month. In a crowded indie horror market, though, it has some crude gumption I admire.