Very, very stupid straight-to-video horror from the eighties.
Iím all for the type of surreal weirdness this film provides, but
thereís no excuse for incompetent filmmaking.
The best thing about 1984ís THE JAR? The Magnum Video
box cover (it has yet to be released on DVD) with its irresistible
tagline ďIt Blows the Lid off Terror.Ē
Incidentally, the Colorado lensed THE JAR marks the
only film credit Iíve been able to locate for director Bruce Toscano,
writer George Bradley, cinematographer Cameron MacLeod and lead actor
Gary Wallace--and I canít say Iím surprised!
One night a bearded dork named Paul picks up a severely
injured man on the road and takes him back to his apartment. The injured
man quickly disappears and in his place leaves a paper bag, which when
unwrapped reveals a jar containing a pickled monster fetus.
Over the course of the night Paul is assailed with
horrific hallucinations: his bathtub filling with blood, a stabbing, a
crucifixion, etc. The following day he disposes of the jar in a back
alley trash bin but the visions continue, and the following night the
jar turns back up in Paulís apartment. He smashes it, which does nothing
to stem the flow of hallucinations.
Paulís life falls apart, with his peeved boss visiting
his apartment to ask why he hasnít come to work and a potential love
interest named Crystal put off by Paulís weird manner. After
hallucinating that heís on another planet manned by cloak-wearing
freaks, as well as the jungles of (I assume) Vietnam, Paul finally comes
to in the arms of CrystalÖor so he thinks!
I understand that one must be forgiving when viewing a
low budget horror film--especially this one, whose makers attempted to
create something unique and interesting--but here thereís just too much
Stilted acting is a constant in no-budget horror
movies, but the performances in THE JAR are downright appalling. Another
annoyance is the tacky synthesizer music, which is blared at full volume
over seemingly every scene. Thereís also the fact that the whole thing
is extremely poorly photographed, with the protagonists always
positioned at the outer edges of the frame.
To be sure, the material is promising, and could have
made for an interesting surreal chiller. That, however, would require a
skilled director and a decent budget, and THE JAR clearly had neither.
Nocturna International Limited/Magnum Entertainment
Director: Bruce Toscano
Screenplay: George Bradley
Cinematography: Cameron MacLeod
Editing: Bruce Toscano
Cast: Gary Wallace, Karin Sjoberg, Robert Gerald Witt, Dean Schoepter,
Les Miller, Don Donovan