Danland, The Act of Killing, and Nightmare Factory are currently available on instant Netflix
Danland (2012) – Not rated
“Dan Lear has become famous for creating amateur porn films that swap flashiness for rough, unimaginative sex. This documentary examines Lear’s psychology and what prompted him to leave his white-collar lifestyle for a far more unorthodox profession.”
One Line Review: A shudder-worthy peek inside the life of an amateur pornographer.
I find it hard to recommend this movie but it is a fascinating look at lower level players in the porn industry. The first third sets up the premise and shows Dan in his element, making ‘amateur’ porn. It rankles because you see that Dan is really not a sympathetic character and not particularly interesting. The actors and actresses in his film are not very attractive and most of the filming occurs on dirty mattresses and furniture in a rundown house. Be prepared to shudder at some of the scenes being filmed.
The second act turns that around a bit as they show what a sad life Dan has, especially once he breaks up with his girlfriend. His life just spirals down from there. The best scenes are at the Adult Video awards in Vegas where Dan, a natural salesman, clearly feels that he is important but no one wants to give him the time of day.
I will say that the ending is brilliant but definitely be aware that this film will leave you disgusted, depressed, or both.
Nightmare Factory (2011) – Not rated
“Using the career of makeup effects guru Greg Nicotero as a case study, this documentary gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the crucial role Hollywood makeup departments play in bringing horror movies to life on the silver screen.”
Obviously I am biased because my daughter is a makeup artist and she has worked on a horror film (Mister White) but I found Nightmare Factory to be an excellent documentary about horror makeup. It primarily focuses on Greg Nicotero and KNB Effects but covers plenty of other ground as well.
If you love horror movies as I do, I highly recommend this behind-the-scenes look at many of KNB’s fabulous creations.
The Act of Killing (2012) – Not rated
“A 2014 Oscar nominee for Best Documentary Feature, this film follows two former death squad leaders as they reenact atrocities they committed during a bloody era in Indonesia when more than a million people were slaughtered.”
I was rather disappointed that the Academy gave the Documentary award to the feel good 20 Feet from Stardom rather than this brilliant concept film, The Act of Killing. The former death squad leaders not only fully acknowledge the awful things they did but reenact them for the camera in some rather startling, surreal ways. This film will open your eyes to how real evil operates and thinks.
I should not have been surprised though as last year there were four extremely depressing/hard to get through documentaries nominated and the winner was the lone feel good film, Searching for Sugarman.