Unwatchable #29: “Seed”Posted: April 7, 2010
Your fearless – and quite possibly senseless – movie janitor is watching every movie on the IMDb Bottom 100 list. Join us now for another installment of Unwatchable.
Spring has sprung, baseball’s opening day has come and gone, and it’s time to get back to the business of counting down the worst of the worst. Yes, it’s been a long, cold winter for fans of Unwatchable, but after a rigorous course of psychotherapy and an aggressive regimen of mood-stabilizing medication, I’m finally ready to finish off the job I started…holy crap, almost two years ago. Of course, this means the Bottom 100 list I’m working with is now hopelessly outdated, what with all the new eye-gougingly awful films made in the interim – Uwe Boll alone has churned out another half-dozen atrocities since I started – but we can’t worry about that. A deal is a deal, and I promised to finish this grueling task…although you could help make it just a little less grueling by hitting the “Donate” button at the bottom of the page and sending me your spare change via Paypal. Just sayin’.
Speaking of Uwe Boll, I do believe that Seed is the fourth of the master of disaster’s films to make our countdown, and by far the most deserving to date. Boll wastes no time letting us know we’re in for something special; he starts right in with extremely graphic footage of actual animal torture in order to “set the tone” for the lighthearted romp to follow. (The footage was acquired from PETA in exchange for a promise of “two percent of the profits” accrued by Seed. Assuming Boll adhered to the usual Hollywood accounting standards, let’s hope PETA wasn’t counting on that money to pay for their latest naked Khloe Kardashian billboard.) I think we can all agree that nothing sets a mood quite like dogs being skinned alive. Something to keep in mind when you’re planning your next bachelor party.
Anyway, this jaunty prelude is followed by a title card informing us of a dubious state law by which any condemned prisoner who survives three jolts from the electric chair is to be immediately set free. This is good news for serial killer Max Seed, on death row after committing 666 murders between 1973 and 1979. Seed is a hulking, overall-clad maniac in the Leatherface vein, with the same penchant for keeping his face hidden (he’s being held in one of those prisons where the authorities have no problem with him wearing a burlap sack on his head). Flashbacks to Seed’s dimly-lit capture by the authorities alternate with scenes of Detective Matt Bishop inexplicably watching video footage of atrocities from the killer’s crawlspace. (And if you haven’t caught Atrocities from the Killer’s Crawlspace on FOX Reality, you’re really missing out.) For many minutes on end, we weep along with Detective Bishop as he watches dead babies decompose in footage I’m hoping wasn’t supplied by PETA.
Finally it’s time for Seed to pay for his crimes, but alas, the first two attempts at electrocuting him to death fail, despite his head bursting into flames and all the resulting geysers of blood. Rather than taking any chances on the third attempt failing, the authorities decide to box him up and bury him alive. Great idea, but perhaps not as great an idea as, say, shooting him in the head and burying him dead. Sure enough, Seed is soon clawing his way out of his coffin, bent on revenge. The resulting killing spree is largely incoherent, but it does provide what may be the most memorable scene in the entire Boll filmography (or maybe not, since I still haven’t seen Postal): an unrelentingly brutal, five-minute single take in which Seed beats a woman about the head with a hatchet until there’s nothing left but unrecognizable pulp, at which point he triumphantly sniffs the bloody stump of her neck. (Obviously it’s not really a single take – there are some poorly disguised jump-cuts along the way – but it’s still the closest thing to a tour-de-force I’ve seen in Boll’s oeuvre, repulsive though it may be.)
Assuming you survive this sequence with your humanity intact, Boll has a cheerfully upbeat ending in store for you, in which (spoiler alert) a little girl ends up trapped in a cell with her father, who has just blown his own brains out. It’s not just any movie that makes you yearn for the breezy effervescence of the Saw series, but Seed does the trick.