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Exposition: the insertion of important background information within a story; for example, information about the setting, characters’ backstories, prior plot events, historical context, etc.

As Bruce Springsteen once said, “glory days, they’ll pass you by”. I hate that damn song, but he said it nevertheless. Our “prime” slips away from all of us. It’s an inevitability in all of our lives.

Such is the case with Corey Feldman. After a string of roles in hits such as The Goonies, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, and The Lost Boys, the child/teen star’s career hit a rough patch with a series of duds such as Dream A Little Dream, Rock N Roll High School Forever, and Meatballs 4. It also allegedly was hitting the heroin. Heroin is some pretty heavy shit, but it won’t mess you up as badly as Dream A Little Dream 2. I’m not joking. Just say no.

Since then, Corey has mostly had roles in increasingly lower-budget films, a lot of them in the horror genre. This is presumably to cash in off the fanatical F13 and Lost Boy fanbases. Which leads us to 6 Degrees of Hell, another no-budget, DTV schlockfest dealing with demonic possession. While Corey is not the main character, he obviously gets top billing as he is the only known star in the film. Kinda. Read on.

The movie starts with a group of “teens” (actors in their mid-20’s) walking their way through a local scare-house attraction. They encounter an actor carrying an axe & hook, which makes them run out of there like a bunch of chickenshits. Outside, we’re given what appears to be footage filmed at the entrance of an actual local spook house. There are actors interacting with the people waiting in line to get in.

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The kids head back to one of their houses to starting hitting the parents’ mini bar. As they enter, the intro for a “Ghost Hunters-meets-Crossing Over”  TV show called “DeadTV” can be seen in the background. Before we’ve even learned the kids’ names, one of the guys, Chris blurts out that one of the girls, June, used to tell fortunes when she was a child. And, of course, her friends are quick to insist on her demonstrating.

Kelly, Chris’s girlfriend, goes first.  June tells Kelly that she was a breach birth. As this is true, the friends are quite impressed. June then envisions Kelly with a “splitting pain in her head”.  Spooked by this, they decide to end the reading.

Kelly stays behind in the living room while her friends head outside to relax in a hot tub. She’s still trying to decipher June’s “vision”. Suddenly, a man, painted head to toe in white paint, appears behind her. Despite the incredibly lazy concept design, this is supposed to be some form of demonic entity.  The lights flicker out. When they come back on, Kelly starts convulsing and drops to the living room floor.

Kelly has died. We know this because the opening credits roll as her naked body lies on a slab in a morgue. Kelly’s eyelids are VERY clearly moving. There is a line of blood painted over her shoulder from where she was cut for autopsy. I use the term “painted” as no one on the FX staff accounted for gravity causing the blood to spill downwards.

The film resumes to find Feldman sitting at a table in an interrogation room of a police station. Corey is still looking pretty good for a guy in his 40’s. Or he would, if it weren’t for the dyed blonde hair, a single black lock hanging down over his face. Here he just looks like the bassist for a late 90’s pop-punk band, now playing county fairs for any last scraps of relevance. Through either weak scripting or actor insistence, he’s trying to portray his character as a “badass”. (Surprise) However, it’s hard to pull that “look” off while you are puffing away on an e-cig. Trust me, I know.

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Feldman plays a paranormal investigator named Brenner. Brenner is interviewing a deputy about Kelly’s death. The deputy instead tells a story about a murdered girl who was fished out of the water back when he was still a rookie. Her eyes didn’t turn “milky white” after death. And neither did Kelly’s. What’s the point of this story? Absolutely nothing. The only true exposition we get in this movie and it’s completely wasted on something irrelevant to the plot. But hey, at the least the actor playing the deputy gives a solid performance. Somebody had to.

The film then jumps to a house we’ve not seen before. Here we find Sanborn, “star” of Dead TV, and his crew talking to the deputy while water rains down from the ceiling. But wait!!! Why are none of the actors wet? Why is nothing wet? What’s that? Oh, you’re going to CG in water drops instead of just using water? Yeah…. NO!!!  Buy a hose, you cheap bastards!

Sanborn enters another room where he finds a young man, his face pasty white. Dark circles ring his now CG blackened eyes. Most people call it an “8-ball bender”, but 6 Degrees calls it “demonic possession”. The possessed man starts to talk about Sanborn’s murdered sister, which provokes Sanborn to unload on him with a flurry of punches. Ya know, cause nothing exorcises a demon quicker than an ass whoopin’.

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Huh? Oh, you didn’t know Sanborn’s sister was murdered. Yeah, neither did anyone. I’m not even sure the screenwriter knew.

We then make like Kris Kross and jump, jump to June’s house. Chris has just returned from Kelly’s grave. It was nice of him to just let himself in. June asks him if he “saw her”. He replies that he did not and asks if she is sure that SHE did. While this sounds like the lead-in to an interesting plot development, it’s immediately abandoned with no real further explanation. They then have sex that neither one appears to enjoy and go to sleep.

Oh, ain’t you heard? Mm-hmm, they hooked up. She helped him cope with Kelly’s death, cause .. you know… them kids, they was in love. Yup. It was a rough 47 minutes for him.

It’s never actually said how long it’s been. Nothing is ever really explained as it happens in this damn movie. There’s always some coincidental reason explained after the fact.

After all of this, we are then informed that the other guy in the group, Kellen (played by the film’s director, Joe Raffa) actually works there. It doesn’t explain why he was so frightened by scares that he sees all day at work. We meet the haunt’s owner, Jack. Jack must be a white version of Dolemite because he immediately bitch slaps the viewer… with a chain of coincidences.

#1 The haunt, which the characters insist on calling a “hotel”, is built on the site of an abandoned asylum…. which is built over some ancient ruins.

#2 Jack is actually an ex-boyfriend of Kellen’s mother, who is played by “The Love Boat’s” Jill Whelan. Her role lasts about 15 seconds, and I believe she has 1 line of dialogue. She’s really only in this to make the viewer ask, “Hey, is that the girl from “The Love Boat”? Why is she in this?”

#3 The “hotel” is filled with items that were donated by a renowned psychic. Oh, and they’re evil. Kinda like the antiques from the Friday the 13th TV series.

We cut back to Feldman a couple of times so that he can spout some bullshit diatribe about the difference between slander and just plain ol’ “talking shit”. He also tells some story about Houdini. Really, none of this has anything to do with anything. It’s just some excuse to continue trying to make Feldman look “edgy” and “tough”, but even in his early days as “Edgar Frog”, that only went so far. It’s definitely goes nowhere every time the little light on the end of that fake cigarette lights up.

We briefly meet Mary, the psychic supplying all the accursed artifacts to the scare “hotel”. She’s well aware of the evil within each item. She even warns Jack & the “kids” to not touch the items. As for the paying attendees that could possibly touch them on a way through the “hotel”? Eh, fuck ’em. She spends most of her screen time telling June about her psychic powers, which is about the only pre-established thing in the movie up to this point. She also informs June that she is pregnant. No offense to the actress playing “Mary”, but they could have just purchased a pregnancy test and saved a lot of money.

From here on out, the film become one big, twisted, confusing ball of “who really gives a crap?”. There is sub-plot piled on top of sub-plot piled on top of sub-plot until you end up with a 6 layer burrito of bullshit. With psychic visions, alternate time frames, a body hopping demon, Corey with his vape, and even talk of extra layers of face skin, ……. well, shit! Even I’ve forgotten what the hell I was talking about?

By the time everything is said and done, the whole damn thing ends up being about some demon manipulating the lives of multiple people in order to be able to get to June, even though it would appear that the demon has had multiple opportunities to do so before now. Possessed scare actors and a zombified Kelly proceed to kill off most of the cast and even a few extras playing attendees of the “hotel”. Gorehounds will be disappointed as there is very little gore. That might be for the best as the make-up is on the level of a real local Jaycee’s Halloween haunted house event.

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I’ll give the writer credit for having huge aspirations, but this was simply a case of trying to do too much. The multiple sub-plots were created to fulfill the “promise” of the film’s title, but proved too much to handle for the filmmakers as most of them are undeveloped and quickly abandoned. The entire script gives off a strong impression of having been written as they filmed.

We have the older female psychic. How do we fit her in?

Have her supply the hotel with cursed antiques.”

Why would she knowing do that if she knows that they are dangerous?”

Stop asking questions, Dave.

Yeah, that was pretty lame…. and so is this movie…… but not as lame as Corey’s hair. At least he left Michael Jackson’s jacket at home.

PARSIPPANY, NJ - OCTOBER 26: Corey Feldman attends the Chiller Theatre Expo at Sheraton Parsippany Hotel on October 26, 2013 in Parsippany, New Jersey. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)

 

 

 

 

 

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