“In Taeter City, there is no crime. Using Zeed radio waves, the city’s dictatorship cause criminals to commit suicide. Their corpses are processed and sold as fast-food by conglomerates who nourish the ravenous populace. It was a perfect system…until Zeed started making the criminals stronger…”
I’ve decided to start this off by simply quoting the plot synopsis from Taeter City‘s production company mainly because I didn’t feel like writing the whole thing out, or adding anything new to it. It’s a movie that, more or less, does what it sets out to do. What we have with Taeter City is, perhaps, and ambitious undertaking for an incredibly low, DIY production budget. The story is pretty much as described. Taeter City is run by a cannibal dictatorship that uses radio waves to make criminals commit suicide so that their bodies are fed to the populace, but something went wrong… See, I ended up doing it anyway. Don’t worry, if you forget what the movie is about, it’ll let you know.
There’s really not much to this movie. It’s incredibly short, running at a brisk seventy-three minutes. There isn’t any character development. You have a city whose only food source comes from TaeterBurger, where criminals end up as cheeseburgers for the people to eat. If you follow the rules and follow The Authority, everything will be fine. Eating animals is illegal, anyone caught can be immediately executed. The Authority employs a murderous biker gang who patrols the city looking for criminals to finish them off, or to find those looking for animal meat. We find out in short order that the Zeed radio system is causing mutations in animals, and soon are creating mutated humans who are nearly impossible to kill. See, I did it again. Here’s the main problem with the film and much dystopian fiction out there. If the satire is too literal or on the nose, you will spend most of your time explaining to the audience what is going on. Taeter City constantly reminds us what the situation is. A film like this doesn’t have a learning curve, but we’re reminded anyway. Multiple times.
Despite my gripes, Taeter City does have a lot to offer those fans of micro-budget underground cinema. This is technically the second film outing from Guilio De Santi. His first film was an uncredited co-directing role in the underground favorite Adam Chaplin. Taeter City would fit quite well among all those old direct to video, shot on video (SOV) gorefests that were around during the late eighties and early nineties. The approach to the gore reminds me of early Olaf Ittenbach, and the low budget really adds to that effect. The gore is plentiful and they are augmented with some impressive (if sometimes silly) CGI work. The overall look of the movie has a nice cyberpunk feel to it, which once again the low budget really adds to the grime of it. Somehow I am reminded of some of Alex Cox’s later work, such as Death and the Compass and Revenger’s Tragedy. The overall result comes off as a low-rent Judge Dredd ripoff, and I think if the script had been tightened up a bit, Taeter City could be a classic. As it stands, it does have some elements that annoy me. There aren’t really any characters to follow beyond the movies MC, the biker lady who puts on her helmet and takes it off repeatedly, and the mutated killer. The movie becomes simply a series of scenes where things happen and guts pop out.
While I have been aware of Guilio’s work, this was the first one that I’ve seen. I dig it, and I’m sure I’ll catch some more of his in the future. I’m not exactly sure if Taeter City has a re-watchable factor to it, but it certainly looks cool and makes the most of what it has. I wouldn’t recommend you go out of your way for it, but it’s fairly short and you can find it streaming on Amazon Prime right now.