APRIL 7 — When it comes to horror films, I’ve always regarded them as a sort of rollercoaster ride to be enjoyed, with a mixture of scares, thrills, sudden jolts and laughs contributing to the unique sensations that can only be found in horror movies.
When the laugh factor gets even more air time, as they would in horror comedies, they become even more fun to watch, which is probably why Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness are still stone cold crowd favourites to this day.
Another great thing about horror comedies is the supernatural nature of most horror movies means the film-makers can just go wild with their imagination and dream up almost anything their hearts desire, with the result that the opportunity for some truly outrageous and off the wall things to happen is increased even more.
So when it comes to horror comedies, I’ll definitely take a chance on almost anything, even if the budget looks small, as long as the concept sounds intriguing. So here are three new ones I’ve come across in the last few weeks.
If this was just a comedy instead of a horror comedy, it would have still been a very good one, thanks to the excellent chemistry between each and every one of the characters.
The basic set-up involves a family vacation into the middle of nowhere, thanks to the slacker dad, Roger, not having that much cash.
He is joined by his new girlfriend, his teenage daughter, his son and his son’s best friend (who’s clearly trying to flirt with the sister). That set-up alone would’ve been enough to craft an engaging and hilarious movie (which director Peter Ricq winningly did here), but of course a cabin in the woods will invite some sort of horror, so that part of the movie comes courtesy of the cabin’s neighbour, whom the kids saw dragging two teenage boys and feeding them to what looks like her kids.
And so, begins a series of escalating events that will give plenty of excuses for excellent practical gore effects, yet always with a joke or two in mind as a punchline to the bloody carnage.
The film’s budget may be pretty low, but these guys are so good that it didn’t really look it. What a pleasure it is to stumble onto gems like this every once in a while.
The first WolfCop film was already such a shamelessly dumb and rip-roaring tribute to 80s werewolf flicks that it can be hard to imagine how a sequel can top that much dumb fun.
Trust them crazy Canadians to again do silly and ridiculous really, really well, as director Lowell Dean throws in everything, after he’s thrown in the kitchen sink, into the crazy narrative mix.
After the events of the first film, WolfCop (aka alcoholic police officer Lou Garrou) is now an accepted part of life in the small town of Woodhaven.
Into this comes businessman Sydney Swallows, whose plans to open a brewery cum hockey arena with his signature Chicken Milk Stout is received enthusiastically by the local townsfolk.
Taking a page out of the Halloween III: Season of the Witch playbook (remember Silver Shamrock Novelties and their sinister plan?), of course Swallows has a sinister plan for the local townsfolk, and of course it’ll be up to WolfCop to stop him, but along the way Dean has sprinkled in so much crazy and sometimes novel ideas (like Moondust, and “little” Willie Higgins — you’ll see what I mean when you see the film), often executed with plenty of DIY charm and love because of the low budget, that you’ll find it really hard to resist this unbelievably silly little sequel.
An absolute no-brainer if you liked the first film.
After two excellent highs, it’s probably about time that I be prepared for a somewhat crushing low, which is partly the case with Hell’s Kitty.
If you think that Dead Shack and Another WolfCop was low budget, the way Hell’s Kitty looks and its technical execution will probably make you think that it’s made from chump change found under the sofa.
The camerawork and “non-lighting” is awful, possibly even student-project level and the acting seems to be of the quality that implies that it must’ve been a strictly friends and family affair for its writer-director Nicholas Tanna.
All of this is partly true because Hell’s Kitty the feature film is actually an extension of a web series also called Hell’s Kitty. That series is about Nick, a screenwriter who happens to have a possessive (and possessed) cat named Angel.
The film is also about that, times six or seven (or however many short sketches you can string together to make it feature length). It’s the very definition of a one-trick pony, but once you accept that fact then it becomes sporadically enjoyable because, as with all short comedic contents, the film-making team will try to cram in as many jokes as they can into that short period, and while maybe four out of 10 jokes may fall flat, that still leaves six pretty funny jokes to be enjoyed.
And when Tanna can also miraculously conjure up cameos from horror luminaries like Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes), Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog), Kelli Maroney (Night of the Comet), Doug Jones and Children of The Corn actors John Franklin and Courtney Gains, there’s still some value to be had from this very spotty little movie.
*This is the personal opinion of the columnist.