Here we go: 3 cases of partying at a house in the middle of nowhere being a really bad idea, in movies that seem like good ideas and then kind of turn into bad ideas as well the longer they go on.
THE VIOLENT KIND (2010)
The Violent Kind comes from the Butcher Brothers, who brought us The Hamiltons, The Thompsons, Holy Ghost People, and the April Fool’s Day remake. Virtually the entire cast has pretty much appeared in all their other films as well.
The movie opens strong with a sizzling hot sex scene. Next, a gang of sleazy rednecks heads to a house in the woods for a white trash birthday celebration. There’s all kinds of relationship drama to fill the time until one of the guests, the one and only Tiffany Shepis, suddenly becomes a possessed bitch from hell.
Pretty much the only reason to see this film is the middle segment, during which Tiffany, in her best possessed role ever, takes out anyone who dares enter the bedroom in which she’s locked. Tiffany, the violence, the gore, and the demon horror rule!
Finally, the movie veers off into a trippy home invasion film with a bunch of 1950s biker aliens going all Natural Born Killers on the rednecks.
If you like totally unexpected twists in your horror, you might like The Violent Kind straight through to the end, but for me, it’s all over when Tiffany is no longer the focus.
If the poster art of this film doesn’t tell you who the killer is, her mysterious behavior in the opening scene will, so there aren’t exactly any surprises to be had here…or much else to be had, for that matter. This is one of the most non-slasher slasher movies I’ve ever seen.
4 girls – the exotic weirdo, the virgin bookworm, the slut, and the good monogamous girl – go to a house in the countryside for a bachelorette party. These bitches nag and torment each other straight through dinner. Finally, they invite a stripper over for some fun.
One of the friends dies of a drug overdose, so while two of the girls try to figure out how to get past a vicious dog outside to go for help, the virgin exposes her huge titties while being fucked by the stripper.
It’s a promising moment when one girl makes it to the car and then becomes the killer’s first victim. But with very few characters actually in the movie, the body count is super low. Also, there are only a few suspense scenes, the only blood we really get is what’s covering the killer’s clothes, any violence and brutality is aimed at the dog in an excruciatingly long death scene, the killer gives an awful monologue about why she killed everyone, and then there’s an off-screen battle to the death between the killer and final girl. Why even bother making a horror movie if you leave everything out of it?
This one is going to get the most attention because I had high hopes for it based on the buzz, and because it has a gay main guy. Pitchfork begins as one kick ass slasher, with a fantastically freaky killer, perfectly executed suspense, chilling atmosphere, gory kills, sizzling hot guys, Argento-esque lighting and fog machines, and even some campy highlights (whether intended or not).
Our gay main guy brings his straight, multicultural New York City posse to his parents’ farmhouse to cushion the weirdness between he and his father since he came out. Oddly, while the gay guy is anxious about being accepted and warns his friends that things are very different in the country, they drive up in a van that looks like it just took a wrong turn while participating in the New York City gay pride parade! WTF?
Meanwhile, one of his “supportive” male friends tells him he should just stop being gay if he’s so worried about how his dad feels. WTF?
The dad is so hot that when he first appeared on screen, I seriously thought he was supposed to be the gay guy’s studly gay brother, not some old queer-hating redneck.
Anyway, forget there being any heart-to-heart between dad and son, for the next thing you know, the New York gang is having a huge party in the family’s barn, and it’s a packed house! Wait, what? Where did all these other guests come from? Eh, who cares, because we get treated to a major dance number to Andy Grammer’s hit “Honey, I’m Good.” Awesome. While all the heteros are off doing their hetero thing, our gay guy even gets a little flirt time with a gay cowboy…but if you blink, you’ll miss it. He is the final guy, so I guess his virginity has to stay intact.
This is where the core slice of slasher heaven comes in. All the guests who came out of nowhere disappear back to nowhere (weird), and Pitchfork starts creeping his way around the farm, terrifying and mutilating our main cast. I was totally sucked in. This was right on track to be an absolute slasher classic.
Then the first head scratcher hits, and it centers on the idea of having a gay main character in a movie that instead focuses almost exclusively on various heterosexuals and their heterosexual issues. Paralyzed with fear, our main gay guy has one last, brief conversation with his dad, who simply says, “Be a man.” Suddenly, our main gay guy jumps into action and becomes the strong, confident hero ready to take down the killer. I have to say, I cringed. Why even bring a gay character and his sexuality into the plot only to make it seem that it’s in the way of the plot and needs to be scrubbed out with some machismo before the character can gain final guy status?
From that moment on, Pitchfork loses its way. The narrative becomes an incoherent mess of contradictions due to major editing issues, as if some essential scenes were taken out while other scenes that needed to go were left in. As we switch from scene to scene, characters that appeared to be in one predicament when we last saw them are now in a completely different situation with no explanation as to how they got there. Characters will meet up, and then minutes later they will run into each other again as if they hadn’t already been together. And with characters running in and out of so many different, unfamiliar buildings, it begins to feel as if the characters aren’t confined to the family farm, but actually trespassing on farmland across an entire county!
And finally, shifts in tone become so jarring that any attempt to simply go with it are futile. For instance, just as the slasher intensity peaks, there is an injection of over-the-top, comic farce courtesy of our main guy breaking into his best ass-kicking move.
But don’t take that as a sign of moving into fun and funny slasher territory, because next thing you know, Pitchfork turns into a backwoods torture porn flick! My aching head. With logic thrown out the window, I felt like I was watching a 1980s Euro horror flick (which is always a fun ride in a really weird way). Our main guy knocks on his neighbors’ door for help, and makes it clear that he knows them, but they seem to have no idea who he is…maybe because he’s a man now instead of a gay, complete with a girl in tow who keeps repeating that she loves him.
The main guy also finally recognizes Pitchfork and calls him by name! This is the moment when you expect there to be some clarifying revelation—like perhaps he and Pitchfork were butt buddies back in high school and Pitchfork lost his marbles as a result—but there is absolutely no explanation for anything that happens in the final act, right up to the inclusive final frame, which throws an entirely knew cliffhanger twist into the mix. It’s seriously going to take an entire sequel just to patch up all the plot holes Pitchfork leaves in his wake, so be prepared to watch this one specifically for the awesome slasher segment in the middle. There better be a sequel, because Pitchfork is a wicked killer, the filmmakers definitely know how to deliver the horror, and we need answers, dammit! Not to mention, how cool would it be to have a gay character that makes it through more than one movie? That is…if he actually made it past the final frame….
ADDENDUM TO THIS POST: Well, the one big answer really needed in this film turns out to be the ONE deleted scene on the DVD/Blu-ray. It’s literally the ONE line that clears up one of the most jarring moments in the film when the main guy confronts the killer, and it’s beyond me why it would have been deleted. It would have added about another 20 seconds to the film but made all the difference in the narrative.
I’m going to keep Pitchfork on my homo horror movies page, even though it feels like the gay character’s sexuality is meant to be incidental and this one would make more sense on my die, gay guy die! page.