Ross Patterson spent years appearing in goofball comedies, and only once did he step into the world of horror…as “Fraternity Leader” in a goofball comedy scene in House of the Dead 2…
So writing and directing goofball horror comedies of his own was the next logical step (10 years later). After seeing his hilarious slapstick zomcom Range 15, which stars Mat Best—the god whose existence I always questioned, I immediately had to check out Helen Keller vs. Nightwolves. Considering bearded beauty Mat Best was listed in the cast of this one also, I figured I’d go blind myself while getting a laugh at Helen Keller’s expense.
HELEN KELLER VS. NIGHTWOLVES (2015)
Sadly, Patterson’s first film has barely any Best in it (can’t believe I now want God in all my horror), but that’s not the only reason it’s my least favorite of these two films. I’d compare it to the farce of a Mel Brooks film. For me, Mel Brooks is really funny in small doses, but a full movie begins to feel like one long, overplayed joke after a while. That’s what happens here.
Horror queen Lin Shaye is featured as an adult Helen Keller, doing a bit of a “How I Met Your Mother” shtick, recounting to her descendants the time she battled a pack of wolves. NOT werewolves. They have glowing red eyes, but this is not a werewolf film. But it sure is bloody! All in fun, of course.
We meet Helen’s family, including her super gay brother, played perfectly by Jesse Merlin (Beyond the Gates, the YouTube mini-series 12 Deadly Days).
Ross Patterson clearly recognizes there’s sensitivity to gay stereotypes and gays being used as punch lines—and doesn’t give a shit!
He’s helping to keep the dying art of gay camp alive, even if it means getting cozy with Barry Bostwick. Someone has to, because everything’s so fucking LGBTQ these days there’s no room left in hell for all the gay.
The Keller family is attacked by a pack of wolves and Helen loses her crucial senses. She then spends a majority of the film learning to live and fight without them as she prepares to get revenge on the wolves, which is where the film falls into a one-note trap (perhaps because Helen can’t see or hear it. I know! So wrong).
Barry Bostwick stars as a drifter who teams up with Helen to battle the beasts. Meanwhile, her brother finds him hot in a cult classic way and hopes to see him in a Rocky Harder Picture Show…
While some of Helen’s blind humor starts funny but grows tired, I couldn’t get enough of the brother’s queer quips. And the wolf attacks are hilarious, from puppet hands slapping at actors’ faces to stuffed wolves being thrown at them from off screen.
And of course, we get our first glimpse of lumberjack-off…I mean, lumberjack-ish Mat Best, who appears in a diner scene, sitting at a table with a bunch of other burly boys. How they can all bear to look away from him for even a second is beyond me.
RANGE 15 (2016)
Patterson is co-writer on his second horror spoof, but Mat Best goes from a virtual walk-on role…well, more like a sit-on role (my face wishes) to starring role in zombedy Range 15, and deservedly so because he’s fuckable as hell. I mean, funny. Funny as hell. And so is the rest of the cast in this totally adolescent, totally un-PC, totally spoof-tastic zombedy sausagefest.
Mat and all his burly military buddies get thrown in the slammer after a rowdy night at a bar that ends in Mat…well…simultaneously participating in both man-on-man action and a hate crime.
But it isn’t long before a zombie outbreak leads to a jailbreak! Damn. Just when I was hoping this was going to be a prison film pitting one man against another…
The men team up with a couple of babes to survive the zombie apocalypse, and the tasteless horror and sex humor abounds. One dude has a blow-up doll stuck to his dick. Another doesn’t need a blow-up doll when there are zombie bitches everywhere. Dick gets the Stretch Armstrong treatment (it happens so fast you don’t even see it coming…).
A dude gets off on bathing in Slushee.
The comedy reminds me of the era of Police Academy, Airplane, and The Naked Gun, when no one and nothing was off limits. Children, little people, amputees, liberals, women—no one is safe from the offensive humor. How I miss the days when mocking each other brought us closer together.
Most importantly, with this many burly boys on screen at all times, it’s like watching the local butch bar float going by at a pride parade. And there are more gay gags than you’d hear at a glory hole in 90 minutes.
In fact, one of the women in the group calls the guys out on how homo they are with each other—and they cop (a feel) to it, out and proudly.
They spit roast Mat Best and give him a liquor enema. Hey, let me get a sip of that.
There are sure to be those who will say the jokes are homophobic, but having grown up on offensive trash like this, I love that Ross Patterson dares to go there, and I say keep me coming. I mean…keep ’em coming. Damn autocorrect.
Adding to the fun is a revolving door of familiar faces: Danny Trejo, Sean Astin, Ron Jeremy, William Shatner, Keith David of The Thing and They Live, b-horror queen Mindy Robinson, Bryan Callen (Coach Mellor on The Goldbergs), Martin Klebba (of the Feast movies), UFC’s Tim Kennedy (naked, but blurred, dammit), Lindsay Lamb (After School Massacre, Mine Games), and, well, most of the cast of Helen Keller vs. Nightwolves, as well as Ross himself looking all Val Kilmer Iceman circa 1986.
Needless to say, even with Tim Kennedy’s naked battle with a zombie blurred, and Mat Best only getting shirtless once while behind a Dumpster (a word often written on my right cheek), I still ordered this one on Blu-ray because it’s a must-have for my collection. As of this blog post, it’s only available on the film’s Website.
Oh shit. I just realized Danny Trejo is in this photo, pointing at Tim.