Okay, this is really bad situation. I have this 2006 horror film Plasterhead in my collection—and upon rewatching it last night, I can only assume I watched it a first time. Seriously, I don’t remember a SINGLE THING about this film. And believe me, even if the title doesn’t spark memories, I’m the type who WILL remember a movie he’s seen as he’s watching it. All I can think is that this is a movie I bought, popped into my DVD player, and then proceeded to completely ignore while I did some sort of project on my computer. Either that or I bought it and then somehow completely forgot to watch it before shelving it alphabetically with my horror collection. And believe me, that would never happen either, because I’m anal about watching stuff I buy. In fact, I don’t even know when or why I bought the film without any previous knowledge of it. Was I just taken by the cover image?
Well, last night, I really did watch it, closely. This is a total run-of-the-mill horror plot. Group of kids going on a road trip get involved in the wrong kinda shit in the wrong kinda town and get stalked by a “masked” killer one by one…a killer who happens to be “plastered” in this film.
We begin with—a girl in her undies. EEK! We hear the sound of country music. EEK! EEK! The chick gets naked. Triple EEK! WTF? With so much of this kind of horror, I’m wondering if I didn’t originally just give up on this shit after the first 5 minutes. Anyway, the chick is chased by Plasterhead in a field, we see a bear trap and the girl tripping, there’s a snap, she screams, and—cut to the girl tied up in a barn with not a scratch on her. Huh?
We only see parts of Plasterhead’s deformed face in the opening credits of this film. Other than that, there is no great reveal. He is never unmasked! So we can only imagine what he looks like. He is about 8 feet tall though, that’s for sure. Tall and lanky in a long black coat and his mummy-esque mask. Pretty creepy. And, there’s also reference to it being Halloween time, but the only spotting of anything Halloween related is a jack o’ lantern up on a shelf in the background during a bar scene.
Our group of kids consists of a white guy, two white girls, and a black dude. But trust me, this isn’t your typical token black dude slasher. In fact, Plasterhead is black! His entire motivation is based on a racist attack years before. Now how often do you see that in a slasher?? What you do see in slashers that you see here would include: the kids get sidetracked, get eyed suspiciously by local townsfolk (waitress, a dude at the local bar, the local sheriff, etc.), end up in Plasterhead’s house, and then split up…you know the drill. The only real fun character is a sleazy hick gas station dude who accuses the white guy of being gay—and then attempts to suck seductively on white guy’s finger. Hot.
While this film seems to be going for the tone of such classics as Texas Chainsaw Massacre, what it lacks is grit. The house in which the movie is predominantly set looks like it is a newly finished construction in a development that they just splashed with silly props like fake bloody bones and stuffed dead animals. One girl even pretends to run her finger across a dusty piece of furniture that is clearly sparkling clean…. Yeah, not the most atmospheric or authentic backwoods horror film.
Even so, there are some eerily executed moments. The first time Plasterhead walks across a hall of the empty house behind one of the chicks, it’s seriously spooky. When she is left to die in a barn and just lies there suffering silently, while an unknowing friend stands right outside the locked door trying to get in, it feels impressively realistic (she kinda deserves it for making an asinine horror-film move in taking a shower in a supposedly filthy abandoned house). And a scene in the diner after closing features some great tension. It takes a while, but this low-budget film really does build to a nice level of suspense.
The white guy is victim to TWO pretty damn good jump scares. The question is, after he is grabbed during the first jump scene—how is he not still in Plasterhead’s grasps in the very next scene? White guy does get a grisly treatment that nears Leatherface intensity. There’s even more suspense to come when two characters corner themselves in a closet while Plasterhead just fricking sits in a chair right outside the door….
But the best is yet to come. The final chick truly is my hero. Her absolute self-centered attitude in the final moments are patterned right after what I’d probably do in the same exact situation (sorry in advance to all my close friends). Gladly, the ridiculous alternate ending on the DVD involving a showdown with a gun was not used for the final cut of the film, because that would have made the film suck. The downbeat ending we get is the definite deciding factor in me keeping this film in my horror collection…