This is rare. Three modern “kill the group of friends” films of various subgenres and budgets that all gave me something to enjoy. So let’s get right to it.
A few months back I posted about the movie Blood Widow, which featured a dominatrix killer wearing a blank white mask. She’s not back, but she seems to have a sister in Bunni, who is pretty much a Playboy bunny dominatrix in a blank white mask.
I thought there would be no hope for this movie when it began with T&A and lots of blaring death metal. Listen up, indie directors. Tits and death metal don’t make a horror movie good or cool or scary. Seriously. Ever. Not even if you had a budget.
Anyway, the opening scene features some domestic abuse, then it’s a bunch of years later, and a group of in-your-face horny friends is preparing for a Halloween party. Surprisingly, the “party” takes up only about 5 minutes of the film at most. All of this feels very cheaply made. The hopelessness I was experiencing deepened.
Walking home, the friends decide to break into a boarded up building. Ignoring warning signs like mannequins, dolls, a recently slept in bed, it being Halloween night, and the old guy who literally warns them away, they split up for sex once inside.
And then…there’s dick. WOW, is there dick. I don’t know if it’s real dick, but it sure looks real, and if it is, I have new respect for director Daniel Benedict, who also plays the guy who whips out his dick. And that lovely dick gets grabbed, and then…wait…what are you doing with that knife? For the love of God, NOOOOO!
Bunni suddenly gets nasty! This relatively short film dives dickhead first into the gore, with characters quickly being slaughtered in sleazy, sexual ways that are direct-to-video perfection if you are a fan of low budget horror and appreciate the art of practical effects.
Bunni’s costume is scary sexy, the final girl rox, their chase and battle scene is grisly good, and the final girl uses one of the best weapons ever—her truth. It gives this little indie a delicious twist.
Because that scene is so strong, I’m willing to forgive the 10-minute tag scene that follows and sort of cheapens what came before it. I would love to see what director Daniel Benedick—I mean, Benedict—could do with the film if he had a better budget. Fuck the budget. He just needs to tighten up the quality of the first half of the film and make the closing scene a bit more succinct.
THE FUNHOUSE MASSACRE (2015)
Halloween horror movies that take place in a haunted attraction have become so routine that it’s pretty much a risk to try to make one that rises above all the rest. Director Andy Palmer (Find Me) went the smart route—he just made a slasher romp about a bunch of escaped lunatics that takeover a funhouse and begin killing everyone who passes through it.
There’s absolutely nothing new here, but it’s done with a playful simplicity that makes it a fun hack n’ slash ride.
The opener features a cameo by Robert Englund, who introduces us to the six distinct psycho personalities that escape their asylum—including familiar faces like Clint Howard (Ice Cream Man) and Jere Burns (from the TV show Dear John).
A group of friends heads to the funhouse, and naturally, they think all the dead bodies and torture victims are part of the show. Meanwhile, a sheriff and her deputy are investigating a murder. The deputy is the comic relief initially, but the first part of the film is less comedic than I expected. But after the killing and chasing really begin at the funhouse, he and one of our main guys become somewhat of a comic duo. Plus, one of the other guys, who is dressed like Machete, is a blast. He’s also underutilized until near the end of the film.
There’s nothing scary here—not even any real jump scares—but the kills are splat-tastic, the psychos are awesome, and the cast of main characters is refreshingly likeable in this age of horror movies jam-packed with dick kids. There’s even a cameo by an NES light gun, so watch out for it.
Even glaring issues – like there being no line for the funhouse and it being mysteriously empty despite the number of people milling around outside, as well as a bathroom seemingly having no visitors except one victim for at least ten minutes – are just minor unrealistic conveniences used to create a sense of isolation at an event that would be anything but isolated. Not to mention, there are SO many dead bodies, it’s no wonder the place is a…um…ghost town after a while.
PROM RIDE (2015)
If a “found footage” film can keep me watching simply because it throws so much random crap in to move the plot along, I have to give it some appreciation, no matter how much of a train wreck it all is.
Everyone has a camera these days, so we don’t miss a minute of this prom. First, we meet the pretty likeable group of friends on the beach. To ask one of the girls to the prom, one guy and his buddies break into a boy band song and dance number right in the middle of a store where the girls are shopping for dresses.
Once it’s prom time, the kids dance in the limo bus, we get a lesbian kiss, and the black chick in the group drops a reference to fricking Klymaxx’s 1985 club track “Meeting in the Ladies Room” that none of the other kids gets.
And then the limo is hijacked by someone wearing a suit and a mask that could be the design for the Cylons the next time Battlestar Galactica is rebooted.
The killer takes the driver’s seat, the kids are bound to their seats, and the killer barks instructions to them in a Jigsaw voice. They are forced to do humiliating things in front of each other, they are tortured a bit, their nasty little secrets are revealed, blood flows, and eventually, they start to turn on each other and people die.
You’ve seen it all before, but never in a limo!
The found footage aspect is dropped, the twist hits, and then Prom Ride shifts to a police pursuit and media footage firestorm before coming to a sloppy as hell conclusion. Even so, the boy band dance alone delivered much more than I expected from this messy little joyride. Not to mention, the killer makes this hottie strip….