I originally intended to save Massacre on Aisle 12 for a roundup blog of Christmas horror for 2017, but after watching OMG…We’re in a Horror Movie and seeing the similarities – and drastic differences – between the two films, I decided to pair them together instead.
Both are indie horror comedies about a group of people who land in horror scenarios that are mostly of their own making. So why does one film work spectacularly while the other one was a chore to get through?
OMG…WE’RE IN A HORROR MOVIE (2016)
The cheeky title of this film tells you right off that it intends to be a self-aware, self-referential experience. Therefore, it is unfortunate that running jokes about horror tropes never stop running. Actually, they don’t run, they drag…on and on and on as if concerned that the audience just might not get the joke yet. A huge suggestion to all writers – if your horror movie runs longer than 90 minutes (this one is 107 minutes), chances are it is not because everything needs to be there. It’s more likely because a) there are too many redundancies, and/or b) you like the sound of your own creativity. Believe me, I know. Which is why I really need to try to make this blog brief.
While enjoying a game night together, a group of friends – a mix of white, black, Asian, straight, gay – is suddenly shocked to hear a voiceover for a movie trailer…the trailer for a horror movie that stars them.
Quickly coming to terms with their new reality, they begin recognizing their undoubted roles in the film – the white guy and girl know they will be the stars, three black friends realize there’s no way they are all lasting until the end, etc. And so they formulate plans for survival based on the rules of horror.
There is a masked killer, but that’s the least of their concerns. They all decide that the only way to stay alive is to make sure that the characters most likely to stay alive in a horror movie die first! So they begin turning on each other.
I love the concept, the guys are cute, there’s some gay camp, and there are glimmers of comic gold. And the cast, which includes director/writer/star Ajale Bandele, makes an incredibly valiant effort to elevate the material to the level of quick and quirky that is its intent. But there’s too much material for it to be quick, and there are some great moments, there’s not enough wickedly clever material for it to be consistently quirky. An entire movie meant to be a horror cliché spoof becomes predominantly a stream of horror cliché spoof clichés. Are you following me here?
And like I said, the jokes go on forever. The black guys continuously debate the roles of black people in horror movies. The white guy persistently tries to convince the Asian lesbian that she’ll survive longer if they bump off the white girl and she sleeps with him.
When two of the survivors make a getaway in a vehicle, the drive goes on for soooooo long that the part of my brain that loves to be entertained jumped in a getaway vehicle and took off without me, leaving me to die a slow, painful death.
But I’ll tell you who wouldn’t die: the cast. Because those who are killed come back…as zombies, which in itself adds some new fun and humor to the mix. If only the mixing had gone on for about 80 minutes instead of 107.
Damn, that was longer than I planned. But it’s so fricking good I’m not editing out a single word.
MASSACRE ON AISLE 12 (2016)
It’s safe to say that I must see the upcoming film 6:66 P.M., because it involves virtually the same team that made this film, and this one is an instant classic for me.
What does horror-based comedy Massacre on Aisle 12 do right? It has a smart, funny as hell script with no lag. Attention is given to every aspect of the humor, from over-the-top moments to the subtlest nuances. And the cast is flawless—everyone gets comedy and does it right.
On Christmas Eve, a fricking adorable as hell young man comes to work at a hardware store.
The zany manager (the film’s co-writer Chad Ridgely, who needs to be a comedy star ASAP) introduces him to all the quirky employees, including the store Santa and his slutty elf, the war damaged janitor, the resident bitchy girl, the obligatory black guy, the druggy, and the queenie head honcho in charge.
Shit gets out of hand fast after closing, when they discover a big toolbox in aisle 12 filled with money…and a dead body.
Members of the staff immediately begin vacillating between suspecting each other of being the murderer and plotting to cover it up and keep the money.
This ignites a comedy of errors as paranoia leads to catastrophe, all trust is broken, and everyone is plunged into a bloody – and hilarious – game of cat and mouse.
Plus, we get to see the hottie leading man’s ass that seems to be about gay predatory behavior but is more about gay panic.
I’m counting the minutes until 6.66 P.M.
There. Now that is how you get to the point in a movie blog.