So much trash to choose from on Amazon Prime, so I don’t choose. I just watch them all! Therefore, I give you my thoughts on the 3 horror comedies I watched this weekend.
1 DEAD PARTY (2013)
Director/writer Matty Castano makes the best of his low budget by delivering a script that’s actually funny and doesn’t depend on special effects. The lead and focus of the film, actor James Hollis III, has a comic ability that totally energizes the film, and he perfectly nails the black comedy tone. He also has a real perty mouth…
On top of that, the other two main guys are also fricking adorable…and one of them is director Matty Castano. Yowsah.
The plot has a husband fighting with his bitch wife as they are preparing to host a 90s-themed dinner party. A terrible accident causes the wife’s death right before the first guests appear, so the husband hides the body and goes through with the gathering.
But he soon begins to suffer a “Tell-Tale Heart” type breakdown as the eclectic group of guests – a sex obsessed couple, the wife’s Satanist cousin, and a newly engaged couple – banter back and forth. And then…people start dying.
Although a large part of the running time is heavily dialogue driven, I Dead Party is loaded with crass, tasteless, and dark humor, and the cast knows how to deliver it perfectly. Just the wife’s dying moments alone are comedy gold.
There are plenty of 90s references, including Trent Reznor envy, and one of the guys subtly suggests hooking up with the husband (with guys this cute, I’m surprised they all didn’t ditch their women to have a threesome).
The death scenes all come rapidly near the end of the film, and it would have benefited the pacing and the comic possibilities of the main character’s dilemma if the killing had started a bit earlier, but the horror comedy is spot on once it begins. To top it off, the final twist is so much horror fun that I wouldn’t hesitate in watching a full-fledged Matty Castano horror film. Or a porn.
RAGNAROCK’S CABIN (2014)
Running only 62 minutes long, low budget indie Ragnarock’s Cabin doesn’t break any new ground as a backwoods slasher spoof, and the plot is so convoluted that not even a few pretty good laughs were enough to keep me in it.
A couple heads to a cabin in the woods only to discover there was a mix up and another group of people is already there. The newlyweds decide to stay until the next day, so they sleep in their car…which is when we’re presented with a stuffed animal that seems to be alive and plays a significant role in the film. I never quite got its purpose.
For a while, people go missing…but then reappear. A completely unrelated couple is killed in the woods by someone in a hoodie. The killer is pretty effective, but since the focus here is on comedy, the horror of the killer is downplayed.
The girls at the cabin fight and the guys just watch, leading to a fantasy catfight montage. Eventually, more people disappear, and pretty soon there’s chaos as everyone’s running from the killer and dying in a sea of bad CGI blood.
Then it seems another random killer shows up, but that’s not even the final twist. Really, I was very confused and just couldn’t stay interested enough to figure it all out. However, two of the burly boys were really cute and good with comic timing.
I was hoping they would go off into the woods alone together – the twist Ragnarock’s Cabin needed to keep my attention.
TOXIC APOCALYPSE (2016)
With opening credits featuring a city montage, song, and font that all seem right out of 1984, Toxic Apocalypse appeared destined to be a winner for me. Unfortunately, it only began winning in the final 20 minutes!
A guy named Danny (awesome) goes undercover at a research facility after his scientist father disappears. There’s a subplot about baddies and a toxic substance being marketed to the public, but none of it is easy to follow. Danny saves a woman from some muggers, she joins him in trying to find out the truth, and we get some light romance thrown in as well.
The amazing soundtrack that perfectly imitates the sounds of the 80s aside, Toxic Apocalypse plods along for over an hour without getting anywhere. There was seriously a point when I said to my hubby, “Um…I don’t think this is going to be a zombie comedy at all.” There were no zombies, and there was little in the way of funny humor.
Then all of a sudden, there are wild grindhouse style shootouts followed by a breakout in the facility.
Although it’s mostly a case of infected crazies and not zombies, Toxic Apocalypse finally finds its 80s horror comedy throwback groove, with plenty of humor, a combo of over-the-top CGI and practical gore effects, lots of action, and Danny and his new girl as a lovable hero pair. I just wish all the campy zombedy fun hadn’t been crammed into the last 20 minutes.