Each of these three psycho killer flicks—horror comedy, cabin in the woods slasher, and found footage—cover various styles and subgenres. And have notable moments, but none of them fully won me over. Here’s the good and the bad of each.
HOT BLOOD SUNDAE (aka: ICE CREAM: The Remix) (2008)
When a guy opens an adult ice cream shop, the bikini babes working the place begin getting offed by a masked killer. Based on that plot and the poster art, you kind of assume you’d know what to expect, right? However, instead of being an all-out sexploitation horror spoof, Hot Blood Sundae offers a weird balance of silly, sexy, and scary that just doesn’t gel. After an awesome opener that’s right on target—a blonde babe showering gets stabbed to death with an ice cream cone—the film becomes strangely uneven.
There’s plenty of T&A, including a montage of the girls getting naked to slip into their scant uniforms while dancing and smacking their asses, as well as a whipped cream fight montage to a hip hop song. It probably feels completely normal to young audiences that have grown up on hip hop horror montages, but personally, I prefer 80s synthpop horror montages.
In terms of humor, the scenes of pervy customers coming into the store should be funny but fall flat because they don’t offer anything new, the ditzy banter of half-naked girls’ tickles neither of my bones, and their constant “campy” screaming becomes painfully annoying. The sheriff that comes to investigate the bodies is closer to a natural comic addition to the film, but still doesn’t deliver any good laughs.
The plot consists of girls just randomly walking into the killer’s lair and getting slaughtered, after which some of the other girls find their bodies in the freezer and call in the police. Rinse and repeat.
The death scenes are the highlight—yet totally out of place. The setups and tone feel right out of genuine slasher films, from the dark shadows to camera angles and killer POV. The killer wears an ominous Hawaiian mask, and the murders are fantastically gruesome and gory. Raucous rock music becomes the soundtrack to a majority of the death scenes, spoiling the atmosphere, but it does work well with the chaotic and brutal nature of the kills, complete with choppy editing and a flashing strobe effect. Then out of nowhere, completely shattering the vicious style the death scenes have established, a girl is knocked to the floor in a puddle of blood and just writhes around sexually while screaming (when all she needs to do is get up) while the killer giddily pours ice cream toppings all over her.
Chase scenes are nonexistent, but the chick that emerges as the final girl does a good job of beating the fuck out of the killer. Then the last scene falls apart. A clown comes out of nowhere to shoot the killer, we learn who’s behind the mask, and the absurd identity of the person in the clown costume is revealed, after which the movie abruptly ends.
THE KILLING OF JACOB MARR (2010)
The Killing of Jacob Marr is the slasher classic that almost was. Its major flaw is that it runs excessively long at an hour and fifty minutes, causing the appreciation of its slow burn to turn into anxious boredom at about the one-hour mark.
Beginning in 1985 with a kid playing Missile Command, the movie immediately scored huge points with me. His father tells him to turn off the video game and go chop wood. When something crashes into the forest, the kid investigates and finds a cantaloupe-sized rock thingy. He touches it and…well…it mysteriously causes him to chop more than his dad’s wood. The first splash of gore is just as promising as the old Atari game.
Next, we meet a modern day group of friends heading to a cabin in the woods (if only the 80s could have been modern day forever). Amongst this small, likeable group is a guy who seems to have a man crush on his married buddy. His friends attempt numerous times to get him to just admit he’s gay for the guy, and his reactions to their suggestions are a blast. He’s my favorite character in the film.
The guys are into horror, so the film includes meta references that fans can appreciate. The look and tone at the cabin also seem to be a nod to Evil Dead, providing some great, unsettling atmosphere. Unfortunately, atmosphere is all we get for a majority of the film! One couple experiences something in the woods, but it’s a cutaway moment to keep us wondering. A delirious chick shows up at the cabin, but they can’t get any info out of her so they let her rest. Then they pretty much sit and voice their concerns about their predicament for a majority of the film!
Finally—and suddenly—shit gets insane! It’s a shame the movie waited ninety-minutes to get to this point. A creepy, white-eyed killer comes virtually out of nowhere and wreaks some fantastically gory havoc! Talk about a change in pacing. The last 20 minutes fly by with nonstop thrills. Just don’t expect any explanation as to why that little rock thingy created a killer. And the man crush guy never comes out either.
It’s seriously heartbreaking that such a top-notch final sequence is buried way at the end of this movie. I fear most viewers will give up before getting to it.
Taking a cue from movies such as the found footage film The Last Horror Movie and Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, found footage film Cut/Print follows two very cute, aspiring filmmakers who want to make a film documenting an active serial killer. Promising anonymity, they hit up the Internet to find their star.
The guys are simultaneously annoying and charming, so you kind of get sucked in. They receive a videotape with footage of the killer—a very thin freak with a makeshift mask over his face—committing his crimes.
His lair is covered in tarp and filled with mannequins, and we see footage throughout of him terrorizing his female victims as he prepares to kill them for the camera. There’s some disturbing footage, but it’s not excessively torture pornish. Just when I would think I wasn’t going to be able to continue watching a scene, he’d just have mercy on his victim. Also interspersed throughout the film are clips of what is apparently the killer’s messed up childhood.
The killer essentially begins fucking with the filmmakers, arranging meetings at various secluded locations. The guys eventually report what they find, but the detective (horror icon Ken Foree) doesn’t take them seriously. The scenes with authorities are almost unnecessary, but they do deliver two random scenes of hotness—a studly cop with his pants down and shirtless hunks.
The majority of Cut/Copy is nothing you haven’t seen before, but it’s definitely watchable and has some good gritty horror elements. But really, it’s about the money shot. The guys eventually find the killer’s lair. While it may play out like your typical chaotic found footage ending, there is a final, horrendous on-camera kill that is seriously a must-see for any respectable horror fan.