Easter is around the corner, Fourth of July isn’t…but it’s always good to plan ahead. So here goes.
EASTER BUNNY BLOODBATH (2010)
So far, there hasn’t been a definitive Easter horror flick for me, although my holiday horror page has the ones I’m aware of, as well as a bunch that aren’t officially set on Easter but are about killer bunnies (they should all just be set on Easter, because when the hell else would you watch a movie about a killer bunny?).
I must say, I went into Easter Bunny Bloodbath with no expectations because the trailer looked like awful, amateur shot-on-video crap. The movie ended up surprising me. It’s not exactly a holiday horror classic, but in an odd way, it pulls off a slightly campy exploitation retro slasher spoof. It never tries very hard to be any of the above, yet somehow manages to succeed just enough as a bit of all of the above.
Following the most basic formula, it keeps you watching simply by stringing you along with familiarity, starting by nailing the spirit of the holiday it’s representing. The opening scene has a brother and sister sorting through their Easter candy when someone dressed as the Easter bunny comes knocking on their door…with a cleaver in hand.
Flash to the present (the present being the 80s based on the clothes and the faux metal music). A bunch of friends arrives at a house in the woods, newly inherited by our main guy. Yep, it’s holiday horror with a main guy. And as we get various montages acquainting us with the cast of characters, he keeps catching creepy glimpses of someone in a bunny suit. Cue the eerie music.
While there is some humor here, it’s quick and understated without moving into farce, except for the banjo music that plays whenever the local sheriff comes on screen. Has to be one of the most exhausted redneck jokes ever and I can’t believe this otherwise clever movie went there (I much prefer the more original, dark Easter bunny song the main guy sings to his girlfriend while strumming on his guitar). The film is also smartly subtle in delivering all the usual slasher clichés—we recognize them immediately, yet they don’t feel forced just for the sake of inclusion.
The kills are fun, but gore effects are intentionally cartoonish—predominantly CGI blood splatters hitting the camera lens. Even when the Easter bunny sticks a chick’s face into a boiling pot of water, it comes out pretty much unscathed, so the Easter bunny stomps on her head so CGI blood can hit the camera lens! Yawn.
However, one fun exploitation moment involves male genitalia. I would have loved a little more of that considering they went there…and considering there’s a lesbian couple in the film that gets off relatively easy (and I’m not talking about during their shower scene).
If Easter Bunny Bloodbath had wanted to go for more of a genuine horror feel, a little post-production reworking, such as some suspenseful atmosphere and jump scares, as well as an effective score (the soundtrack is hokey during death scenes) and editing tricks to intensify the kills, could have made this a holiday horror classic.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE (2014)
I really wanted to give You Are Not Alone a chance because it was going for something fresh, but it went from boring me to tears for 53 minutes to pissing me off from like the 55-minute mark to the end.
To avoid the “found footage” label, the entire film is seen through the eyes of our main girl, a young woman home from college on July 4th weekend. For 53 minutes, we hang around town with her as she reconnects with locals and hangs with her two besties, including a guy with a nice chunky butt.
When they go to a fireworks show at the park at night, a very loud announcement is made that two children are missing – Tommy and Lindsey. I assumed it was going to have some significance beyond those being the names of the kids Laurie Strode babysat, but nope. I guess it was just an Easter egg about Halloween on Independence Day.
After the friends go to a party, the main girl walks home alone and the atmosphere suddenly, finally turns very ominous. The really odd thing is, because we’re seeing out her eyes, it feels like she is the killer POV. Trippy. Anyway, she enters her house, and soon after some nicely dressed young man is standing outside.
This film has such potential to be really scary, and it actually is at times, but that’s completely negated by the almost immediate absurdity.
See, this is just some normal dude terrorizing her (he wears a mask for like, a second). She runs to the neighbor’s house for help, and he seems annoyed as she’s all like “Call the police! He’s after me!” There’s a knock at the door and she meekly whispers “no” from the other side of the room while the neighbor goes to open it! WTF? Why isn’t she on top of him and dragging him away from the door? That pretty much finished my tolerance for the film.
But the stupidity doesn’t end there. The killer dude gets her, does a little dance performance for her, and then…places the knife on her! WTF? She picks it up and lightly grazes him with it before running off!
After that, she wanders the town for the rest of the movie. A town on Fourth of July weekend, yet it seems like she’s ALL ALONE. The movie is called You Are NOT Alone. Where the fuck did everyone go after the fireworks at the park? Why doesn’t she go to the police? And why does the killer dude keep finding her? He’s not Michael fricking Myers. He’s just a dude. And why when she goes back to her house does her brother immediately cower behind a couch when she barely manages to tell him some random dude is coming for her? And why when the killer dude comes in the house and starts to fight the brother does she run out of the house and leave her brother to perhaps lose the fight?
Bitch, the killer dude is just a DUDE and he’s on your turf and there are two of you. WTF? I can’t with this movie. I really can’t.