STREAM QUEEN: these six slash, but do they satisfy?

Holiday slashers, supernatural slashers, silly slashers. I got a bit of all of it with this streaming marathon, but which ones tickled my slashy bone most?

COTTONTAIL (2017)

 

Damn me for feeling obligated to watch every holiday horror film in existence.

Seriously, just watch any one of the other bad Easter selections on my holiday horror page.

This film is virtually all talk, and most of that is narration by the killer. We never see his face, but we do see his rocking bod during an exercise montage.

While planning his annual “Easter egg hunt” with his fans (called Honey Bunnies) helping, he starts to fall in love with one girl, which realty cuts into his killing time.

So much in fact that there are virtually no kills in the film.

Even the clever setup of Cottontail painting his victim’s body parts like Easter eggs and leaving them in baskets on the steps of the victim’s relatives is quickly forgotten.

FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS (2017)

This is one of those movies that begs the question—is a ruthlessly unlikable main character and a head-spinning chain of events in a film excusable if it’s all explained in a simple, tidy clarification scene at the very end?

The bigger question…will you be able to sit through all those issues to make it to the end? That is the danger for a filmmaker when pulling this kind of plot stunt.

In Friends Don’t Let Friends, a young woman kills her boyfriend, and your first frustration will be that he was a big guy sitting on this wobbly chair, yet when she started choking him from behind, he never bothered to just tip off the chair to take her with him so he could get the upper hand.

In fact, as hard as she’s pulling backwards to choke him, she would have pulled him and the chair over. Well…it’s all excusable if you make it to the end.

She calls three friends to help her come bury the body in the desert, treats them like shit, and won’t give them any explanation as to what happened. Again, excusable if you make it to the end.

After tons of talking, the film actually gets quite creepy for a while as they are hunted down by some sort of mutated version of the dead boyfriend.

But even that simple plot becomes a confusing mess. And you guessed it…it will only be excusable if you make it to the end.

NAILS (2017)

Having just recently seen Cursed to Kill, about a woman trapped in a hospital room where she’s terrorized by a supernatural presence, I kind of wished I’d known this movie existed so I could have made it a double feature blog.

The Nails woman is paralyzed and left voiceless in an accident, so she finds it infuriating when she can’t communicate with anyone that a tall goon is coming out of the closet in her room at night to try to kill her.

The suspension of disbelief blocker for me is…why is this woman in a hospital that looks like it should be in Silent Hill? Don’t they have any lights in this place?

This is total run of the mill supernatural horror for most of its running time. FINALLY, at the very end, the woman’s daughter tries to get her out of the hospital in a wheelchair, and they are chased by the creepy killer, who also slaughters a few other people along the way.

In other words, the entire thrilling supernatural slasher this could have been is jam-packed into the last ten minutes. Although, I did laugh when the killer levitated the paralyzed woman and started rolling her around the walls. That shit looked hilarious.

The main woman in this film looks exactly like Toni Collette when she cries, to the point that I should have just gone to see Hereditary.

 

WHAT LIES BEYOND… THE BEGINNING (2014)

Going into this, it’s helpful to know that the first hour has more of a chill Meatballs comedy feel than horror.

There’s some talk about kids dying a year before on the same excursion a group of college students is going on, but that’s it.

After some dull setup scenes before we actually get to the camp, the film becomes entertaining mostly because the guys are so cute and natural in their banter as they all hope to hook up with some girls…and take care of things themselves when they don’t…

There’s a slow mo dance montage, a major lesbian couple storyline, and the boys getting into adolescent trouble, like stealing one guy’s clothes while he’s showering.

We get hints that someone is filming intimate moments (and we don’t blame them).

55 minutes in, the masked, hooded killer appears. The kills come swiftly and are well shot, but they aren’t particularly scary.

The biggest issue with the film is that after a good surprise twist with the killer, there are fifteen minutes of flashbacks revealing a motivation that has absolutely nothing to do with everything that preceded it. Argh!

RETURN OF THE SCARECROW (2018)

If you’re going to do a low budget comedy slasher, it’s always a good idea to bring something fresh to the mix, as Return of the Scarecrow does time and again.

Yeah, yeah. The plot—kids go camping, killer scarecrow starts hacking them up—sounds as cliché as it gets. But it’s the execution that makes this one a hoot.

After an intro kill and cool scarecrow POV opening credits accompanied by old school 80s style synth horror music, we meet kids heading for a camping trip. Everything seems as predictable as can be…

Then comes a devilish, awesome twist I won’t ruin for you.

We also have some local rednecks that decide to dress up like scarecrows, adding a slapstick comedy duo angle to the situation and complicating things for the scarecrow, as well as a sexy silly sheriff.

The final confrontation with the scarecrow—a lynch mob with pitchforks—had me giggling, plus there’s a great tag after the closing credits, featuring the last person you’d expect…

DEAD END 2 (Dead End Demon) (2017)

Damn. I gotta hand it to director Jordan F. Ghanma. As I wrote here, I liked both the supernatural and slashers elements of his Valentine’s horror Dead End  despite some issues with them fully melding as one.

Not only does he bring the killer from that film back, but he sets this one on Halloween and delivers a tighter slasher…along with some more fun bit silly supernatural stuff.

The first scene alone is perfectly executed and chilling (you just have to overlook the part when the ghost girl blinks).

It could stand on its own as one of these cheap thrill quickie horror shorts you see all over YouTube.

Then we get right into the killer’s return. He is thwarted by a ghost girl, and even though the special effects are a little rough, the gist comes through and it’s pretty dang clever.

Meanwhile, a bunch of girls getting in the mood for Halloween remind us of what happened in the first film. It’s so uncool when one girl bad mouths Halloween III

There are actually several references to classics, including the killer not taking kindly to a dude mistaking him for Jason. The death scenes are all presented well, as long as you’re okay with the fact that many of them are not integral to the main characters, just random people being killed on the streets on Halloween as they encounter the masked psycho…to a Halloween rip-off score.

Finally, we get to our main girl and main detective on the case. A medium helps them track down the killer, and the final confrontation is a goodie, with a rockin’ battle and several clever surprise elements thrown into the killer’s booby trap.

Not to mention, the killer is unmasked and he’s a hottie.

The third film is already on the way, and I’m so there.

 

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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