Maxine Bahns, John Schneider, Andrew Bowen. Scarred, Smothered, Conjurer. Three names, three movies, and the horror ties that bind them together!
It always comes back to me getting my jollies from the most simplistic, trashiest horror selections in the bunch. This time, it’s a crazy, faceless woman in the woods!
After the initial sex and scares intro scene, we meet a family – dad, Maxine Bahns as the stepmom , son, daughter, and her friend – heading into the woods for a weekend of camping.
A cute park ranger stops by their campfire to say hello, and launches into a gruesome tale of the legend of the scar-faced woman.
And that’s all there is to it. The family members retire to their tents, but of course the kids sneak out to go have some fun. Pretty soon, the slashing and screaming begin.
Scar-faced chick is cheesy creepy awesome, is a pro at making surprise appearances to scare her victims, has a lair filled with human masks, and grotesquely likes to try them on.
While the first few face peels are only shown after the deed is done, we get to witness a fully detailed procedure near the end of the film. It is fucking heinous.
And finally, I fricking love how the main girl handles her confrontation with scar-faced woman, plus the final scare might seem so hokey if you’re watching the film at home, but I’ll bet it was the perfect ending to liven up an audience at film festivals.
8 years after co-directing the cult favorite anthology Terror Tract, Clint Hutchinson returned with his own full-length feature about a couple that moves into a house in the country—and for a change, it’s the husband that begins to believe some seriously weird shit is going on.
This film is the glue that holds this blog together thanks to its cast. Andrew Bowen (Holidays, Big Bad Wolf) is the husband and Maxine Bahns is the wife, with Hazzard hottie John Schneider in a minor role as the brother who hooks her up with the place.
While exploring a creepy shed/cabin on their property, Bowen gets cut on teeth stuck in the doorframe, and begins having nightmares about the structure.
As he experiences more and more strange occurrences, he learns about a Civil War-era history of witchcraft on the land, making his daytime sighting of a witchy figure in the woods the most chilling scene in the movie.
On the positive side, it’s more witch than we get in that Blair Witch mess from back in the day, but after that brief glimpse filled me with so much dread for what was to come, Bowen spends most of the movie fighting crows and losing his shit.
I think maybe if I took that sighting in the woods scene and slapped it onto the end of Blair Witch, the result might actually be one full witch movie worth watching.
But seriously, there is one other brief encounter with the witch in full force during the climatic moments of the film, but by then it feels sort of obligatory.
And finally, there’s Smothered. I have no idea what sparked John Schneider of all people to create such a project. Sure, he’s gotten into some cheeky SyFy horror in recent years, but he isn’t exactly ingrained in the genre.
Damn, I just want to hang from that nipple by my teeth for the rest of my life. Well, unless John dies before me. There’s no air six feet under.
John writes and directs this film about a group of very specific horror names ditching a horror convention and taking a job working at a trailer park haunt. It’s kind of like The Expendables of horror pre-Death House, the self-proclaimed one that’s on its way.
If only it were as fun as it sounds.
On board the RV for this road trip is Kane Hodder (Jason in Friday the 13th films), R.A. Mihailoff (Leatherface in Texas Chainsaw Massacre III), Bill Moseley (Chop-Top in Texas Chainsaw Massacre II), Don Shanks (unmasked Michael Myers in Halloween V), and Malcolm Danare, who spends the film arguing that he’s not really a horror icon because he only appeared in Christine (although he actually also appeared in Popcorn and made a major impression in The Curse when he showed off his hairy buns).
As a bonus, Andrew Bowen makes a brief appearance shirtless in a sex scene at the beginning of the film. Delicious. I guess he owed John some sort of favor after they appeared together in Conjurer…
While it’s fun watching the playful banter and self-deprecating humor as these guys all basically play themselves, it’s incomprehensible that Schneider made a film with such a potential-loaded plot that goes absolutely nowhere.
After a couple of pit stops on the way to the trailer park haunting location, the crew spends all their time hanging at the RV doing I don’t even know what.
Honestly, they never even get to the haunting part. I got so bored, I couldn’t even stay focused. Okay, the boredom added to my inability to stay focused…
Not helping matters is the fact that this non-story also pulls the time shift stunt, so when people eventually start dying, shit gets really confusing because suddenly they’re alive again…then dead again…then alive again.
It’s over an hour into the movie before someone is actually killed directly by the murderer on screen – I think…unless I missed something while I was busy wondering what I should watch next while trying to swat this gnat that has been in my house all summer and seems to find the front of my face no matter what room I’m in. At least the kill pays off, because it involves use of a wire and it is gnarly.
Only Kane Hodder gets a chance to play like he’s in an actual horror movie, facing off against the killer in the end. If only the rest of the film could have captured the spirit of Kane’s big final guy scene.