From George A. Romero to Danielle Harris, I take on two horror flicks that aren’t even a blip on the radar despite iconic names in the horror genre.
I can see why George A. Romero opted to cash in on his zombie success after Bruiser. Once again trying to make a point in a horror film, he seems to have wanted to create a smart, meaningful masked killer flick during the post-Scream slasher revival. Filmmakers need to stop trying to break that already perfect mold. Seriously.
Bruiser ends up being more of a drama/revenge flick. There’s this man who gets treated like shit by everyone—his boss, his wife, his best friend. He wakes up one morning with a plain white mask permanently stuck to his face. So he sets out to kill all those who made him a doormat, leading to a movie that, just like the “brilliantly satirical” Dawn of the Dead, doesn’t exactly thrill as a horror movie. After all, we are following the killer around. We know his every move. We feel no sympathy for his victims. And…he gets in a gunfight with his best friend in a locker room. Ugh. The killer having daydreams about killing people seems a desperate attempt to add some gore to the film and give it some horror cred.
And just like Dawn of the Dead, the message is hammered into your head. The killer is named “Faceless” by the public. He says things like, “I’m working on my image” and expresses his excitement at getting his face back as a result of standing up for himself. Romero still thinks we dumb horror film watchers need everything explained to us ad nauseam.
Tom Atkins as a detective in Bruiser looks something like this.
Horror fave Tom Atkins appears (and is wasted) as a detective (as usual). And while the majority of the film is serious, all of a sudden, in the last half hour of the film, it feels like a farcical slasher. There’s a big costume party loaded with sex, drugs, the Misfits showing off their rockin’ bods as they perform on stage, and slam dances turning into slapstick fights. It might sound stupid, but it’s the most entertaining part of the movie. If only the entire film had been this enjoyable. Bruiser even closes with a punk cover version of a-ha’s “Take On Me” (not by The Misfits)
As unique as Romero was trying to make his film, it seems like in the end, he really wanted to fit in with the new horror crowd….
GHOST OF GOODNIGHT LANE (2014)
Ghost of Goodnight Lane is the story of a haunted little indie film studio. The opening scene features Richard “Big Bad Wolf” Tyson and introduces us to the creepy crawly ghost girl haunting the place. There’s a weird old lady with some knowledge of what happened at the studio in the past. There’s a music box that appears and disappears regularly. And there’s some sort of portal into another dimension!
This may be a goofy low-budget indie, but I’ll admit that the creepy crawly ghost girl made me jump a few times. There’s an eerie soundbooth scene. Freaky looking dolls start to move. Lights go out and thunder and lightning pick up the slack. There’s some brutal self-mutilation. There’s possession. A majority of the characters live. And the final scene is downright silly.
This is definitely a cheesy ghost film, but the cast rules and totally elevates it to a quirky horror comedy.
Billy Zane is brilliant (as always) and Danielle Harris is surprisingly underused and actually takes a turn as a secondary, ditzy character instead of a leading lady. Mean Girls alum Lacey Chabert is adorable, as is Kyle XY alum Matt Dallas. They’re so pretty together you can barely tell them apart….
I could see Ghost of Goodnight Lane getting loads of hate. But not from me. This one gets horror movie party status in my house.