DIRECT TO STREAMING: slashing and slaying with Louisa Warren

I’ve already covered several films from director Louisa Warren because I like her brand of low budget horror, which has a definite retro VHS days feel to it, but she’s so prolific that I suddenly had a bunch of catching up to do—5 films in total!

THE LEPRECHAUN’S GAME (2020)

If you need another movie about a killer leprechaun to fill up your St. Patrick’s Day, The Leprechaun’s Game clones the basics of the iconic series for this low budget slasher, so it lands on the holiday horror page.

Several people that really need money take a job from a rich guy who collects unusual things. This time around he wants a leprechaun’s gold.

Amazingly, the group finds it fairly quickly in the woods. They decide they’re better off keeping the gold than collecting a reward. Big mistake.

Here’s where things get disappointing. The leprechaun is a tall dude in a mask with a deep voice, so I don’t quite get a leprechaun vibe from him. You have to watch this more as a typical slasher film than a leprechaun film.

He systematically goes through the process of hunting down and killing the thieves in a variety of ways, often using magical powers presented with 1980s level computer special effects, so there’s that.

VIRTUAL DEATH MATCH (2020)

Movies in which a group of people is trapped in a controlled environment and has to take on a series of familiar psychos have become a subgenre of their own in the past decade or so, to the point that even Rob Zombie jumped on the bandwagon with his film 31.

This hack ‘n’ slash type horror is good for cheap thrills and delivers plenty of chaos, gore, and gritty grindhouse filters, but it’s just not one of my go-to subgenres because it simply doesn’t deliver on scares, atmosphere, or surprises.

Usually, there isn’t even much in the way of character development, but Louisa Warren tries to address that. This film is all about the characters—a group of individuals desperate for money for a variety of personal reasons. They are lured into a “virtual reality” horror game that turns out to not be virtual at all; die in the game and you die in real life. Delving into the feelings of each and every character actually makes the film too long, and it clocks in at about 110 minutes. Eek!

Even so, there is still plenty of running, screaming, and slashing, as the “players” face off against staples of the genre—scarecrow, evil nuns, clowns—and kudos to Warren for making one of the bad ass clowns a woman!

Much of the film takes place in daylight, and there’s a lot of CGI blood splash, but that tends to be standard for this type of film.

SCARECROW’S REVENGE (2019)

Despite already having a couple of modern day scarecrow films under her belt (Bride of Scarecrow, Curse of the Scarecrow), Warren decided to make another one with a title that sounds totally like a sequel for a movie that totally is not.

Scarecrow’s Revenge is a period piece—blech—about a man who does horrible things to a woman in a Viking town, is banished, then goes to a witch for help in seeking revenge. In exchange for his soul, she makes him into a killer scarecrow.

And so…this turns into a killer scarecrow slasher in a Viking town. That’s really all there is to it. If you like killer scarecrow movies and can cope with all the Viking drama, there’s a scarecrow and there are kills.

The film takes place entirely during daylight in the woods, so it’s not big on spooky atmosphere, and the witch is perhaps a little less witchy than I prefer, but she does ignite with some magical special effects right out of 80s horror.

THE MERMAID’S CURSE (2019)

Before going into this one, you have to come to terms with the fact that the title and promotional art are misleading. There are no mermaids. This is about sirens that roam the beach, singing their seductive songs to lure young men to their deaths.

For a low budget flick, it’s still pretty satisfying, with blood, plenty of kills, sex, and nudity. The opening kill even features a dude with a hot bod getting it.

The sirens have some gnarly face makeup, but they aren’t exceptionally creepy. However, they do essentially bite their victims like vampires.

The main character is a young man doing a story about the rash of male deaths on the beach. He comes upon a wounded siren, assumes she’s just an injured woman, and brings her home, inviting some major trouble into his life.

What was disappointing to me was that his relationship with his roommate is so intense that they really should have been gay together. That also would have given him more motivation for wanting to know why young men are being targeted and would have complicated matters for the siren.

A cool element of the film is that it gives a backstory to the existence of the sirens and ties it into women being accused of and treated as witches back in the day.

TOOTH FAIRY 2: THE ROOT OF EVIL (2020)

This sequel to Tooth Fairy takes place 15 years later.

The opening is a reminder of why I keep coming back for more Louisa Warren horror, with tight camera shots and eerie shadows and horror lighting as the tooth fairy makes her first appearance.

Then we meet our main guy, who was a kid in the first movie and now suffers some serious PTSD. He gets invited to a reunion with friends at a cabin in the woods, where he begins having flashbacks to the first movie and hears the tooth fairy calling to him.

Making matters worse, a couple of the guys really hate him, so they decide to fuck with him by having a séance to summon the tooth fairy. Needless to say…

The tooth fairy is back and just as creepy as the first time. But as the bodies pile up, the group begins to think their weird, delusional friend is behind the murders. It’s a pretty basic supernatural slasher that uses plenty of clichés, even moving much of the action to a cornfield, but as always, Warren makes the best of her limited budget and delivers on the retro vibes, so I had fun with this one.

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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