Here are 2 backwoods horror flix that are pretty derivative. So naturally, I’m a fan of both.
In the tradition of movies like From Dusk Till Dawn, Dead Birds, and Malevolence, the premise of 2008’s The Cottage is that a bunch of guys up to no good suddenly find themselves in the middle of a horror movie.
This British film has a very LONG black comedy beginning and “character development” so you can get to know and like the nice chaps who’ve taken a chick hostage for a ransom, bringing her to a cottage in the middle of nowhere. Throw in two Asian hit men and a bunch of bumbling kidnapper humor, and you have a film that some might think is really funny, but one that begins to wear thin pretty fast for those of us who know this eventually becomes a horror movie and are (im)patiently waiting for the blood to hit the fan.
When the fun finally begins, this becomes a comedy horror goody, with your usual ugly creepazoid killer hacking and slashing everyone into gory pieces. For me, the tone of the humor actually works better in the horror segment. This is typical Hatchet silliness, so you’re caught between giggling and Oh-ing and Ah-ing loudly at the over-the-top brutality.
If you’ve watched all the typical backwoods horror standards, you’ll know what to expect here, and I personally never get tired of familiar territory and more of the same. But there are some surprises. For starters, you can’t really predict who’s going to die, and characters you’d expect to live don’t make it. Plus—there’s only ONE woman in the whole film! But this is no David DeCoteau homoerotic master(bate)piece, so they simply have to throw in a tittie bar scene at the beginning of the film to restore hetero balance.
I just wish the first part of the film had been shorter and more time had been spent on the horror segment, because it seems to be over before it’s even begun. Oh. And make sure to watch the entire closing credits (aka: fast forward) to see the tag, which is nothing more than a really bad open-ending for a sequel.
Meanwhile, 2010’s Mask Maker is a total rehack…I mean, rehash…of every other backwoods slasher ever. For his girlfriend’s birthday, a really cute college kid buys her a HOUSE in the middle of nowhere. And it was only ten grand—which every college kid has laying around. As always, if I were the one being brought to this house, I would immediately say, “that’s some Texas Chainsaw shit right there. Take me home NOW or I’ll walk.” Unlike me, the couple instead invites a bunch of friends to fix up the derelict house that comes complete with filthy dishes and furniture and a pig head covered in flies in the fridge. Really? You don’t see any red flags here?
The cute guy also finds a cemetery in their yard. There’s some sort of Indian symbolic ceremonial spear stick thing in the ground—so he pulls it out. Uh-oh. The best part of this scene is the cheap scare when he’s grabbed from behind by a creepy electrician who tells the cute guy he’s a sensitive type that he is going to “turn on.” Moments later, cute guy gets poked in the back and lifts his shirt to show off some nice torso and some ass cleavage. Yeah, this film is gay-okay by me. One of the female characters even mentions how guys like getting a finger stuck up their butt….
Of course, the house has a back story—and we get some clues of trouble from none other than Michael Berryman, the famous bald cannibal fellow from the original The Hills Have Eyes. He’s a nice guy working at a store this time, and one of his fellow employees is a man who also seems to know about the house’s past—and he intends to do something about keeping the evil from coming back to life. We get the scoop on the deformed killer’s history through flashback footage starring always-cute Treat Williams. The funny thing is, this flashback footage looks like something out of the 1600s, but it’s probably only supposed to be like 20 or 30 years before. I kid you not, you feel like you’re watching The Crucible, yet some of the modern day characters are part of the flashback events!
Naturally, there’s also a diary the girls find in the house that offers even more unsettling information. Yet everyone starts separating to screw. Yay! We get to see boobs (including some really big areolas), and some pretty nasty kills—most often in the barn, which seems the number one place to get fucked and killed.
The most awesome part is, like all awesome backwoods killers with gnarly faces, the Mask Maker wears the faces of his victims as masks. This predictable unfolding of events features a couple of hot chase scenes, and in a last ditch effort to stop the insanity, the lead girl wears the dress once worn by the killer’s mother. It’s like coming home! And of course, there’s the promise of Mask Maker 2: More Mask Making. Plus, the film leaves you pondering the age old question: When a girl sitting in a tub with her eyes closed suddenly feels a dirty grimy hand twice the size of her boyfriend’s caressing her, why does she always just smile with pleasure and keep her eyes closed???