Inching closer and closer to completing my goal of blogging about every horror movie in my collection (short of major horror films that have been talked to death), I’m focusing on franchises. So it’s time to take on the Rest Stop franchise, which only scored one sequel.
REST STOP (2006)
Revisiting this one for only the second time in the decade plus that it’s been in my collection, I’d say the best thing about it is the numerous wrenches thrown into an otherwise generic plot.
A young woman runs away from home with her boyfriend, and after an awesome sex scene you just don’t see in horror anymore, they take a pee break at a rest stop.
But when the girl comes out of the bathroom, her boyfriend is gone, and so is their car.
Then an unseen nut in a pickup truck starts to terrorize her. She’s in the middle of nowhere, so it’s a cat and mouse game around the rest stop bathroom and a small parks office.
To complicate matters, a few equally terrorized people show up, which adds a body count, and even Joey Lawrence scores a role in the film.
But the most gruesome scenes come through flashbacks and conveniently accessible videos of the killer torturing victims.
There’s one thing that makes this film stand out—the psycho family in an RV that the main girl encounters, whose matriarch is the sorely overlooked horror queen Diane Salinger (Creature, Dark House, Slay Belles). Her freaky family includes her Bible thumping husband, a couple of psychosexual boy twins, and a deformed little person in a wheelchair. Awesome.
While the family’s appearance is disappointingly not a major plot point, the creators seemed to realize just how compelling they are, because the DVD includes a segment showing us exactly what goes on in their RV when no one is watching. It’s shocking to me that these creeps never got their own full-length feature. Their presence on the DVD is the only thing that made this one—originally an impulse buy—a movie that I kept in my horror collection. What solidified it remaining there was the sequel…
REST STOP: DON’T LOOK BACK (2008)
They’re not the total focus of the film, but the freaky family is back and more concisely woven into the story of the pickup truck nut.
Fully tying into the first film and the freaky family bonus material on the DVD, everything about this sequel is more entertaining—despite it making the backstory an overblown mess.
Seriously, this sequel morphs the story into a backwoods supernatural slasher ghost torture porn that even tosses in some humor. Holy shit, someone deserves a medal for pulling it off.
An absolute god back from serving our country is the brother of the boyfriend from the first movie, who is still missing.
So the god sets out with his girlfriend and goofy buddy to retrace the route his brother and girlfriend took.
Pretty soon the trio gets separated at the rest stop, where they are each terrorized by the pickup nut and the freaky family. But it gets even more insane than that.
The main girl from the first film is back but played by a pretty good look-alike. The original boyfriend is back, played by the same actor.
There’s a gross-out Porta Potty scene, a ghost fuck session, and grisly mutilation and torture in a lair.
And the final battle feels like something out of The Hills Have Eyes. This ridiculous movie saves the series, so it’s unfortunate it never got the sequel the ending promises, especially since the god’s acting career pretty much ended after this film.