One masked killer scores spots on both the Halloween and Christmas sections of the holiday horror page with this double feature.
HAUNTED HAY RIDE: THE MOVIE (2008)
This New Jersey film definitely has its cheap homemade movie charm.
The plot is nearly non-existent beyond a group of friends getting ready for Halloween night while the killer is busy hacking up tons of random people at Halloween stores, pumpkin patches, and haunted attractions. Considering the main characters don’t arrive at the scene of the crimes until there are only about 20 minutes left, their biggest dilemma for a majority of the film is that they flushed some good drugs down the toilet.
The killer calls himself Hate, screws a metal skull mask to his face, and tells his first victim, a cop, that he hates all people and feels they should all die. The description of the film references him as a “supernatural killer”, but good luck finding any explanation of that notion in the movie itself. There’s no legend built behind Hate by any of the characters—he’s sort of just there from the beginning killing anyone and everyone.
And that’s about it. There are several montages, mostly set to metal music (always a clear sign a film is made locally), and the montages include shots of the hay ride tour, a girl doing her best Britney Spears impersonation dance, and Hate chasing victims through the woods.
The lack of a cohesive plot or standout characters to carry a story makes the movie drag, even though there are plenty of cheesy death scenes. These are by far the highlight, but they’re not scary. They’re actually kind of funny and it never gets old, because most deaths feature Hate whacking a victim in the head with a machete to what sounds like the snap of a clap board. This is how you give your film a memorable element.
But as entertaining as the repetitive kills are, there’s definitely a money shot—Hate going for a total massacre on the hay ride. Awesome.
HATE’S HAUNTED SLAY RIDE (2010)
It’s a great follow-up title, but there’s no literal sleigh ride in this one—it’s all slay ride.
Picking up during the same holiday season when the first film left off, this sequel has some fun concepts and indie horror moments buried in an unnecessary two-hour running time.
A main girl and main old man that survived the first film are in the hospital. The girl’s mother is running around with a gun looking for justice for what happened to her daughter. The old man is desperate to break free of the hospital to get revenge for what happened to everyone at his Halloween attraction.
Meanwhile, a rabbi is visited by Hate (making this a semi-Chanukah horror flick as well), and he then spends the movie trying to convince the cops that they are dealing with a supernatural killer. They think the killer is the son of the cop murdered in the opening scene of the first film.
Like the first film, this one drags with not much memorable meat in terms of story. It’s unfortunate, because there’s a clever, underdeveloped plot here—Hate is pissed that Halloween is over and everyone is busy getting ready for Christmas. Awesome.
As a result, he spends the final act (aka: not enough of the film) hacking up sidewalk Santas and shoppers rushing home with their treasures. The kills are much gorier this time, but I do miss the constant clap sound of the machete striking victims, which has been replaced with a more natural, mushy sound in this sequel.
Sadly, only the string of kills at the end entertained me, and Hate even makes a flamer joke when lighting one victim on fire. He really is a hater…but at least he has a sense of camp.