I’m always excited when new Blu-rays land in my lap, so let’s see how I felt after I moved Hanukkah and Dead Dicks from my lap to my Blu-ray player.
I can’t believe I waited so long for my pre-order Blu-ray of this film to arrive (nearly a year at this point)…and this is the movie I got.
Here are the bright sides: a) it’s the first major Hanukkah horror movie for my holiday horror page, b) it features appearances by the likes of the late Sid Haig, the late Dick Miller, PJ Soles, and Caroline Williams, and c) occasionally there’s some funny banter that actually works (mostly gay banter between straight guys).
Other than that, this film has no clear trajectory, no tangible characterization, and a weird dichotomy between goreless, off-screen slasher kills vs. bloody torture scenes back at the killer’s lair (which taught me that peeling Nazi tattoos off skinheads is one of the best ways to celebrate the holiday).
After a sleazy scene involving Sid Haig, Caroline Williams in a tub, and a little boy, there’s a fun opening kill featuring funny indie horror director James Balsamo making anal quips then muff-diving, so I had high hopes for this as a slasher.
The proper setup is established. A bunch of friends goes to party at a house and have sex (mostly lesbian sex).
Funny horror girl Sadie Katz (Blood Feast remake, Party Bus to Hell, Wrong Turn 6) is totally underutilized, and should have been the main girl, but the film fails to even have a final girl—or any other clear signs of slasher structure. It doesn’t help that she’s a bitch; she sent her boyfriend to go have dinner with her mother so she could go party and cheat on him.
Her mother is played by PJ Soles, whose “Sole” purpose in the film seems to be so she can deliver some of her classic lines from Halloween. Totally.
Meanwhile, the killer tortures people at the lair and also shows up at the house to kill off the kids. Once in a while a dreidel is the calling card, but not even that remains consistent.
It is rather fun when the killer has a run-in with Santa…
Over an hour in, a rabbi character shows up to act like Dr. Loomis in Halloween, finally offering up some sort of backstory. The social and religious commentary feels a bit forced at times even though it tries to deliver it with humor, and the actors don’t even seem to know what to do with it.
It all culminates in a big mess of unfinished business, with a rambling rabbi giving a long sermon dripping with loose ends.
And finally, this way too long, 105-minute movie suffers from excessive padding and awkwardly delivered dialogue with way too many pauses in between exchanges, which drags it down even more. I simply don’t understand how filmmakers don’t watch the final cut of their film and realize that it needs to be cut even more.
It’s a lot of responsibility to take on, but if you’re planning on making the definitive “Hanukkah” horror film, title and all, it simply has to live up to all the great holiday horror films that have come before it, and this one doesn’t. Here’s hoping someone can rectify that with a film called 8 Killer Nights or Menorah.
DEAD DICKS (2019)
There are too many jokes I could drop here, so I’ll just say one thing to make your dick rise from the dead…there are two dicks on display in this dark comedy horror film. They’re also on display in the images below.
This is a trippy film about a dude trying to commit suicide in his apartment but failing miserably. There’s a reason why, which he discovers when he calls his sister to come over…
There’s a huge vagina in the wall over his bed. Every time he attempts to kill himself, he wakes up to find he did succeed in killing a version of himself, but he’s still alive. The bodies are piling up, and he needs his sister’s help in doing something about it.
She unwillingly gets sucked into his dilemma, and as they try to work it out in macabre ways, the film becomes a character study about them and their relationship. Even so, it never gets so heavy that it loses sight of the humor and horror of the predicament.
Great performances, a couple of surprises, and some twisted visuals make Dead Dicks hard to take your eyes off.