A couple of recent films super handsex…I mean, handsome…Zack Ward appeared in and also helped create have been on my “to see” list for a while. They finally hit Prime, igniting my OCD. So I checked out any and all horror films he’s been in that I hadn’t yet seen. That only amounted to two other films, both of which were also on Prime! So let’s get to these four, taking it chronologically.
THE CLUB (1994)
The Club is like a cross between a Full Moon film and Night of the Demons. In other words, a great gothic set is wasted on a lot of silly nonsense…and also used perfectly for some awesome demon scenes. Ah, mid-90s horror.
We are dropped right into the middle of a pretty damn amazing prom. It’s like something out of The Masque of the Red Death. The kids are all having their own personal dramas, and Zack in particular is a total dick, not having yet escaped his Scut Farkus past.
Then the totally inappropriate guidance counselor (horror veteran Kim Coates) clashes with a mysterious outsider, causing time to stand still and most of the students to disappear, leaving a handful trapped in the building. The mysterious outsider begins to mess with their minds, subjecting them to supernatural experiences.
The problem is, most of the time we don’t see shit! Honestly, I had no idea exactly what these kids were running and screaming from for a majority of the film. Eventually, the mysterious outsider, played by actor JH Wyman (Prom Night IV) camps it up fantastically as he reveals his evil intentions.
This is also when Zack goes totally demon…and shirtless! Linnea Quigley’s demon tits have nothing on Zack’s. Someone hand me the lipstick.
I can’t believe how long it takes for someone to turn demon, how extreme the demon design goes, how awesome a demon role reversal twist is…and that the film does not stick with a clear, concise demon concept.
Instead, it’s the usual convoluted 90s mess of uneven tone, terrible pacing, and schizo narrative.
END OF THE ROAD (aka: 1,2, 3…Scream!) (2011)
End of the Road was on my “to see” list for ages and never seemed to hit any streaming service. Little did I know it was on Amazon Prime…under the title 1, 2, 3…Scream!
Consider this one a bonus in this blog because Zack is only in the opening scene…for about 2 minutes. He plays Zack playing a role in a movie being shot. I so want to lick that red-dyed corn syrup off his head.
The rest of the movie is about a couple of guys from that film set who head off to work on a ghost hunter reality show at a supposedly haunted house.
Honesty, it’s hard to even call this a horror film.
After boring introductions of all the characters staying in the house, the movie is about a crazy person on the show’s crew forcing them at gunpoint to exploit tragedy to make the show a hit.
What I’m saying is, there are no ghosts in this film. It’s lame. It’s really lame. The twist ending isn’t enough to save it.
For this ghost film, Zack gets behind the camera (sure wish I was a camera), but he also has a role in the film. However, he isn’t the lead. He’s just the neighbor of the main couple that moves into a new home.
Zack and his wife are the welcome wagon and give the couple some minor background on what happened in the house before they moved in. But there’s more to the story, which the couple learns from a little girl’s diary they find in the walls.
The little girl starts to appear to them. They both start to snap. Their marriage becomes strained. They research the history of the house. They visit a crazy old lady in a home who may shed some light on the sinister truth.
It all seems about as derivative and predictable as these supernatural/haunting films get…but then come the twists.
Restoration even steps into home invasion territory and gets surprisingly violent!
Plus, Zack, whose role was minimal throughout the film, takes charge to amp up the intensity of the final act, which elevates this one above the heap of forgettable films about young couples moving into haunted homes.
Zack is the co-writer of Bethany with the film’s director, James Cullen Bressack (of To Jennifer fame). Zack seems to be on a role, making seemingly generic haunted house flix that take wickedly fucked up turns at the end.
This time, Zack is the leading man, moving with his wife into her childhood home. His wife is played by Stefanie Estes (The Chosen, Slit Mouth Woman in LA, Apocalypse LA, The Bunnyman Massacre). She suffers from some serious PTSD being back in the house.
Memories of her mentally abusive mother (played by Shannon Doherty) haunt her. And freaky hallucinations and supernatural occurrences convince her that her imaginary childhood friend Bethany is somehow manifesting in the house.
A majority of the horror comes down to the usual—visions the wife has of things that aren’t really there, from bugs in food to Grudge girl rip-off territory.
Oh, fuck me on a crawl space ceiling…
But it’s important to pay attention to the slowly building backstory of her childhood as shown in flashbacks and visions, because it all comes together when the really fucked up truth comes out.
Just as in Restoration, Zack delivers a great performance that magnifies the intensity of the final act. What I’m saying is, Zack always gives me a happy horror ending.
While we all contemplate why Zack hasn’t made a CHRISTMAS horror movie yet, here are a bunch of other Zack flix I’ve blogged about: